Les Misérables: A Reflection on Bullying
Community Contributed By Heather Williams
“Les Misérables,” the Hollywood musical, caused me to think, as all good art will do, about my own life and the human response. Written in 1862, a true classic suspends time to relate characters with modern concurrent issues. Each character is an archetype of how we choose to follow our own souls. The antagonist (Javert), obsessed with power and control over a man (Jean Valjean), containing power within which cannot be diminished or broken down. Sound familiar? “Les Misérables,” on screen now at this current time of American bullying culture rampant in our schools, institutions, families and personal lives.
Jean Valjean’s life centers around protecting his child, withstanding incessant adversity from a tormented soul fixated in destroying Valjean, who must remain undercover what he loves, even protecting the adversary… the bully himself! The hero always chooses love. If only the villain had changed his pursuit towards love! Art such as “Les Misérables” is a reflection of the human soul, a way for us to see and experience our surroundings outside ourselves defining humanity.
We cannot always stop a bully, but we can focus on the best response: LOVE. When we live for truth and love, lies and hate won’t harm us. Why a bully offends has nothing to do with the person being attacked, it’s an issue within themselves to elicit physical, emotional or social fear towards everyone around them. It’s up to us if we choose to live in the dark ages or light. Our heroine Eponine, tossed in battle to face adversity with the choice to stand up for what is right or to be consumed by jealousies, insecurities and avenge. What will we chose when faced in this conflict?
You have a choice in letting a bully control you or your child. A trained professional (doctor, nurse, police) or US Department of Public Safety, US Department of Health and US Department of Education can help you. It is important to document every occurrence, include date and time, even if you think it’s a small issue, the bully lies, has involved other people or if you think it’s extreme, ridiculous or a waste of time. It’s not your way of solving problems, but this IS the only way to stop it. If talking to solve problems rationally provides no results: STOP! Get help outside the situation. Sometimes trusted school and church officials, community and family members are afraid of the bully or unwilling to help for various reasons, increasing your emotional pain. Be persistent even if it seems no one is willing to help! There is aloha on Molokai.
Anti-bullying laws & policies are being made now. Exposing and confronting these issues are steps towards protecting our children and us and teaching peaceful solutions for the future. There are websites on anti-bullying and help coping with bullying. Bullying is not just for keiki! Adult bullies often were kid bullies or were the victim of a bully. Stop the cycle. Don’t watch bullying happen. It’s time to stop institutionalized bullying and correct our current sociality behavior. The solution points to love.
“Les Misérables” came out in theaters Christmas day and will be out on DVD March 22. I will donate a copy of the film to the library to help say no to bullying.