“To love another person is to see the face of God” – Victor Hugo
A. Analysis of Quote Through Literary Context (“Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo)
This quote speaks to me a lot and has been my favorite from Victor Hugo’s novel ‘Les Miserables’ ever since I have read it and watched the movie. Valjean and Eponine’s character are good examples who have demonstrated this kind of love wherein they both sacrificed their own happiness for the sake of their loved ones. We could see that from the start, Valjean sought to hate the world who were unjust , refusing him any shelter and food to keep him warm. But through the kindness of Bishop Myriel who have seem to forgiven Valjean of the sins he have committed and raised him out of darkness, he was able to start a new life and reinvented himself as Monsieur Madeleine , Monsieur Fauchelevent and Urbaine Fabre. While running the town of Montfermeil as a Mayor, Jean Valjean meets Fantine, a factory worker who, then , loses her job after her co-workers find out about her illegitimate child , leading her to turn to prostitution. After learning upon this, Valjean makes a promise to Fantine that he will look after her daughter and raise her as his own. From here, Valjean turned from hating and learned to love while he was taking care of Cosette. He sacrificed his own happiness for the sake of Cosette’s , leaving her with Marius as he returns to the place where he told Javert to meet him as soon as he (Valjean) fulfills his duty, without saying a word to Cosette as he doesn’t want her to be disgraced when he is caught.
Eponine, on the other hand, shows her self-less love to Marius by sacrificing herself during the battle. She chooses to set aside her feelings for Marius, no matter how smitten she is by her love for her best friend. Seeing that Marius was about to be shot by one of the National Guards while fighting, she blocks the musket with her hand and takes the shot instead. Before she dies, Eponine hands over to Marius the letter given by Cosette.
B. Analysis of quote through Biblical context
This quote is somehow similar to a Biblical passage found in the book of 1 John Chapter 4 v. 12 , saying “No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us.”
Simply putting this in phrase or in other words, God wanted us to love one another and this kind of love that God wants us to show is a self-less kind of love. Another Biblical passage defines the kind of love God wants to see in us or to show towards others: 1 Corinthians chapter 13 v. 4 to 13. Verses 4 to 8 describes the perfect kind of love God possesses and wants us to demonstrate towards one another.
v. 4 – Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
v. 5 – It does not dishonor others. It is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of
v. 6 – Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
v. 7 – It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
v. 8- Love never fails.
To sum it up, love is not about finding a perfect person, but rather seeing an imperfect person perfectly . When we love, we do not give up right away just because that person is very unpredictable or very difficult to handle but instead , we become patient and understanding towards that person, no matter how he or she is. Moreover, we must never keep record of how many times that person or our partner have done us wrong. We are NOT perfect , only God is. Love is not self-seeking . When we love, we always put that person’s happiness above our own. We never seek our own happiness before others’ .
God wanted this kind of love to be shown by us to others, whether it be our friends, our partners, or even those we do not know. And yes, even the unlovable can also be shown love, because that’s how His Son demonstrated it. He paid for our sins by dying on the cross, even though we do not deserve and that we are unworthy of His love.
This is what or how the quote speaks to me, both literal and Biblical and this is why this quote of Victor Hugo means a lot to me. Truly a beautiful quote I must say.