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50 Timeless Quotes From Les Misérables

50 Timeless Quotes From Les Misérables

Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables is a timeless epic of love, loss, and revolution. Set during the French Revolution, this tale depicts the vast suffering of France’s lower classes, and highlights a former prisoner’s attempts to bring love and justice back into daily life.

Though the book is worth reading, the musical is what really brought out the story’s depth and stole our hearts. It’s subsequent films have helped solidify Les Mis as a masterpiece of artistic creation. Here are just a few timeless lines from the book, musical, and films.

Love

1. “Few people dare now to say that two beings have fallen in love because they have looked at each other. Yet it is this way that love begins, and in this way only.” – Victor Hugo, book

2. “To love or have loved, that is enough. Ask nothing more.” – Victor Hugo, book

3. “The silver in my hand costs twice what I had earned in all those nineteen years, that lifetime of despair, and yet he trusted me.” – Jean Valjean, musical

4. “You who suffer because you love, love still more. To die of love is to love by it.” – Victor Hugo, book

5. “Life’s great happiness is to be convinced we are loved.” – Victor Hugo, book

6. “Yet why did I allow that man to touch my soul and teach me love? He treated me like any other, he gave me his trust, he called me brother.” – Jean Valjean, musical & film

7. “She did not ask him; did not even think where and how he had managed to get into the garden. It seemed so natural to her that he should be there…When they had finished, when they had told each other everything, she laid her head on his shoulder, and asked him: ‘What is your name?’ ‘My name is Marius,’ he said. ‘And yours?’ ‘My name is Cosette.’” – Victor Hugo, book

8. “Love is the foolishness of men, and the wisdom of God.” – Victor Hugo, book

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9. “To die for lack of love is horrible. The asphyxia of the soul.” – Victor Hugo, book

10. “You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving. The great acts of love are done by those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness. We pardon to the extent that we love. Love is knowing that even when you are alone, you will never be lonely again, and great happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved. Loved for ourselves, and even loved in spite of ourselves.” – Victor Hugo, book

11. “And remember, the truth that once was spoken: to love another person is to see the face of God.” – Victor Hugo, book; Fantine, Jean Valjean & Eponine, musical & film

12. “Love almost replaces thought. Love is a burning forgetfulness of everything else.” – Victor Hugo, book

13. “If no one loved, the sun would go out.” – Victor Hugo, book

Suffering

14. “There is a point at which the unfortunate and the infamous are associated and confounded in a single word, a fatal word, Les Misérables.” – Victor Hugo, book

15. “People weighed down with troubles do not look back; they know only too well that misfortune stalks them.” – Victor Hugo, book

16. “Look down, look down, don’t look them in the eye. Look down, look down, you’re here until you die. Look down, look down, Sweet Jesus hear my prayer. Look down, look down, Sweet Jesus doesn’t care.” – Jean Valjean & prisoners, musical & film

17. “They gave me a number and they murdered Valjean.” – Jean Valjean, musical & film

18. “At the end of the day you’re another day older, and that’s all you can say for the life of the poor.” – Poor extras, musical & film

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19. “There is always more misery among the lower classes than there is humanity in the higher.” – Victor Hugo, book

20. “I dreamed a dream in time gone by, when hope was high and life worth living. I dreamed that love would never die. I dreamed that God would be forgiving… But the tigers come at night, with their voices soft as thunder, as they tear your hope apart, as they turn your dream to shame! … But there are dreams that cannot be, and there are storms we cannot weather! I had a dream my life would be so different from this hell I’m living. So different now than what it seemed. Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.” – Fantine, musical & film

21. “There is a castle on a cloud. I like to go there in my sleep. Aren’t any floors for me to sweep, not in my castle on a cloud. There is a room that’s full of toys. There are 100 boys and girls. Nobody shouts or talks too loud. Not on my castle on a cloud.” – Cosette (young), musical & film

22. “Now prisoner 24601, your time is up and your parole’s begun. You know what that means?” “Yes, it means I’m free.” “No. Follow to the letter your itinerary, this badge of shame you wear until you die. It warns that you’re a dangerous man.” “I stole a loaf of bread. My sister’s child was close to death, and we were starving.” – Javert & Jean Valjean, film

