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The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

by Brian Selznick

Analysis: Allusions

When authors refer to other great works, people, and events, it’s usually not accidental. Put on your super-sleuth hat and figure out why.

Historical References

One obvious recurring figure who shows up in the book is the famed Georges Méliès (yes, that’s Papa Georges to you!). Georges Méliès was an actual filmmaker back in the day. You can see a list of all his works on IMDB.

Hugo refers to the big train crash of 1895 at one point, in which a train crashed through the entire station. Scary, huh? Well it’s even scarier that it actually happened!

In Chapter 8 of Part 2, Papa Georges explains that, beginning with the loss of his whole company in World War I, things started to really go downhill for him.

Pop Culture References

This book is chockfull of movie references, both obvious and subtle. We'll point out the major ones, but the more you read (and the more you dig up on Georges Méliès) the more you'll discover all the nods and tips of the hat to the awesome French movies of yesteryear.

A Trip to the Moon (Throughout)
Safety Last (Part 1, Chapter 8)
The Million (Part 1, Chapter 9)
A Train Arrives in the Station (Part 2, Chapter 4)

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