© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

by Brian Selznick

Family Theme

Poor Hugo. In The invention of Hugo Cabret, he doesn’t have the best track record with family; after all, he’s orphaned and his Uncle Claude was a real jerk, if we do say so ourselves. He’s pretty much got no one left when we meet him, which is very sad for a little boy who should be in school and getting proper nutritional lunches without having to steal. You could say that Isabelle doesn’t have a family either… except she has Papa Georges and Mama Jeanne, who are her godparents and care for her as their own child. And when Hugo comes across their motley little family unit, somehow he becomes a part of it all too.

Questions About Family

  1. How does the absence of family affect Hugo? How does it change him once he gets a family? 
  2. Isabelle doesn’t have any parents, but she has Papa Georges and Mama Jeanne. How is her relationship with them the same or different from usual parent-child relations?
  3. What kind of family member is Uncle Claude?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Hugo is isolated because he has no family and doesn’t know whom to turn to in the train station.

Even though Isabelle is orphaned, she still has a loving family, and that is something that Hugo envies.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement