Study Guide

The Bourne Identity Chapter 2

By Robert Ludlum

Chapter 2

  • Anonymous dude and Washburn decide to refer to anonymous dude as Jean-Pierre, because it's common and boring name and won't attract attention.
  • Washburn gets a bunch of books on amnesia, and starts to burble medical gobbledygook that may or may not have any basis in fact. The upshot is that he can't cure anonymous dude, but maybe he'll get better on his own, eventually.
  • Washburn gets anonymous dude (a.k.a. "Jean-Pierre") to break down a gun, which he's really good at. Anonymous dude is looking more and more like a dangerous anonymous dude.
  • Time passes as Washburn and anonymous dude work at seeing if any phrases or associations trigger memories.
  • Eventually Washburn gets anonymous dude hired on a fishing boat as a favor.
  • Anonymous dude just wants to go to Zurich right away, but Washburn says that working on a boat where all the rest of the men resent him will be a super-stressful test which will be good for him. Shmoop is not sure we buy the "what will not kill you will make you stronger" logic…but we guess the point is to provoke drama, so that's okay.
  • The fishing vessel experience is miserable, as predicted. The work is brutal and everyone, including the mean-spirited Captain Lamouche, hates our dude.
  • Things finally reach a boiling point, and the other three crew members attack anonymous dude. Unfortunately for them, he knows kung fu, or something like it, and thrashes them all while spouting occasional phrases in an Asian language. (We're not even going to make a joke about this. It's too easy.)
  • Everyone in town now hates anonymous dude for beating up the fisherman, and Washburn has to help him get out of Dodge immediately.
  • Washburn gives anonymous dude all his money (2000 francs) and his own passport and papers, which dude may be able to get altered so he can get to Zurich. Washburn says he won't need the passport if he doesn't hear back from anonymous dude, presumably because he'll drink himself to death.
  • Anonymous dude is off. The chapter ends with him on a fishing boat, sailing on towards the rest of the novel.