Charles Dickens and Victor Hugo are two of the most well-known authors. They have written some of my favorite classic books. But I cannot help, but see many parallels between their works, which might explain why I love both of these authors.
Dickens and Hugo tend to focus on the lower rungs of society. True, I read more Dickens books than Hugo, but it still is very obvious. The title, Les Misérables, means the downtrodden, the fugitives, and the outsiders. Les Misérables is home to the prostitute Fantine, the criminal Thenardiers, the impoverished Eponine, daughter of the Thenardiers, and orphan Cosette among others. Even though those are major characters, it does show impoverished citizens as well. Even in the case of the students, they are fighting to stand up against the weak government since the government doesn’t care much about the poor.
But in Dickens’, writing, two protagonists are actually poor. In Oliver Twist, Oliver is an orphan and was raised in poor conditions due to the poor conditions of the workhouses. And then later, after running away, he comes across the two villains, Fagin and Bill Sikes, who hope to turn Oliver into a criminal. In Great Expectations as a matter of fact, Pip is also impoverished and he is the main character. While the main character in A Christmas Carol isn’t poor, the Cratchit family is very poor and that is difficult due to Tiny Tim being crippled. It is a bit hard to explain why Tale of Two Cities has the lower rungs of society.
So why do both authors tend to focus on criminals, the poor, prostitutes, orphans, and any person that would be on the lowest rungs of society? Well, when Dickens and Hugo wrote their books, both England and France were recovering from the most recent revolutions. England was recovering from the Revolutionary War and France was recovering from the French Revolution. In the time they wrote, they wrote in the style of Romanticism and one key aspect is the style liked to focus on the emotions. Both authors liked to focus on the them of redemption.
The reason why I am drawn to both Dickens and Hugo is because I have drawn to stories that focus on the lowest rungs of society due to a passion I have for helping that community. Dickens is much easier to read than Victor Hugo because Dickens doesn’t interrupt the plot with long history lessons. Hugo likes to constantly interrupt the plot with boring history lessons and that is the one downside to reading Victor Hugo. The next Hugo book I plan to read is Hunchback of Notre Dame and the next Dickens book I plan to read is Nicholas Nickleby.
Why do you think there are parallels between the two authors.