Heroic Justice for Quasimodo Through Re-creation Examining Disney’s Denial of Romance and the Hero’s Journey

Main Article Content

Talia Steinmetz


Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hero’s Journey, ableism


By analyzing disability stereotypes and story structure, this paper critiques how Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame denies Quasimodo romantic opportunity because he does not fit the heteronormative abled model of a Hero. Based on these intersectional issues, this paper ends with an alternative script to give Quasimodo heroic justice.

Abstract 253 | WORD Downloads 247 PDF Downloads 127 plain language abstract Downloads 0


Al-Othmani, B. (2014). The Underestimated Male: An Analysis of the Other in the Disney Adaptations of The Hunchback of Notre-Dame and Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus [Bachelor’s Thesis, Utrecht University]. Utrecht University Repository. https://dspace.library.uu.nl/handle/1874/295663
Artman, N. (2016). From Eric to Tarzan: An ethical analysis of lead male characters in Disney animation films produced during the company’s Renaissance Era [Doctoral dissertation, Indiana University of Pennsylvania]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.
Asexual Visibility and Education Network. (2021). General FAQ. https://www.asexuality.org/?q=general.html#def
Avery, D. M. (2004). Bending “The Hunchback”: A Rhetorical Inquiry into Hollywood’s Quasi -Medieval Relationship with Disability [Doctoral dissertation, Arizona State University]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.
Bahr, S. (2021, June 22). ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ at 25: ‘The Most R-Rated G You Will Ever See’. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/21/movies/the-hunchback-of-notre-dame.html.
Butler, J. (2004). Bodily Inscriptions, Performative Subversions (1990). In S. Salih & J. Butler (Eds.), The Judith Butler Reader (pp. 90-118). Wiley.
Byrne, E., & McQuillan, M. (1999). King of the Swingers: Queering Disney. In Deconstructing Disney (pp. 133–150). Pluto Press.
Clark, T. (2019, December 25). The 11 highest-grossing Disney movies at the global box office of all time. Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/highest-grossing-disney-movies-global-box-office-of-all-time-2019-11
Fadner, D. E. (1998, November). Disney Gets Religion [Paper presentation]. American Academy of Religion meeting, Orlando, FL, United States. http://www.ucs.mun.ca/~jporter/Fadner_Disney_Religion.pdf
Fleming, Jr, M. (2019, January 16). Disney Rings ‘Hunchback’ Bell: David Henry Hwang To Script Live Action Musical, Alan Menken/Stephen Schwartz Writing Music. Deadline Hollywood. https://deadline.com/2019/01/hunchback-movie-disney-live-action-david-henry-hwang-josh-gad-alan-menken-stephen-schwartz-1202536031/
Gad, Josh [@joshgad]. (2021, January 23). @FdezzGarciiia and @HibaAbouk Getting. Closer. And Closer [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/joshgad/status/1353184251118669825?s=20
Gardner, K. (2019, January 16). I Really Am Not Feeling This Hunchback of Notre Dame Remake. The Mary Sue. https://www.themarysue.com/hunchback-of-notre-dame-live-action-remake/
Haller, B., & Zhang, L. (2014). Stigma or Empowerment? What Do Disabled People Say About Their Representation In News and Entertainment Media? The Review of Disability Studies, 9(4). https://www.rdsjournal.org/index.php/journal/article/view/45
Hammer, Debra [@DebraHammer1973]. (2021, January 24). @joshgad @FdezzGarciiia and @HibaAbouk I and my family have been anxiously awaiting this film. We have thought about casting [Image attached] [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/DebraHammer1973/status/1353405011015786496?s=20
Hancock, I. (2008). The “Gypsy” Stereotype and the Sexualization of Romani Women. In V. Glajar & D. Radulescu (Eds.), “Gypsies” in European Literature and Culture (pp. 181–191). Palgrave Macmillan.
Hess, M., Heumann, J., Salinas, K. (2020) Road Map for Inclusion: Changing the Face of Disability in Media. Ford Foundation. www.fordfoundation.org/work/learning/research-reports/road-map-for-inclusion-changing-the-face-of-disability-in-media/
Horowitz, E. (2014). Literary Invisibility. New Literary History, 45(3), 463–482. https://doi.org/10.1353/nlh.2014.0020
Hugo, V. (2009). Notre-Dame De Paris. (I. Hapgood, Trans.). Project Gutenberg. (Original work published 1831). www.gutenberg.org/files/2610/2610-h/2610-h.htm
Johnson, B. (2019). Neocolonialism in Disney’s Renaissance: Analyzing Portrayals of Race and Gender in Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Atlantis: The Lost Empire [Bachelor’s Thesis, Oregon State University]. OSU Repository. https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/honors_college_theses/p8418t357
