Reviews for Contrition
MissScorp chapter 1 . 1/27/2014
I have to admit that I am a bit on the fandom blindside with this piece. I watched some of the Disney animated version of this tale, and I’ve read excerpts from Hunchback, but I don’t overly know everything about the tale. That said, I have to say that I thought your writing was gorgeous in this piece. You have a lot of beautiful imagery, you capture a wide range of emotions and keep me on the edge of my seat trying to figure out who exactly the character POV was from until the very end of the piece. I love the play upon sanctuary, of confessing your sins in order to be granted salvation.

This here is my most favorite line of imagery: ((The man felt as if he was treading on a carpet of burning thorns.)). I can see the ground beneath his feet being a blanket of thorns which are on fire. It’s almost an allegorical representation of walking through hell in order to find salvation. It really works, especially in the context of who this story is about.

Really love how you take the inanimate here in this line: ((The stone eyes pierced straight through his mortal shell into his troubled soul.)) and make it real. It really adds the element of this being a religious journey of soul searching, of looking for and finding redemption by confessing the sins you have committed.

Again, another lovely twist upon the inanimate becoming an animate or real object can be seen here in this line: ((They held the promise of judgment, but also the hope of forgiveness.)). Love that the statute suddenly becomes human, that it conveys the things which the man wants most and hints at how every sin can be forgiven if the heart that asks for forgiveness is pure.

Perfect ending line right here: ((Behind him, the great wooden doors of the cathedral creaked open.)). He’s confessed his sins, he’s asked for salvation and he’s been delivered and granted the sanctuary in which he sought. That the doors are opened by a seemingly magical element or a mystical is implied in the line, which just makes them great in my mind because it really empowers the theme you were trying to invoke.

In all, this was a great story. Excellent job!
Esther Huffleclaw chapter 1 . 1/21/2014
Wow. The imagery in this was amazing. I get the sense that he is in some kind of purgatory here, which I don't believe exists (I think you have to confess your sins before death, and after death, it's too late), but it fits the Catholic setting. Putting my own beliefs aside, and my hatred for the character, this is a wonderful tale of redemption.
reminiscent-afterthought chapter 1 . 12/26/2013
The tale you tell here is quite interesting. Somehow, it being a normally serene scene makes it all the more potent, particularly how the idea of purity and sin is brought out. The well is very interestingly used as well - and the repetition of sanctuary.

One thing I found somewhat distracting is the flow at the beginning; the sentences read quite distinct from each other, which made for a somewhat jarring beginning.

SPaG: "You can have it." The man yelled - "You can have it," the man yelled...
Queen Regent chapter 1 . 8/25/2013
Wow. Very well done! I was kept guessing all the time as to what was really going on! Just one thing, when using Elizabethan speech, the formal form of address is "thou" and "thee" in place of "you."
For example:
"Thou art good and kind."
"I know thee."
You get it? Great job on this, and keep on writing! :)
The Death Frisbee chapter 1 . 1/23/2013
There's some good old-fashioned language here that wase the first thing to jump out at me: 'statues in the forms of men' and 'the visage of Christ Himself' (though it should be capitalized for the era) are particularly well-worded for something presumably attempting to take after Hugo. Not having seen the movie but knowing the story that way, it works well to help me get a feel for the setting.

I liked the staccato feel of 'It was so very cold. And he was so very tired.' Considering you're coming off complex clauses, that's a good way to bookend them and keep the piece from feeling overwritten.

You do well at evoking an atmosphere of terror and dread in just a few words, so well done. Have you ever read Robert Chambers' 'Yellow Sign,' out of curiosity? You might like it, as it has a similar style - the menacing, Lovecraftian horrors contrasted with the starkness of Christianity.

I wonder whether this works for the movie - which I'll assume sight unseen is the Disney version - in its tone, as I can't imagine Disney being quite this dark, but I do like the tone you have here.

Given your definition, I have to believe that the contrition arises from the latter option (divine punishment) in this case, and good job not pulling your punch there.

