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Hunchback by Victor Hugo

Essay by   •  May 17, 2011  •  Book/Movie Report  •  1,084 Words (5 Pages)  •  715 Views

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A man, if we can even call him a man, stumbles his way down the steps of a cathedral. His small left eye is overwhelmed by a red bushy brow. His right eye is not visible under a giant wart, leaving him half blind, and he is deaf. A red tuft of hair tops his head. His legs are almost as deformed as his disfigured face. Shown no mercy in his life, a ravenous look is permanently etched on his forsaken face. Even from his beginning he is an outcast, for he was left on the street not days after he was born. Through the years he has become less and less human in nature: his monstrous appearance has even taken over his mind. Every face shies away from this monster and his appearance leaves him no compassion -- this forsaken creature knows only malice and cruelty.

When I read The Hunchback of Notre Dame, by Victor Hugo, I was immediately drawn to Quasimodo. Not only for the obvious reason of his physical deformities, but for the reason that somehow he found purpose and the will to live twenty years in spite of having people fear and hate him and similarly fearing and hating all of humanity for their unaccepting cruelty. Everything in his life supports his downfall, weans and diminishes his will to live. This forsaken creature has worth, despite the fact that society persecutes and loathes him. Even at the lowest level of human maltreatment, the core of an idea I truly believe prevails: every person has worth.

To me, seeing that every person on earth has worth means a lot. Knowing the story of Quasimodo has given me a greater respect for people I don't know. The unknown itself gives me a greater respect for people: they could have lived through war, loss, unimaginable pain, or emotional turmoil and I could see them as contributors to society. However, they all have something that keeps them going, motivation to live, no matter if their situation is desperate or comfortable. Of course every person's motivation is different but the unifying feature is that they all have meaning. I found it intriguing that even a most beaten down individual like Quasimodo could not be stripped of his worth and still persevered in horrific situations. This helped reveal to me a very introspective truth about man.

I personally began to interpret life, people, and experiences in a different light after reading about Quasimodo because, quite to my surprise, he overcame the obstacles in his life to make it the most positive it could be. He finds meaning in his life in the cathedral, because each has grown to depend on the other. He makes his life the bells and and puts every effort he can into maintaining the cathedral while the cathedral provides him with a safe haven and place to hide from a virulent society. Most might push aside his worth and claim that he was scorn on the face of humanity, but he found meaning in a most desolate situation. It is apparent that he has worth and that his persistence to never give up hope or give up trying was absolutely awe inspiring.

When I got

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