Friday, March 1, 2013

Victor Hugo-isms: #2

#2: "If you wish to understand what Revolution is, call it Progress; and if you wish to understand what Progress is, call it Tomorrow."

Where: Page 349.

What's Happening: I've heard people who have read Les Misérables say that Victor Hugo often goes off on long tangents on specific subjects and while that is true, these tangents are important to the story.  This quote appears in one of those "tangents," when Hugo is recounting the Battle of Waterloo.  It is in a chapter titled "Should We Approve of Waterloo?" which goes into detail about revolution and its role in Waterloo.

What I Learned: It took a tad bit of thinking for me to grasp this one, but it does make perfect sense.  Why does one start a revolution?  Because they want something to change and if something is changing successfully, it is progress.  And progress doesn't happen overnight.  The progress that one seeks isn't necessarily found in the past and it might not even be found in the present, but I believe it can be found Tomorrow.  Change takes time and there are many tomorrows to witness progress developing.  I also link this quote to the musical's wonderful last line: "Tomorrow comes!"  There is hope in the future, in change, in tomorrow!  Revolution is an important part of the story of Les Misérables and so is the idea of tomorrow.

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