Book summary: Claude Gueux

Book summary: Claude Gueux

June 18, 2022 by Mylene in Book summary

Victor Hugo wrote this short novel after having read in the newspaper a story about the trial of a man condemned to death for murder. This story echoed his advocacy against the death penalty. He seized this case of this convicted man to underline the impact of society on individuals. This short story tells the life of Claude Gueux, the reasons for the crime, and covers the trial of this convicted man.

About the book

  • Title: Claude Gueux
  • Publication Date: 1834
  • Author: Victor Hugo
  • Genre: Novel
  • Difficulty for French learners: 2/5
claude gueux

Claude Gueux: A summary

Victor Hugo took up his pen to reveal this political tale to us. His goal is to change the society in which he lives. The hero is Claude Gueux: a destitute living in a society that does nothing for him. A real event inspired Victor Hugo to write this short story. Claude Gueux is endearing, he seems to be a good man who was forced to act badly out of necessity. Society’s response seems inadequate. Victor Hugo highlights the capital role of education and religion in changing society. Read and find out how this honest worker becomes a thief and then a murderer.

favorite quote from the book

« Un hiver, l’ouvrage manqua. Pas de feu, ni de pain dans le galetas. L’homme, la fille et l’enfant eurent froid et faim. L’homme vola. Je ne sais ce qu’il vola, je ne sais où il vola. Ce que je sais, c’est que du vol il résultat trois jours de pain et de feu pour la femme et pour l’enfant, et cinq ans de prison pour l’homme.»

Hugo, Victor. Claude Gueux

To read and reread without getting bored!

To continue

To discover Victor Hugo’s thoughts on this punishment, I invite you to continue reading by reading “Dernier jour d’un condamné”.

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