Hugo Cabret Question #10 ~ Time and Place

by Brian Selznick

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Hugo Cabret Question #10 ~ Time and Place

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:04 am

How does Paris in the 30's work as the setting for the story? Could you see it taking place somewhere else?
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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #10 ~ Time and Place

Unread postby nebraska » Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:01 pm

I don't know about place, but it works for time. Having to manually reset the clocks and having an orphaned child just fall through the cracks would not likely fit today's world although I don't know how well our foster system keeps track of children. Because of the characters involved in the movie making part of the story, Paris worked well.

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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #10 ~ Time and Place

Unread postby Boo-Radley » Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:25 pm

I think the setting for this story is perfect. To my mind, had it been set here in the States, for instance, during that time period Selznick would have had to use the Great Depression as a backdrop for the action. And while movies of that era played a big part in helping Americans escape the grim realities of the times I don't think the story of Georges Melies would have had the same resonance for American characters, so I don't think the plot surrounding the automaton would have been as effective.

I believe this is not a story that could have been told from a 21st century perspective, especially in America. For one thing, in the 1930's movies were still a phenomenon of the modern age, there was still a sense of wonder about going to the theater. Not to mention that it's doubtful that a modern child would have been as fascinated with the automaton as Hugo was, or had a horologist for a father. :lol: Also, Hugo's plight could hardly have happened in our time, not that a child couldn't be suddenly orphaned today, but that his one surviving relative would be living in an apartment literally behind the clockworks of a train station allowing him a way to stay out of sight just wouldn't ring true. And then there's the fact that Hugo just disappeared from school one day, well today his teacher(s) would have had to report this to the authorities. Now of course it is a children's book and children would hardly consider that aspect, but it just seems to me to leave to large a plot hole to navigate.


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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #10 ~ Time and Place

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:25 pm

I do think it was perfectly set in time and place. The only other cities I could see it possibly working would be New York or London maybe? However that would not play as well with the story of George Mieles which would mean a substantial change.
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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #10 ~ Time and Place

Unread postby ladylinn » Wed Jul 21, 2010 7:31 pm

I too think Paris is the perfect place for the story to take place. The 30's in London might have worked - but with the Melies history and the beginning of films - it must be Paris.

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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #10 ~ Time and Place

Unread postby Liz » Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:39 pm

I agree with ladylinn that it must be Paris, just for the inclusion of Georges Méliès. There is the possibility of it occurring in the US, though, because Georges’ brother managed the US subsidiary of his film production company, Star Film.

But I still feel that Paris is a better location due to the train station, the clocks, the magic of Paris. :frenchie:
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