Reviews - The Hunchback of Notre Dame Study Companion
February 26, 2019
Information - The Hunchback of Notre Dame Study Companion
The musical The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a retelling of Victor Hugo’s epic story of
love. In both Victor Hugo’s novel and the musical adapted from the novel, characters
form opinions about other characters based on appearance. As an example, because
Quasimodo has a deformity, some characters view him as a monster or evil; the name
Quasimodo means “half formed.” As another example, because the gypsies are
wanderers and street performers, some other characters view them as vermin.
In Character Traits: What Makes a Man students will discuss the definitions of character
(both the persona in a novel or musical and the attributes or personal qualities of the
persona,) brain storm about character traits, analyze images of two characters,
Quasimodo the bell ringer and Frollo Archdeacon of Notre Dame Cathedral, share
opinions about these characters’ personal traits (based only on the character’s physical
appearance,) review a description of both characters from the musical and investigate
how these descriptions compare to opinions based only on appearance.
The Towers of Notre Dame familiarizes students with the physical place that inspired
Victor Hugo, Disney animators and Set Designer Adam Koch: Notre Dame Cathedral in
Paris, France. Growing up in Paris, Victor Hugo fell in love with gothic architecture and
with Notre Dame in particular. The first three chapters of his novel The Hunchback of
Notre Dame are devoted to describing gothic architecture of his time in great detail.
When Disney was adapting Hugo’s novel into an animated movie, Disney animators
traveled to Paris to research the building design of Notre Dame in order to develop
imagery for the film. Notre Dame additionally inspired Adam Koch, Set Designer for the
Ogunquit Playhouse production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. JPAS will be using
the Ogunquit Playhouse set for our Production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Students will have the opportunity to use Notre Dame as inspiration while they work in
teams, architect and builder, to construct their own tower of Notre Dame. To do this,
students will examine Notre Dame Cathedral towers and gargoyles, read an excerpt
from Victor Hugo’s novel, read an interview with The Hunchback of Notre Dame Set
Designer Adam Koch, review concepts in multiplication, division, area and perimeter
and work collaboratively to build a small replica of the top of one of the towers.
In preschool, students learn about shapes. They learn how to identify them by
appearance. As an example, a shape made of straight lines with four equal sides is a
square, a shape made of three straight lines is a triangle, a shape made of
straight lines where the sides opposite each other (parallel) are equal is a rectangle
and so forth. Rose windows, like the one in Notre Dame Cathedral, are based on a
shape, the circle . In this lesson, we will expand on students’ understanding of
shapes, specifically circles, and measurement by exploring them through the lens of an
actual place, Notre Dame in Paris, and investigating the many ways this place was used
as inspiration for storytelling, local architecture and set designs.
Stained Glass: Telling Stories in Pieces is another lesson that familiarizes students with
the physical place that inspired Victor Hugo, Disney animators and Set Designer Adam
Koch: Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. Students will investigate the rose
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window of Notre Dame, stained glass and rose windows in local New Orleans
architecture and use these investigations to create their own rose windows. To do this,
students will learn about stained glass and the history of the rose window in
architecture, examine the rose window of Notre Dame, read an excerpt from Victor
Hugo’s novel, read an interview with The Hunchback of Notre Dame Set Designer
Adam Koch, learn about French influences in local New Orleans stained glass, view
images of local New Orleans architecture that includes rose windows, review
information on symmetry, radius, circumference, diameter and sectors, and use all this
information to create their own rose window.
Describe Your Favorite Place guides students as they explore how the power of personal
voice in writing can be used to shape public opinion. To do this, students investigate
Victor Hugo’s novel, the place that inspired it (Notre Dame Cathedral) and have the
opportunity to think about their favorite place. Students will read articles about Victor
Hugo’s inspiration, read an excerpt from Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre
Dame, review how to write good descriptions and then create their own writing about a
favorite place of theirs.
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