Study Guide

The Invention of Hugo Cabret Part 1, Chapter 9

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Part 1, Chapter 9

The Key

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  • After a hard day’s work (remember, Hugo still has his day job of taking care of all those clocks!), Hugo settles down with the magic book and reads it cover to cover.
  • Hmm. This book just might come in handy. So Hugo takes out the mechanical man and starts working on it. Even without the notebook he manages to make some progress.
  • Weeks pass. Hugo keeps working with the clocks, at the toy booth, and on the automaton at night. He's a busy little bee.
  • When he meets Isabelle at the theater (so Etienne can sneak them in), she says that she might have an idea of where his notebook is.
  • Hugo goes inside and asks the manager (a man with slicked hair and a cigarette) where Etienne is. The man says that he’s fired Etienne because he was sneaking children into the theater.
  • With that, Isabelle and Hugo have no choice but to sneak into the theater themselves. Isabelle uses a bobby pin to jimmy the lock and they go inside to wait for the movie to start.
  • Illustration
  • There’s a drawn curtain. It’s both drawn (in the illustrated sense) and drawn (in the closed sense). Ba-dum ching!
  • The curtain pulls apart to reveal a blank, black screen.
  • The next image looks like a burst of light.
  • We see Hugo’s face in the darkness as he watches the film.
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  • First come the newsreels (we don’t have those anymore), and then comes a short film about a clock store—which Hugo loves. Then finally comes he main feature, The Million.
  • At the end of the movie, the manager hoists them to their feet by their collars (we thought that only happened in cartoons!) and throws them outside. Ugh, and they didn't even get to finish the flick.
  • After the sneaky kids have been thrown out, they take a leisurely stroll. Isabelle tells Hugo about all the movies she’s seen—and she has seen a lot.
  • When they get back to the train station, Hugo sees the Station Inspector. Bad news. He bolts, immediately, leaving a confused Isabelle behind.
  • She chases him, hoping to find out where he lives.
  • Illustration
  • In the hustling, bustling train station, we see Hugo running into the crowd while Isabelle follows at some distance, determined to catch up to him.
  • In the next image, we see Isabelle’s shocked face as she collides with a random stranger in the train station and starts to fall.
  • The next picture shows just Isabelle, falling… falling. And as she falls, a necklace with a key on it flutters out from underneath her coat.
  • We zero in on a close-up of Hugo’s worried, shocked, horrified expression. Whatever he’s feeling, his mouth is wide open.
  • Then we zoom back out to picture of the train station. Except this time Hugo isn’t running away from Isabelle. He’s running toward her as she lies there, holding her head.
  • The next picture shows just a hand—Hugo’s, we’re assuming.
  • Isabelle reaches for that hand, and that key dangling around her neck is front and center.
  • But just in case we didn't get the picture—the key is important—the next image zooms in on the key alone. It's an old-fashioned skeleton key, except the end of it—the tooth—is shaped like a heart.
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  • We’re not the only ones who noticed the key. As Hugo helps Isabelle up, he stares at the key and asks her where she got it.
  • No dice. This girl's clever, and flips the conversation right back around to Hugo. Where does he live?
  • Neither one of them will answer the question the other asked.
  • This time, Isabelle runs away, but Hugo catches up with her and asks her where she got the key.
  • They both go in their different directions without saying goodbye. End scene.

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