Hugo,Victor. The Hunchback of Notre Dame. (New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 2003), 114pp.
Victor Hugo’s novel the Hunchback of Notre Dame takes place in Paris, France during the 15th century. The novel opens specifically on the day of the Festival of Fools. During this festival, Quasimodo a hunchback, is announced the Pope of Fools. He is considered a hideous character that contrasts with the beauty of the architecture of Paris during this time. He also contrasts with the beauty of not only architecture but other characters such as Esmeralda a beautiful gypsy woman. Hugo also uses Quasimodo’s hideous features in comparison with the crumbling of architecture. Hugo considers Quasimodo one entity with the Cathedral of Notre Dame where he spends his days and is the bell ringer. The Hunchback of Notre Dame is an excellent example of a fictional historical novel. It blends accurate details of architecture and fictional characters to emphasize Paris, France during the 15th century. The setting in Hugo’s novel is detailed poetically. Hugo details architectural structure of three time periods. The three time periods could be seen in the architecture of the 1400’s because the old styles could be observed in the newer styles. Hugo describes architecture as social work not individual artworks (Hugo 114). That you can see the past through the current styles. Hugo details Paris in three zones the Roman, Gothic, and the Renaissance. Gringoire the main speaker in the novel (playwright/poet) details the setting in the first few chapters. He does this from an aerial view atop the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Hugo accurately gives his readers a historical view of Paris, while embellishing with details from actual occurrences such as the Festival of Fools. When detailing the Festival of Fools he gives a colorful detail of Putman 2
festivals that would occur while introducing descriptions of lesser appealing character...
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