Congratulations for graduating from the Reviews Lounge, Too!


dead silent - a bit too much of a cliche
frost-covered steps
as if thinking, 'Such a sinful man
The voice spoke again. "The beginning
countered the voice - jumps out at me as a said-bookism
He turned... and stared - your ellipsis needs a space after it
frostbite - should be one word
slightlysmall chapter 1 . 11/28/2012
I don't know much about this fandom, but I really like your writing here. It is a bit over-formal in places, but it works really well with the setting. The way you've tied in Bible verses makes sense and really adds to the piece, I think. If I knew more about what is happening here, who this man is, who the gypsy woman is, I think I would absolutely love it. It's brilliant work; well done.
SkywardDiamond chapter 1 . 11/5/2012
The mood you created in this story is quite powerful. From the get-go we are hit in the face with this sense of dread, as if this man is running from something absolutely terrifying. I love the empty town. It's as if Frollo has reached an all-time low. And after all, it's when we've hit our lowest that we are finally in a state to be molded by God.
"Sick with an undefined fear" suggests that he doesn't even know what he's running from, which I think is fabulous. It really speaks of the human condition, in which a lot of people just reach that point where their souls are crying out to God, but they don't understand it. But in a lot of cases, as with this fic, a person's conscience just sort of smacks them over the head and they feel like they need to atone for something, even though they might deny it at first (like Frollo does). His character reminds me of the pharisees and sadducees in the Bible who are uber pious but evil at heart.

I like that the gypsy woman begging for *him* to give another person sanctuary is what finally made the truth get through to him. It wasn't the words of God, which I assume was earlier on, but the wretched sight of one of the people who he's tormented. And sometimes that's what it takes.
Anyways, the isolation, loneliness, hearing God's voice, denial, and finally accepting that he isn't quite as virtuous as he though is definitely a cycle that a lot of people can relate to.
Very deep and thought provoking. Enjoyed this very much!
MessengerOfDreams chapter 1 . 10/22/2012
Sorry I'm late to this one! I read it but wasn't sure how to reply, cause it was one of those fics you had to think over...

The mood was fantastic, I must admit. Hunchback was one of the darker Disney Movies, and one of my personal favorites; especially Frollo. Frollo was an excellent villain. Here, you use him and both the darker elements successfully to create a true visual treat pulled off effortlessly through words. I do like vagueness in my story, but I can tell it's from the beginning of the events, I think. You writing itself is simply marvelous as well.

Thanks for a very memorable story and congrats on getting SotW!

SunnyStorms chapter 1 . 10/19/2012
I enjoyed reading this piece. You did an excellent job with imagery and painted a very vivid and atmospheric scene. I found the well scene particularly creepy because I was reminded of The Ring. The progression of the Archdeacon's recognition of his own imperfection was also well done.

Some little, specific things:
"carpet of burning thorns" - carpet makes you think of a soft surface in contrast with burning thorns, so I think a different word choice would make for a more precise image

"Curiously, the town was dead silent, despite the raging wind that fought to tear the thin cloak from the man's back." - the connection of the two phrases doesn't quite work. If the wind was raging, indicative of bad weather, I would expect the town to be quiet because people wouldn't want to be outside, so I found myself asking why that was curious. Or did you mean even the wind wasn't making any noises through the town? If so, the meaning wasn't quite clear.

Those are but minor quibbles though. Overall, great piece!
Rosawyn chapter 1 . 10/19/2012
As someone who grew up reading and hearing the King James Bible, I kind of had to cringe a couple times at the Elizabethan-ish language here. Most of it is fine, but there are a couple of places that just sound very wrong to me:

"To find sanctuary within these walls, thou must atone for thy sins." - I think that should be "ye must atone for thy sins."
"If ye confess thy sins, I am faithful and just and will forgive thy sins and purify ye from all unrighteousness." - Should probably be "and purify thee from all unrighteousness."

I'm no expert on early 1600s English grammar, but those two just sounded very wrong to me. I don't know if my "corrections" are correct, but I figured I should make my "best guess" sort of suggestions rather than just say "it's wrong" without saying what I thought would be right.

With that out of the way, let me just say that I very much enjoyed this story! I don't think I've ever before read a fanfic for Disney's 'Hunchback,' but I did love the movie.

I found it a bit confusing that you didn't name the main character until the third from last line. It left me wondering for most of the fic who "the man" was. I think I understand why you did it that way, and I think it worked. I'm not sure if I was supposed to assume "the man" was Frollo, but I didn't really - in fact, I didn't really assume he was anyone but just kept wondering if it would ever be revealed (until the point when it was, of course).

This fanfic reminded me of the parable of the prodigal son, with the Archdeacon in the role of the "good" son who stayed with his father and always did what his father asked him. The Archdeacon doesn't want to admit that he has also sinned, because he has lived an exemplary life (and logically he knows himself to be more virtuous than Frollo who himself insisted he was "more worthy than the common, vulgar, weak, licentious crowd"), but deep down he knows that he is also a flawed human, and in claiming that he has nothing to confess he is in fact guilty of the sin of pride. He realizes that Frollo is not the standard he must compare himself to, but that Christ is that standard, and that is where he still falls short.

