Student Book Review:


Hunchback of Notre Dame, The - classic

by: Victor Hugo


Review done by:

Don Higgins
Grade 7
Van Antwerp Middle School
Niskayuna, NY

The classic, The Hunchback of Notre Dame , is a engaging novel, from start to finish, it is filled with action, despair, and has a generally well developed plot. It is a tale, set in Medieval France, about the physically deranged man, Quasimodo. It is a story that has many life morals demonstrated throughout the entire novel, many of which have been lost in time, and are not considered common courtesy today.
In the time of which this novel was set, it was considered common courtesy to help people who were in need of help. Part of this was to give to people on the street a helping hand if needed, or the like. This comes back throughout the novel and is interwoven within the main plot.
For example, Peter Gringoire was going through a place in Paris where there were all sorts of beggars, or lower class people, who were homeless, and were in need of money. As he passed through this section of town, a homeless man asked him for some money, for a bit of bread, or the like. Out of common courtesy he gave him some money, and he continued on his way. As he looked around, he noticed that he was being followed by some of the beggars. As he quickened his pace, so did they, and he began to get nervous.
As he noticed that more and more beggars were coming after him, he broke into a run, as they did too. Eventually, the beggars caught up with him, and encircled him. They mugged him, and stole anything valuable that was with him. They then lead him to their "ruler," who said if no one would take him for their husband, he would be hanged.
Then, again, common courtesy is demonstrated, as La Esmerelda, a gypsy woman, takes him as her husband, for no reason except to save her life.
Later in the story, La Esmerelda is imprisoned and is to be executed because she is considered to be a daughter of the devil. She is labeled this because she is a gypsy, and more or less a magician, which had "magic" that cannot be explained.
On the day she is to be executed, Quasimodo, who had watched her antics on the streets from his position as bell ringer at Notre Dame, saves her before she is executed, and takes her inside the sanction of Notre Dame.
Read the classic to find out what happens further into the novel. The ending is truly surprising, and it is worthwhile to read the entire novel, to discover what truly happens.
I would recommend this novel for an experienced reader, otherwise, it is a interesting classic, from start to finish, and will keep any reader enthralled, and it will surely be a pleasure to read this novel.

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