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Is There a Difference between “Helping Out” and “Taking Responsibility?”

Let’s look at Victor Hugo’s still-popular story, Les Miserables. The main character of the story is a Frenchman called Jean Valjean.

At the age of 25, Jean Valjean is responsible for the well-being of his sister and her seven children. Is it fair for him to assume that role? Does he have a choice?

Would such a responsibility become his if he were living today? If not, who would take responsibility for this family?

Is there a difference between “helping out” and “taking responsibility” in a situation like this? What are those differences?


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