Parallels Between Charles Dickens and Victor Hugo

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.

images-2

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 theme 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.

Experience of Loaves and Fishes

While some may know that I am a musical fanatic, there is another passion of mine that is equally important. I love to volunteer especially for those living in poverty. I grew up volunteering for that community. Later in high school when I did an dinner exercise at an outreach event, I realized that the vast majority of the world was living in poverty. Through that exercise, I learned that my main priority of volunteering was to help the poverty population. I also knew it was my calling to reach out to that community so in a way I developed a deep connection to the less fortunate.

Well today, I volunteered today with my dad at Loaves and Fishes, a food pantry for low-income families. It was founded by my church and originally was just a closet. Now it is like this mini grocery store where families of different sizes would come grocery shopping with one of the volunteers. Today was an especially busy day. I had to help by unfolding flat paper bags. I had to open up zip lock bags for someone to put chicken in. I had to help restock at times when donations came in and this time, Loaves and Fishes was given a big donation. We even had this big batch of families come in at once. Well after the family member shopped, us volunteers had to help load the cars and bring back the shopping cart. Usually in Loaves and Fishes, all I do usually is just help the families shop and load the cars and bring back the carts.

But due to number of clients coming in and a huge donation, it made all of us do even more than we typically end up dong. I have never seen volunteering as a sacrifice. Well I am helping those in need, I still have given something in return. You can see the gratitude they have for us reaching out. It gives me a feeling of reward and pleasure. In a lot of ways, volunteering is a huge part of my spiritual journey. My spiritual journey is very important to me due to being gifted with a strong spirit.

Les Mis Party 2017

Yesterday, I attended a Les Mis themed party. I came dressed up as Eponine, one of my favorite characters from the musical and one of the best characters of musical theatre. At this party, the house was decorated to be Les Mis themed. Outside of the house, Enjolras’ flag was there. On a flower bed the lyrics “rain will make the flowers grow” was there. Near the drinks, I saw the lyrics “drink with me to days gone by”. So those are just a few of the Les Mis references. A barricake was made and my mom brought a tart full of love. One of the many highlights of this party was doing Karaoke to Les Mis songs.

IMG_1203

Possible Spoilers:

In the picture above, I am dressed up as Eponine. I found all of these articles and pieces of clothing at Goodwill. I dirtied myself up using brown make up. Eponine is the eldest child of the neglectful and abusive Thenardiers. At first, she appeared to be loved by her parents, but after Cosette was taken away, the Thenardiers started mistreating Eponine and raised her to be a criminal. So she has a very empty life and not many good things are happening. Her family falls into extreme poverty. She has one source of light in her life, who is Marius and she loves him even though her love for him goes unrequited.

Eponine is brave, streetwise, tough, complex, and strong.  Despite being a Thenardier, she  does not grow up to be just as selfish and greedy as her parents. She still has a spark of good found within her, which might have something to do with Marius. That spark of good she has is a huge reason why I love Eponine. I love how despite her love for Marius being unrequited, she shows true love towards him. She loves Marius because of the kindness she shows her. He is her only light.

I love how her story ends even though her ending is tragic. She has disguised herself as a boy to be with Marius at the barricade. Marius wants to protect her from the uprising and in the stage show, he sends her away with a letter to Cosette only because he wants to protect her. She returns and gets shot, but her wounds are fatal. Even though Eponine knows she is dying, she still hopes to be with Marius. When Marius discovers that she is fatally wounded, he holds her in his arms until she dies. He is quite upset, but ultimately shows her compassion by never leaving her side.

Since I dressed up as Eponine, I will give you a more detailed analysis of Eponine.

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2017/01/08/analysis-of-eponine/

God’s Divine Plan

You are where God wants you to be at this very moment. Every experience is part of his divine plan

-unknown

There is so much truth in this quote. Some people may not realize it, but where you are is indeed part of God’s plan for you. Right now, I know I am the right place. I know that I was meant to be at Gardner Webb. I am remained me of this everyday. There are these beautiful sunsets here and that is one of the main places where I know this is where God wants me to be at this moment. When you are young, you have no idea what the rest of God’s plan holds for you. I know where God wants me to head towards, but even I don’t know how to get there. I have my nonprofit idea, but don’t how to get it started. As I continue my college experience, I hope I will gain skills to allow me to work in nonprofit. I feel like once I start working in a nonprofit, I will start building towards starting mine.

God already has had such an influence on my life. I learned to believe in Him at an Episcopalian Conference Center, Kanuga. That is where a lot of my spirituality was developed as a kid. I did volunteer from time to time with my church and attend Diocese events. At one of those Diocese events, I developed a deep connection to those living in poverty and homelessness. The moment I realized the vast majority of the population was living in poverty, I realized that part of God’s plan was for me to give back to that population.

It took until 2015 to realize that I was meant to work in Nonprofit and this year, I realized that I wanted to open one. At first, I thought God was quite crazy that He wanted me to do that. But I know that God will equip me with what I need to open a Nonprofit. I have never seen volunteering as a sacrifice because it is a passion and calling. I want to turn that passion and make a difference with it. I cannot wait to see what else God has in store for me. Being at Gardner Webb has strengthened my spirituality and it is stronger then it was in high school. Even the Bristol Pilgrimage from summer of 2015 has had such an influence on my spiritual journey. At Gardner Webb, I attend the weekly Gathering, a student-led worship service, and volunteer through my service club.

What does it mean to be a Servant?

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life for a ransom for many”

-Mark 10:45

What does it mean to be a servant? Servanthood is an important part of being a Christian. Servanthood starts with sacrifice. Servanthood means living the life that Jesus lived. It means helping people in times of need and reading out to others through ministry. In fact, you must become a servant way before you become leader. I have never felt like a leader because I always felt like a follower. In fact, I feel way more like a servant then a leader. That is due to my passion for helping the less fortunate and that passion will continue for the rest of my life.

Many of the biggest challenges that Ministry faces can all be solved through the use of servanthood. You can simply be a servant by helping the “least of these”, which consist of the homeless, orphans, strangers, prisoners, refugees, and the sick. They are the ones that need the most help.

But what holds us back? Some things are fear, obligations, laziness, perceptions, lack of time, lack of energy, no desire/motivation, pride, lack of comfort, and unawareness. What can be used to overcome these? Don’t forget that God has used many messed up people to do something amazing. Remember Abraham, Joseph, Saul, Rahab, David and many others who were considered to be the “least of these”, but they did incredible acts. Remember God wants to use darkness for good. There is always a source of light in the midst of darkness.

Yes all of these types of blockades will keep on coming in your life. Think back, what part of your life can you use to reach out to others? Sometimes I don’t know what holds me back at times, but I do know I am heading in the right direction. I know what was the pivotal moment in my life that made me start having a deep connection to those living in poverty and homelessness. It was at an experimental dinner where the vast majority of the participants represented those living in poverty and homelessness and it was that moment that made me realize that giving back to the less fortunate was my calling. But at the time, I did not know God was going to develop that into one of the most amazing ideas. I later learned that I was not supposed to volunteer on the side, but instead was actually meant to work in Nonprofit and head towards starting one.