Study Guide

The Bourne Identity Love

By Robert Ludlum


The love story between Bourne and Marie St. Jacques is kind of a weird thing in The Bourne Identity. It's definitely a central part of the plot: there are a lot of pages devoted to it; Marie provides Bourne with tons of vital help; Bourne does a lot of what he does to protect Marie; and Marie's presence and love are vital to the final happy ending.

And yet, if you took the love story out, you'd still pretty much have the same plot. We read this book to see how Bourne outthinks people and gets out of sticky situations. We don't really read it to find out about love. So why is love here at all? Is it just here to advance the spy plot? We feel sort of bad for love in this novel, because in a lot of ways, it just sits over on the side, off in an apartment somewhere, waiting by the phone for the action to finish up.

But maybe that's the point. Maybe there really is little room for love in this world of lies, deceit, and murder. Even if the love plot isn't the main subject of the book, does it offer hope for something different in the future?

Questions About Love

  1. We don't learn much about Bourne's love for his ex-wife. How would the novel be different if we did?
  2. Are there any other love relationships in the book besides that between Bourne and Marie? Does this make Bourne and Marie's relationship more or less central to the novel?
  3. If you were Marie's friend and she told you about her relationship with Bourne, what would you tell her? Would you approve or disapprove?

Chew on This

Since Bourne doesn't know who he is, his love for Marie can't be real.

The real love affair in the novel is between Bourne and Carlos, not Bourne and Marie.