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Choosing Compassion: ‘ A Tear for a Drop of Water’

What are monsters? We often consider them dangerously different people, creatures, and things that loom on the outskirts of our lives.  We construct societies with agreed-upon standards, norms, and laws to benefit our livelihood and safety. Monsters are the very things that challenge and disrupt our sense of security and self-esteem. We can learn a lot about ourselves based on how we react to this type of disruption. A scene from Victor Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” presents several ways in which we may react to the perceived monsters in our lives. Quasimodo and Esmeralda The scene in question is the one in which Quasimodo is punished for attempting to abduct Esmeralda. A summary of the scene and its backstory goes as follows: A torturer has just tied Quasimodo to the pillory on a stage and beaten him. This platform was the same platform where Quasimodo, because of his …

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