Hugo Cabret Question #13 ~ Purpose

by Brian Selznick

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Hugo Cabret Question #13 ~ Purpose

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:28 am

Pg 374-376:

Hugo smiled, and then Isabelle wound up the mouse. They watched it skitter across the counter.

Hugo thought about his father's description of the automaton. "Did you ever notice that all machines are made for some reason?" he asked Isabelle. "They are built to make you laugh, like the mouse here, or to tell the time, like clocks, or to fill you with wonder, like the automaton. Maybe that's why a broken machine always makes me a little sad, because it isn't able to do what it was meant to do."

Isabelle picked up the mouse, wound it again, and set it down.

"Maybe it's the same with people," Hugo continued. "If you lose your purpose...it's like you're broken."

"Like Papa Georges?"

"Maybe...maybe we can fix him."

"How do we do that?"

"I don't know, but maybe Rene Tabard can help us when he visits next week. He'll know what to do..."

Hugo and Isabelle were quiet for a moment, and then Isabelle said, "So is that your purpose? Fixing things?"

Hugo thought about it. "I don't know," he said. "Maybe."

"Then what is my purpose?" wondered Isabelle.

"I don't know." said Hugo.

The two of them stared at the clock, and then they put away all the toys, including the little mouse, and closed the booth. They collected the money they had made, and Isabelle put it in her pocket.

"Before you go home, come with me," Hugo said, and he helped Isabelle through the nearest air vent into the walls. Between Hugo's injured hand and Isabelle's sprained foot, it was extremely difficult for them to get up the staircases and the ladder, but they helped each other and at last they came to the glass clocks that overlooked the city. The clocks were supposed to be lit from the inside, but the wiring had long ago stopped working.

Image

"It's so beautiful," said Isabelle. "It looks like the whole city is made out of stars."

"Sometimes I come up here at night, even when I'm not fixing the clocks, just to look at the city. I like to imagine that the world is one big machine. You know, machines never have any extra parts. they have the exact number and type of parts they need. So I figure if the entire world is a big machine, I have to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason, too."


Comment on Hugo and Isabelle's discussion.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #13 ~ Purpose

Unread postby ladylinn » Sat Jul 24, 2010 5:40 pm

As I read this passage, I thought - Wow! that is a deep conversation for 2 children. Hugo had such great insight when he stated that machines have no extra parts and I think he was thinking of people with no extra parts too. Trying to figure out our purpose in life is a question everyone must ask and answer for themselves. How wonderful when each person finds their purpose. Sometimes it is early in life and for some it takes nearly all their life. The important thing is to keep searching. The author seems to be giving us a moral to the story.

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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #13 ~ Purpose

Unread postby Buster » Sat Jul 24, 2010 9:21 pm

Well, it's interesting that she sees stars, and he sees machines...(sorry, couldn't resist)
I do like the concept of interconnectedness, though I'm not sure we ever really know exactly what position we fill. Sometimes, in retrospect, the most random-seeming moments end up being essential pivot points. For me, the whole serendipity aspect of it is what makes the ride irresistible.

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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #13 ~ Purpose

Unread postby fansmom » Sat Jul 24, 2010 9:52 pm

I wonder what Hugo thinks the purpose of the stars is.

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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #13 ~ Purpose

Unread postby Liz » Sat Jul 24, 2010 10:26 pm

I believe we all have a purpose (or even many purposes); and I believe, as Buster said, that sometimes we realize it only in retrospect. That's happened to me.

Hugo has always been fascinated by machines, and is very good at figuring them out and fixing them. I think that is his purpose. Maybe for Isabelle, her purpose was to meet Etienne & then Hugo. And then all the parts, as it were, fell into place in order to “fix” Papa Georges.
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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #13 ~ Purpose

Unread postby fireflydances » Sun Jul 25, 2010 1:59 am

Yes, there are many purposes, but I wonder if there isn't still, one overriding purpose. That one that you either recognize clearly as a child or realize, also with incredible clarity at some breath stopping moment or looking back, as Liz said, and suddenly see it unfold before you. Some people understand their purpose right away as small children, whereas others rummage around for years until the fog clears and there: what was hidden is revealed.

Who creates purpose then? Does it come fixed in the body like a heart or mind? Is it fate? Or god given? Do we 'know' our purpose instinctively in the bone, or do we hone our sense of purpose through living?

I think a very large part of purpose is responsibility. We know we will be letting something down in the universe if we shrug off our purpose, deny it, turn out backs on it and say 'who care's' if I was supposed to do this.

