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The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The Invention of Hugo Cabret


by Brian Selznick

The Invention of Hugo Cabret Theme of Transformation

It’s true that Hugo transforms over the course of The Invention of Hugo Cabret—after all, we see actual images of him as a boy, and then as a boy with a haircut who looks older and more put together. But there are a lot of other transformations going on in the book, if you care to look hard enough. Georges Méliès transforms from a lonely, bitter old man to someone who embraces both his past and his future. And Hugo transforms from a lonely orphan to a well-loved member of a family. Even the automaton transforms from a pile of junk outside a burnt-down museum to a beautiful, amazing contraption.

Questions About Transformation

  1. How does Hugo change throughout the book?
  2. Does the automaton undergo a process of transformation as it is repaired?
  3. How is film transformative for the characters in the book?
  4. What brings about Papa Georges's transformation?

Chew on This

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

Over the course of the book, Georges Méliès transforms from a tired old man back into the exciting magician he used to be because Hugo reminds him of what it means to truly be yourself.

The automaton and the quest to fix it transform Hugo, if not into a man, then at least a more mature boy.

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