Hugo Cabret Question #16 ~ The Reader

by Brian Selznick

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Hugo Cabret Question #16 ~ The Reader

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:28 am

What do you think Selznick wants readers to take from his book - especially younger ones?
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 #16 ~ The Reader

Unread postby nebraska » Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:54 am

The value of art. That our heritage should be treasured. That nothing is ever hopeless. That it is worthwhile to fight for what you want.

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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #16 ~ The Reader

Unread postby Boo-Radley » Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:29 pm

nebraska wrote:The value of art. That our heritage should be treasured. That nothing is ever hopeless. That it is worthwhile to fight for what you want.


I agree with you Nebraska. I would also add, not judging people by how they appear and sometimes by the way they behave (I certainly did that with respect to Papa Georges, when he refused to return Hugo's drawings to him after he worked to make amends for stealing parts from the toy booth).

I also think Selznick is saying something to children about trust as well, because Hugo was in trouble living alone in the train station. In the real world he could have fallen victim to some unscrupulous person and no one would have known; all because he didn't feel he could trust anyone to help him.


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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #16 ~ The Reader

Unread postby ladylinn » Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:33 pm

I think that Selznick may be telling children that going through life alone can be very difficult and very lonely. It is hard to trust when life throws you alot of hardships. But with the friendship of Isabelle and a select few adults it can get better. Also take your talent and never give up using it to make life better.

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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #16 ~ The Reader

Unread postby fansmom » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:00 pm

I've been struck many times by the way that different people here at the ONBC have been captivated by different things we've read. We read "On The Road" and one of us decides to learn all she can about the Beats, or we read "The Libertine" and someone becomes an expert on Restoration Poetry. I don't know about Brian Selznick, but if I'd written the book, I would have wanted some of my readers to become fascinated with automatons, or silent films, or Paris, or the early 20th century, or pencil drawings . . .

But not thievery!

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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #16 ~ The Reader

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:00 pm

We are an eclectic bunch, fansmom. :lol:

Good ideas so far. Anyone else?
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 #16 ~ The Reader

Unread postby nebraska » Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:22 pm

As an adult, I have loved the book simply for the beauty of it. I can't remember when I have held a book in my hands that made me feel the way this book made me feel just by touching it. (Maybe my antique copy of the Three Musketeers?) The book is just so beautiful in every way! Perhaps that is why I have had trouble participating in this discussion, the book itself is so incredibly beautiful on it own merit that I have little desire to dissect it. I don't know if that is what he wants children to get from it, or even if that is the effect he intends for it to have on adults, but that is the result for me.

I am not certain that children in today's technologically advanced world get many chances to feel that way about a book! so maybe as an artist and a writer that really is what he wants to give them, an appreciation for drawing and art and the printed word. It might be as simple as that, though I doubt it. Earlier I listed several messages the story imparts. However, I hope that it does make a lasting impression of the beauty of books!

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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #16 ~ The Reader

Unread postby gemini » Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:53 pm

I think he did give the children hope for when a situation looks desparate, something good can come along. I know you asked with the emphasis on what he gave children but I really felt he wanted adults to take an interest in the people who contributed to the great film industry. I can’t tell you how much I learned by his name dropping of those many famous people before my time.
When I look back through the posts , Nebraska hit it on the head with 4 short sentences.
:thumbsup:
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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #16 ~ The Reader

Unread postby Buster » Tue Jul 27, 2010 6:49 pm

fansmom wrote:
I don't know about Brian Selznick, but if I'd written the book, I would have wanted some of my readers to become fascinated with automatons, or silent films, or Paris, or the early 20th century, or pencil drawings . . .

If that was indeed Selznick's purpose, he succeeded. I've been watching all my Keaton movies (not that I need an excuse..) and haunting my friend's clock shop.

I think nebraska nailed it - and I'd add that our salvation lies in the pursuit and preservation of art.

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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #16 ~ The Reader

Unread postby Liz » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:44 pm

gemini wrote:I think he did give the children hope for when a situation looks desparate, something good can come along. I know you asked with the emphasis on what he gave children but I really felt he wanted adults to take an interest in the people who contributed to the great film industry. I can’t tell you how much I learned by his name dropping of those many famous people before my time.
When I look back through the posts , Nebraska hit it on the head with 4 short sentences.
:thumbsup:

I agree, gemini. Nebraska nailed it.

There has got to probably be something in there that would inspire one kid….there’s a lot to choose from, as fansmom brought out.

I wish my kids were younger. Then I would have read it to them. I would love to get the opinion of a child on this. I just asked my daughter (an avid reader) if she would like to read it. She refused because she said it was too heavy. She’s 16. What can I say? But that gives me pause. Would its weight really be a factor?

And as gemini said, he gives hope if your situation is desperate.
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 #16 ~ The Reader

Unread postby fansmom » Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:19 pm

Liz wrote:
gemini wrote:I just asked my daughter (an avid reader) if she would like to read it. She refused because she said it was too heavy. She’s 16. What can I say? But that gives me pause. Would its weight really be a factor?[/liz]
I was at a used book sale last month where a boy (I think he's 11) thought the best books were the biggest books, much to the amusement of his mother and me.

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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #16 ~ The Reader

Unread postby Liz » Wed Jul 28, 2010 7:14 pm

fansmom wrote:
Liz wrote:
gemini wrote:I just asked my daughter (an avid reader) if she would like to read it. She refused because she said it was too heavy. She’s 16. What can I say? But that gives me pause. Would its weight really be a factor?[/liz]
I was at a used book sale last month where a boy (I think he's 11) thought the best books were the biggest books, much to the amusement of his mother and me.

He could be right. Most of my top favorite books of all time have been big ones:

The Stand
A Prayer for Owen Meany
Poisonwood Bible
Shantaram
A Transatlantic Love Affair (yes, I am enjoying this one)
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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