Of all the ways an author can illustrate their meanings within in their work, one of the more subtle is the use of minor characters, which often time serve as a foil to the writer's main character or theme. One excellent example of this can be found within one of this world's most famous works of literature, Victor Hugo's Les Misreables . As the story follows the struggle of the main character Jean Valjean and his attempts to live a better life Hugo illuminates this struggle with the use of a minor character Javert. Hugo use Javert as a foil to Jean Valjean to illuminate his theme of the ability to become a better person.
Javert's character serves to show Hugo's meaning of his work as a whole. Javert relentlessly pursues Jean Valjean for a crime that Jean Valjean committed so many years ago. Despite all of Jean Valjeans attempts and successes at leading a better life and becoming a better person, Javert remains determined to see him punished. This trait of Javert's strongly empowers Hugo's message to his reader. Javert believes that Jean Valjean cannot change and will always be a criminal. This contrasts directly with Jean Valjean's attempt, and eventually success at being a good person. Javert use as a foil character illuminates Hugo's message of self-redemption and betterment to his readers.