Joshua, E. (2011). The Drifting Language of Architectural Accessibility in Victor Hugo’s Notre-Dame de Paris. Disability Studies Quarterly, 31(3), Article 3. https://dsq-sds.org/article/view/1677
Ledder, S., & Münte, C. (2019). Dis/ability: The Construction of Norms and Normality in Popular Culture. In A. Görgen, G. A. Nunez, & H. Fangerau (Eds.), Handbook of Popular Culture and Biomedicine: Knowledge in the Life Sciences as Cultural Artefact (pp. 207–228). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-90677-5
Longmore, P. K. (2003). Why I Burned My Book: And Other Essays on Disability. Temple University Press.
Lorenz, P., & Panchanathan, K. (2009). Esmerelda and the Beast. The Science of Fiction: Evolutionary Explanations of Hypothetical Human Behavior, 1, 63-69. http://faculty.missouri.edu/~panchanathank/papers/2009/ScienceofFiction.v1.2009.pdf
Lopez, K. (2019, January 28). Why A Rebooted “Hunchback Of Notre Dame” Could Work—But It Probably Won’t. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kristenlopez/2019/01/28/why-a-rebooted-hunchback-of-notre-dame-could-work-but-it-probably-wont/
Lund, E. M., & Johnson, B. A. (2015). Asexuality and Disability: Strange but Compatible Bedfellows. Sexuality and Disability, 33(1), 123–132. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11195-014-9378-0
Mayo Clinic. (2020, June 12). Kyphosis - Symptoms and Causes. www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/kyphosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20374205
McCord, D. (1998). Happily Ever-Single: Disney’s Hunchback and the Modern Hero without a Mate. Canadian Children’s Literature/Littérature Canadienne Pour La Jeunesse, 92–93.
Natalia, D., & Djundjung, J. M. (2015). Percy Jackson’s Journey to Find His Identity. Kata Kita, 3(4), 27–32. http://katakita.petra.ac.id/index.php/sastra-inggris/article/view/3999/3657
Norden, M. F. (2007). The “Uncanny” Relationship of Disability and Evil in Film and Television. In M. F. Norden (Ed.), The changing face of evil in film and television (pp. 125–144). Rodopi.
Norden, M. F. (2013). “You’re a Surprise from Every Angle”: Disability, Identity, and Otherness in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. In J. Cheu (Ed.), Diversity in Disney Films: Critical Essays on Race, Ethnicity, Gender, Sexuality and Disability (pp. 163–178). McFarland & Company, Inc.
Nyman, M. (2010). The Disabled Body in Julie Taymor’s Frida. Disability Studies Quarterly, 30(3/4). https://dsq-sds.org/article/view/1274
Pádraig [@iffygriffin]. (2020, September 11). If they ever do a live action Hunchback of Notre Dame; Richard E Grant and Timothy Spall need cast in [Image attached] [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/iffygriffin/status/1304346870152663041?s=20
Purcell, V. (2020). Understanding Visible Differences. Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-51655-0_2
Resene, M. (2017). From Evil Queen to Disabled Teen: Frozen Introduces Disney’s First Disabled Princess. Disability Studies Quarterly, 37(2). https://dsq-sds.org/article/view/5310/4648
Second Nexus Editorial. (2019, January 17). We Know Just Who Should Play Esmerelda In The Live-Action ‘Hunchback.’ https://secondnexus.com/hunchback-disney-live-action-cast-romani-esmeralda
Suhas, M. (2019, January 16). It’s Official—Disney Is Working On A Live-Action “Hunchback Of Notre-Dame”. Bustle. https://www.bustle.com/p/a-live-action-hunchback-of-notre-dame-is-in-development-at-disney-so-get-ready-to-see-quasimodo-irl-15831090
Szwydky, L. L. (2010). Victor Hugo’s Notre‐Dame de Paris on the Nineteenth‐Century London Stage. European Romantic Review, 21(4), 469–487. https://doi.org/10.1080/10509585.2010.498952
Transcripts Wiki. (2021). The Hunchback of Notre Dame. transcripts.fandom.com/wiki/The_Hunchback_of_Notre_Dame
Trousdale, G., & Wise, K. (1996). The Hunchback of Notre Dame [Film]. Walt Disney Pictures, 1996.
Vogler, C. (2007). The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers. Michael Wiese Productions.
Whittington-Walsh, F. (2002). From Freaks to Savants: Disability and hegemony from The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) to Sling Blade (1997). Disability & Society, 17(6), 695–707. https://doi.org/10.1080/0968759022000010461
Wildgen, K. E. (1976). Romance and Myth in Notre-Dame de Paris. The French Review, 49(3), 319–327.
Wolfe, K. (1996, December). Ordinary people: Why the disabled aren’t so different. The Humanist, 56(6), 31. ProQuest.