He Who Opens A School Door, Closes A Prison

By Leslie Fisher. Leslie is a data entry technician. She lives in Minnedosa, Canada. Please read her article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

In this paper I will be discussing Victor Hugo’s “He Who Opens A School Door, Closes A Prison”. I will be discussing what I think the meaning of this saying is, as well as whether or not I agree or disagree with this meaning.

To me, Victor’s quote “He Opens A School Door, Closes A Prison” is very obvious in terms of what it is he is trying to get across. I think he means that education saves us from the criminal mind.

Some would completely disagree with this as many believe that the criminal mind is born and not made. They believe that a criminal’s thoughts and personality are already part of their minds even as an infant. That it does not matter what happens in that criminal’s life, they will still become a criminal.

I mean, there are so many different kinds of criminals. There are the criminally insane, violent criminal, criminals who prey on the vulnerable, or the person who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. A criminal could be a person who us extremely stressed out, or a person who was just having a really bad day. All these people and many more can be criminals, and they can be educated.

For example, there’s the man who went to university to become an accountant, and he decides he has just had enough one day. So, he picks up a rifle and takes it to work with him and starts hurting his fellow workers. This man is educated yet now he is a criminal.

Another is the man who works as an electrician. He uses his job to attack woman . What about the ten-year-old boy who harmed a three-year-old? Then there are those regular criminals, you know the ones that steal cars, break into banks, murder. Maybe there is no such thing as a typical criminal. It seems to me that crime can be committed by people whether they are educated or not.

To me, Victor’s saying “He Who Opens A Door, Closes A Prison” also means to educate, to conform, to become part of a society. When this is achieved, the implication is that there will be no need to become a criminal. I think, for the most part, this is correct, but there are still those who do all this and become that person who wants to hurt another. Or who wants something another has. There are billions of people; most of them do become part of an educated society and do not become criminals.

I also think that Victor wanted to make sure that education was something that everyone was entitled to. So, with this quote, Victor tries to show that education should not only be part of rich society but should also be available for those that are poor and unable to pay for education. Or not just for people who lived in cities but also people who lived on farms or in the countryside. He believed if those that were poor and beaten down by society could also get an education then, maybe, there would be less criminals. Again, I agree with this, but at the same time, these days it would seem there are more educated criminals then there are those that are not.

So, in conclusion, I find that there could be a few different interpretations of Victor Hugo’s “He Who Opens A School Door, Closes A Prison”. First, education saves us from the criminal mind. I would have to say that I disagree with this first one, education does not save us from the criminal mind, since there are many educated criminals out there. Second, to educate, to conform, become part of a society, means there will be no need to become a criminal. I somewhat agree with this, as for the most part it is evident in society, but there are still those that slip through the cracks. Third, that everyone should be entitled to education; it should not be just for those who can easily attain it. I would have to say that I completely and totally agree with this meaning. I truly believe that everyone, everywhere, no matter who you are, should be entitled to an education. But I still believe that just because someone is educated does not mean they will not become a criminal, for they might just become a smarter criminal.

7 comments on “He Who Opens A School Door, Closes A Prison

  1. Bill Owings on

    I don’t believe Victor Hugo meant that education saves us from the criminal mind. I think his aim was larger than that. Education is the means by which minds are developed to contribute to society and not steal from society.


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