Imagine this: a mine, men grunting and straining against the heavy forces against them, only small flames for lights, and making almost no money. As they exert themselves, the flickering pinpoints of radiance cast eerie shadows on the damp rock walls. They have no one to converse with besides themselves, and in return for this hard labor they are given a new body "a black one. When the workers emerge from underneath the ground, they are scorned and avoided until they clean themselves and wash away the filth and grime that covers them. Once their outer layer is removed, however, a person would never be able to tell them apart from any other human on the planet. What they chose to do with their lives though, determined their place in a "civilized- world, one who tries to overlook darkness and its connotations.
Les Miserables is a book set mostly in this underworld theme, where people work for a living, doing less than desirable jobs to feed themselves and their family, and sometimes still starving. Victor Hugo slightly hints that everyone has a little of the underworld in them, and that those who inhabit it are those who let it take them over. There are people that still exist in the world, such as the Thenardiers, who depend on others for sustenance, and then lie about it to get .
more. They claim to work hard, and they do, but not at any noble career "they send their children begging and worsen their situation to gain pity from the more fortunate who descend into the substrata of society to ease their own guilt of having so much for themselves. People such as the Thenardiers "have only one guide: want, and their only form of satisfaction is appetite- (246). They measure their contentment if they have "enough- money, if they are not hungry or cold or sleeping on bare ground. If they are not satisfied with their conditions, they want more. "From suffering, these goblins pass to crime; fated filiation, giddy procreation, the logic of darkness- (246).