I think too that women in some societies, our own, are more able today to have a purpose that springs from the soul, rather than our sex. How many women in the world are this free? And does the hardness of one's life--war, poverty, disease--diminish purpose or intensify it in a way we can't even begin to comprehend?

Like Liz said, there are many purposes.
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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #13 ~ Purpose

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Jul 25, 2010 4:59 pm

I thought that was a very deep conversation as well but then they both had been through a lot of things others their ages hadn't experienced.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about this one over the years. My personal conclusion is that we may never know our purpose but there is a reason we are here. I also think we need to believe that we have a purpose. Since the dawn of time man has sought to answer that question - our intense need to explain everything takes us in that direction. I used to have a very hard time not knowing what my purpose in this life is but now I believe that if you live a good life and if you are lucky you may find out, but it's not a given and I can live with that.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #13 ~ Purpose

Unread postby Liz » Sun Jul 25, 2010 11:11 pm

fireflydances wrote: Who creates purpose then? Does it come fixed in the body like a heart or mind? Is it fate? Or god given? Do we 'know' our purpose instinctively in the bone, or do we hone our sense of purpose through living?

I think it is made clear to us one way or another.

fireflydances wrote: I think a very large part of purpose is responsibility. We know we will be letting something down in the universe if we shrug off our purpose, deny it, turn out backs on it and say 'who care's' if I was supposed to do this.

I'm struggling a lot with this lately. I do not want my current purpose. I want to be free of it, but I know it is my responsibility.

fireflydances wrote: I think too that women in some societies, our own, are more able today to have a purpose that springs from the soul, rather than our sex. How many women in the world are this free? And does the hardness of one's life--war, poverty, disease--diminish purpose or intensify it in a way we can't even begin to comprehend?

BUT what do you do when you have conflicting purposes.....the ones you want for yourself (like most liberated women) and the ones you are obligated to fulfill?
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #13 ~ Purpose

Unread postby Buster » Mon Jul 26, 2010 9:13 am

DITHOT wrote:
My personal conclusion is that we may never know our purpose but there is a reason we are here

Some one once told me that the purpose of my existence was to graphically demonstrate to others what not to do. They had a valid point - but in some ways, that's not such a bad purpose, after all. I've learned all kinds of things, and it has always been interesting, if not always fun. If, after seeing my trajectory... well, maybe you can at least make a choice based on more information. (Just for the record - I wouldn't trade places with anyone.)

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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #13 ~ Purpose

Unread postby Boo-Radley » Mon Jul 26, 2010 12:58 pm

When I read this passage it got me thinking, that finding our purpose in life usually tells us were belong as well; that is certainly Hugo's dilemma. I believe as we travel through life's journey we find many purposes for our lives (I think fireflydances alluded to this) some are fleeting while others may encompass entire our lifetime; but each time we meet our purpose are exactly where we belong and with the people who matter most. I hope that makes sense.

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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #13 ~ Purpose

Unread postby gemini » Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:17 pm

I agree that for two children, they are having a very deep conversation and considering their point of view came to a pretty good conclusion. It fits what they know about life and made them feel they fit in the big picture. They may have done better then many who ponder that question a lot more years.
DITHOT said
My personal conclusion is that we may never know our purpose but there is a reason we are here. I also think we need to believe that we have a purpose.

I think there is much truth in your statement DITHOT. People need to feel they have a purpose even if they are not sure what it is. Many consider their occupation, care of others, inventive or artistic contribution or just doing their best each day to live a good life. Who knows it may be as innocuous as a kind word to a stranger or well known as the invention of the light bulb. You may be the parent or ancestor to someone who does something fantastic and never feel like you did anything spectacular.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #13 ~ Purpose

Unread postby fireflydances » Tue Jul 27, 2010 12:20 am

I do think 'purpose' is a profound thing. It's somehow much more than fitting into your 'place' so to speak, and place in itself, a whole other conversation.

Purpose just rings in you I think. Whether it arrives before you, a thing outside yourself that has chosen you, or announces itself inside you, a thing that has spoken to you endlessly, it is clearly unique and life changing.

The more interesting question I guess, can there be more than one purpose? And if so, which do you chose? I would like to believe you chose the one that rings loudest so you resonate with it and know it's your gift.

This is a lovely conversation. So glad I came back and peeked in again.
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies

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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #13 ~ Purpose

Unread postby Liz » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:54 am

gemini wrote: Who knows it may be as innocuous as a kind word to a stranger or well known as the invention of the light bulb. You may be the parent or ancestor to someone who does something fantastic and never feel like you did anything spectacular.

I'm of this camp. I think we have many purposes, and that they change throughout our life, depending on where our "purpose" of the moment takes us.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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