This fanfic also reminds me of when Jesus says, "He who is forgiven little, loves little." I'm not saying the Archdeacon doesn't love, but that Jesus himself understood the difficulty people like the Archdeacon would face when told they must confess their sins and be purified from unrighteousness. It's sort of like the Archdeacon is thinking, "What unrighteousness? Is he kidding? Has he SEEN some of these people? Even people like Frollo? I mean, if he think's I'm a sinner, I could show him a few REAL sinners..."

But clearly deep down the Archdeacon knows he is not perfect, and comparing himself to others isn't helpful. He knows there are times when he could have done better but didn't. He knows he too needs to be saved.

Now I don't know what your personal religious beliefs may be, and I'm not trying to talk about what may or may not be "right" in real life. I'm just talking about the Archdeacon within this story and what he believes (or how I see it anyway). Just so that's clear.

I should also mention that even though we know that Frollo at least once "felt a twinge of fear for his immortal soul," I think this fanfic works much better with the main character being the Archdeacon and not Frollo as it may seem the first time reading it. I do not believe it is in Frollo's character to ever ask for forgiveness. But this entire thing seems very much in character for the Archdeacon (from what we know of his character).

Overall, I really very much enjoyed this fanfic. I found it to be very thought-provoking.

I also love how it ends. I know myself as a writer, I often struggle with endings, but this one works very well as the ending for this fic.
RedheadedMarina chapter 1 . 10/19/2012
Nice story, well written. Your descriptions of the night, temperature, and the sights that cross this man's vision are very vivid and really pulled me in to the scene. This story and the quotes you use made me think of another quote: "what thou hast done unto the least of these, my bretheren, thou hast done it unto me." He can't obtain sanctuary for himself, but he can obtain forgiveness through his gift on another's behalf, and through Contrition.

Lovely story.
Ragnelle chapter 1 . 10/19/2012
Oh, I liked this very much. The description of the empty and bare streets contrasted with the colours that should have been. and then the cathedral itself: those gave that gothic feeling that is very much in style with the original book. And very fitting for the theme of the story.

The horror of the memories, with the figures moving like ghosts, also play into the same theme of remise.

And then, the ending, where the remorse find words in the confession, and the opening of the doors. To that, there is no other words to say. That image of the opening doors, was the perfect way to end.
Inkfire chapter 1 . 10/17/2012
This was a quite stunning story, chillingly described… The coldness, the despair and the fear of not being able to reach salvation all came across strikingly. The way you described the night, the woman, and the well, it was so very dark and intense. The voice urging the man to confess his sins was chilling as well… Very impressive job!
truthsetfree chapter 1 . 10/17/2012
Very dramatic.
Excellent word choices.
Wonderful dialogue.
Clever use of the themes of sin, forgiveness, salvation.
Strong imagery throughout.
Excellent characterization.
Well done!

“Dressed in filthy grey rags”
“ Her feet were bound in rags”
If this were mine, I’d take out one of those “rags” and rephrase the sentence/use another word.
TikiPrincess chapter 1 . 10/17/2012
Very powerful and moving. Excellent descriptions in the narrative; I could almost feel a chill in the air as I was reading.

A couple of nit-picky grammar notes (because I, apparently, can't stop being a proofreader even when reading for fun):
- "The man felt as if he was treading on a carpet" - 'Was' should be 'were'. 'Was' is used if the phrase following is conditional, i.e. "If I was rude, I apologize." In this case, "treading on carpet" is not an ambiguous state, so it should be "if he were".
- "They clawed at the rim of the well for purchase and finding some, began to hoist the rest of the body up." - There should be a comma between 'and' and 'finding'. 'Finding some' is what my teacher used to call 'scoopable info' that isn't necessary to understanding the rest of the sentence. It should have a comma at the beginning and end of the phrase.
- "He hung his head and disregarding the menacing specters that had once again begun to close in on him, he closed his eyes." - Similar to the point above. Or you could rewrite it as "He hung his head and closed his eyes, disregarding..."

Other than that, maybe a little foreshadowing of his relationship to the church would have been helpful. I don't remember the movie very well, so maybe I missed something.

On the whole, this piece was very well-written. I was being very, very nitpicky with my grammar because there wasn't a lot of concrit to give.
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