The Bourne Identity | Study Guide

Robert Ludlum

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "The Bourne Identity Study Guide." Course Hero. 13 Apr. 2018. Web. 9 Dec. 2018. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2018, April 13). The Bourne Identity Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved December 9, 2018, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2018)



Course Hero. "The Bourne Identity Study Guide." April 13, 2018. Accessed December 9, 2018.


Course Hero, "The Bourne Identity Study Guide," April 13, 2018, accessed December 9, 2018,

The Bourne Identity | Book 1, Chapter 8 | Summary



A blond man bursts into Jason Bourne's filthy boarding house room. Bourne overpowers him, and leaves the room, moving slowly. His caution is justified—another attacker, the Swiss man, is waiting for him. Bourne corners him and demands information, but the thug won't break. Taking both men's guns and the keys to their car, Bourne tries to escape in their car. Before he can even start the engine, the man with the flashlight attacks him and helps the man with the gold-rimmed glasses capture Bourne. Marie St. Jacques is with them and identifies Bourne. Bourne believes suddenly that she has been on his attackers' side all along. She protests they are the police and asks them to take her back to the Carillon du Lac. When the men make it clear they will not, she understands the truth. Bourne urges her to scream and try to escape, but the thugs knock her out and drag her into a car. The man with gold-rimmed glasses orders them to take her to the Limmat River and kill her.

Jason Bourne offers to pay the man in the gold-rimmed glasses to let him go, but he won't accept his money. Carlos has demanded photos of Bourne's dead body. The men drag Bourne into yet another car and try to break his fingers. However, speeding through the dark streets of Zurich, Bourne manages to kill both of his captors. The chapter ends as Bourne speeds towards the water, hoping it's not too late to save Marie St. Jacques.


Once again the reader sees Jason Bourne prefer to maim or disable rather than kill his foes. With this moral choice, Ludlum maintains his protagonist's essential goodness. Even when he does kill it is with regret and only as a defense after being cornered. This is also the first point where Bourne treats Marie St. Jacques as a person. Like Frankenstein's monster, Bourne has the capacity for humanity. Whether he will be able to maintain this sympathy is not yet clear.

These nighttime scenes in Zurich are deeply chaotic. It's often difficult to discern which "man" is fighting and whether characters reappear or are new to Bourne. Perhaps this was part of Ludlum's purpose. If the lead character is constantly confused, why not invoke similar confusion in the reader?

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about The Bourne Identity? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!