23. “Oh, my friends! My friends, don’t ask me what your sacrifice was for! Empty chairs at empty tables, where my friends shall sing no more.” – Marius, musical & film

24. “If there’s a God in heaven, He would let me die instead.” – Fantine, musical & film

25. “Despair is surrounded by fragile walls, which all open into vice or crime.” – Victor Hugo, book

Hope

26. “The day begins and now let’s see what this new world will do for me.” – Jean Valjean, book, musical & film

27. “Laughter is sunshine, it chases winter from the human face.” – Victor Hugo, book

28. “‘The most beautiful of altars,’ he said, ‘is the soul of an unhappy creature consoled and thanking God.'” – Victor Hugo quoting the Bishop, book

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29. “I am reaching, but I fall, and the night is closing in, as I stare into the void, into the whirlpool of my sin. I’ll escape now from the world, from the world of Jean Valjean. Jean Valjean is nothing now! Another story must begin!” – Jean Valjean, musical & film

30. “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.” – Victor Hugo, book; Cast, musical & film

31. “There is nothing like a dream to create future.” – Victor Hugo, book

32. “Red, the blood of angry men. Black, the dark of ages past. Red, a world about to dawn. Black, the night that ends at last!” – Enjolras, Marius & revolutionaries, musical & film

33. “Do you hear the people sing, singing the song of angry men? It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again. When the beating of your heart echoes the beating the beating of the drums, there is a life about to start when tomorrow comes!” – Enjolras, Marius & revolutionaries, musical & film

34. “Beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see? Then join in the fight that will give you the right to be free!” – Revolutionaries, musical & film

35. “Citizens, in the future there shall be neither darkness nor thunderbolts, neither ferocious ignorance nor blood for blood…In the future no man will slay his fellow, the earth will be radiant, the human race will love. It will come, citizens, that day when all shall be concord, harmony, light, joy, and life.” – Enjolras, book

36. “In all his trials he felt encouraged and sometimes even upheld by a secret force within. The soul helps the body, and at certain moments raises it. It is the only bird that sustains its cage.” – Victor Hugo, book

Philosophy

37. “It is nothing to die. It is frightful not to live.” – Victor Hugo, book

38. “Not being heard is no reason for silence.” – Victor Hugo, book

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39. “If I speak, I am condemned. If I stay silent, I am damned!” – Jean Valjean, book, musical & film

40. “If the soul is left in darkness sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness.” – Victor Hugo, book

41. “My life he claims for God above. Can such things be? For I had come to hate the world, this world that always hated me.” – Jean Valjean, musical & film

42. “The future has several names. For the weak, it is impossible; for the fainthearted, it is unknown; but for the valiant, it is ideal.” – Victor Hugo, book

43. “Before him he saw two roads, both equally straight; but he did see two; and that terrified him – he who had never in his life known anything but one straight line. And, bitter anguish, these two roads were contradictory.” – Victor Hugo, book

44. “Nobody knows like a woman how to say things that are both sweet and profound. Sweetness and depth, this is all of woman; this is Heaven.” – Victor Hugo, book

45. “The pupil dilates in darkness and in the end finds light, just as the soul dilates in misfortune and in the end finds God.” – Victor Hugo, book

46. “Let us study things that are no more. It is necessary to understand them, if only to avoid them.” – Victor Hugo, book

47. “If you wish to understand what Revolution is, call it Progress; and if you wish to understand what Progress is, call it Tomorrow.” – Victor Hugo, book

48. “To owe life to a malefactor . . . to be, in spite of himself, on a level with a fugitive from justice . . . to betray society in order to be true to his own conscience; that all these absurdities . . . should accumulate on himself – this is what prostrated him.” – Victor Hugo, book

49. “Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn’t every war fought between men, between brothers?” – Victor Hugo, book

50. “Great perils share this beauty that they bring to light the fraternity of strangers.” – Victor Hugo, book

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Kenneth Burke

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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