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Why Is It Important to Give People A Second Chance?

Victor Hugo, in Les Miserables, portrays the French prison system, in effect at the time of his story, as an institution which did not help prisoners get a "second chance." 

What impact would that approach have on the mind-set of a newly freed prisoner?

Does discouraging a person from changing his or her life—and learning from past mistakes—still exist?  If so, describe a situation where a person's “past” could continue to haunt that person's “present.”  

At the beginning of the chapter entitled “The Heroism of Passive Obedience”—Les Miserables, Volume I, Book Second, Chapter III—could we summarize Jean Valjean’s reality as “once a convict, always a convict?”  Why, or why not?

What, if anything, can Valjean do to change that?


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