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What is the lesson learned in The Hunchback of Notre Dame?

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keanacelle | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 13, 2010 at 9:44 PM via web

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What is the lesson learned in The Hunchback of Notre Dame?

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted February 13, 2010 at 9:53 PM (Answer #1)

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One of the lessons to learn from reading the novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo is that of not judging by appearances. Quasimodo has been abandoned by his mother just because he has been born in an ugly twisted body - but that says nothing about his heart or his soul. In many ways he is like the character of the Beast in the fairytale Beauty and the Beast. Conversely, just because a character appears in priestly garb, whether in reality or in disguise, does not mean to say that they have a priestly or naturally good nature. They may be a wolf in sheep's clothing or a devil in disguise, capable of the worst sorts of atrocities. We should weigh people up very carefully, by their words, deeds and attitudes towards others.

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mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted February 13, 2010 at 10:58 PM (Answer #2)

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The Hunchback of Notre Dame is the story of a person who has been born deformed. His appearance is so different and unattractive to people that they mock and ridicule him. He has to live in the safety of the cathedral which is considered a safe haven.

Esmeralda is a beautiful young woman, but she comes from a group of gypsies. Gypsies are despised because they are a group of people who are identified as thieves and dishonest persons.

Both of the characters are nothing like the perception of people. Although Esmeralda is beautiful and a gypsy, she is kind and caring. Even though Quasimodo is a man who is unattractive, he is compassionate and loving. There is no evil in either one of them.

The man who represents good in the story is the Cardinal. In reality he lusts for Esmeralda and would see her harmed rather than have anyone else love her.

From their positions in life, each person is the opposite of what the town expects of him/her. The lesson in the book is that one can not judge a person by his appearance or social status.

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