The Bourne Identity | Study Guide

Robert Ludlum

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The Bourne Identity | Book 2, Chapter 18 | Summary

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Summary

Marie St. Jacques is alone in her and Jason Bourne's hotel room in Paris. She is terrified Jason is in danger and trying to understand the Cain/Bourne connection. Bourne heads into the hotel thinking about the note he plans to write to Marie explaining why he has to leave.

Bourne and St. Jacques reunite, and he lies to her, telling her his trip to Les Classiques was not particularly helpful though Jacqueline Lavier is an indirect connection to Carlos. He has an appointment to meet the gray-haired man from the switchboard (Philippe d'Anjou; he's not named yet) at midnight. Jason and Marie leave for dinner, both lying to each other and neither wanting to admit they know Bourne is Cain. Bourne leaves his goodbye letter to Marie on the bureau in their room.

Marie withdraws the attaché case from the Hotel Meurice. Jason repeats his new refrain to himself: "I am Cain. I am death." Suddenly, Marie catches sight of papers at a newsstand and starts screaming. Jason sees the headline: "SLAYER IN PARIS/WOMAN SOUGHT IN ZURICH KILLINGS/SUSPECT IN RUMORED THEFT OF MILLIONS." Marie's photo is underneath.

They retreat to the hotel. As he goes to get her a drink, she sees and reads his letter. He won't leave her now, he reassures her. They embrace, neither wanting to let the other go ever again.

Lying in bed, they read the newspaper. Marie has been placed at the scene of the crime in Zurich. Apparently, she and an unnamed "American male" conspired to steal millions from the Swiss bank and transfer it to Paris. While the accusations are lies, there is truth in the article. The Swiss banker, Walther Apfel, is named, as is the Treadstone Seventy-One Corporation. Bourne thinks Carlos is behind the story, but Marie thinks this goes higher than a mere assassin. She believes someone is trying to send them a message.

Analysis

Jason Bourne and Marie St. Jacques have an almost star-crossed, Romeo and Juliet romance. In the Shakespearean pantheon, they are like Antony and Cleopatra. They come together after violence, and in their short and passionate affair, they are never far from death or injury. Marie loves Jason so helplessly. It is impossible to discern what about him attracts her. Is it his mystery? His unintentional brutality? His intelligence? Ludlum has her say that her career left no time for a family or husband. A contemporary reader might find this excuse a bit weak. Surely, a woman as accomplished and attractive as Marie would be eager to "have it all." However, she is one of that first generation of high-powered women professionals, who, in fact, did often choose between home and career. It is pleasing to imagine that Marie and Jason will eventually be able to settle down in Canada and raise a few kids if that's what they want to do. However, the risks are too high for them to even imagine a normal life. In the meantime, they stay together, through tragedies and narrow escapes.

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