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The Bourne Identity | Quotes


He had trusted an instinct—perhaps a compulsion—and had known what to say and how to respond.

Narrator, Book 1, Chapter 3

This is the first time Jason Bourne (as Jean-Pierre) must negotiate with someone (captain of the boat on the way from Port Noir to Marseilles) and find his way without Dr. Geoffrey Washburn's help. The search for Bourne's identity begins. The discovery that he responds to stimuli unconsciously gives him confidence. His instincts are a huge asset.


He had a name—part of a name.

Narrator, Book 1, Chapter 4

Until this point Jason Bourne has not known his own, most dominant, alias. The reader will not know his birth name until the final chapters of the novel.


I don't want to frighten you, but I have no choice. ... You have to come with me.

Jason Bourne, Book 1, Chapter 5

Jason Bourne kidnaps Marie St. Jacques in Zurich. Though he promises he will not hurt her, she has no reason to believe him.


Whenever you're in a stress situation ... Let your mind fall free ... Be a sponge.

Dr. Geoffrey Washburn, Book 1, Chapter 6

Dr. Geoffrey Washburn taught Jason Bourne as much as he could about amnesia and brain damage. His advice was that if Bourne "felt" a memory coming on, he should relax and allow it to expand in his own mind.


Carlos will pay! By Christ, he'll pay!

Chernak, Book 1, Chapter 7

This is the first mention of Carlos since the newspaper articles in the Preface. It is the first time Jason Bourne hears his pursuer's name.


You came back for me, and saved ... my ... life.

Marie St. Jacques, Book 1, Chapter 9

This is the moment when Marie St. Jacques first realizes Jason Bourne is not a thug or attacker. When she sees his morality, she begins to want to help him.


What I'm trying to tell you is that you can't be what you're not! No matter what anyone says.

Marie St. Jacques, Book 2, Chapter 10

Marie St. Jacques believes in Jason Bourne's essence, and her words in this chapter embody her viewpoint, which never changes once she falls in love with him. In the mayhem and madness of their lives, Bourne and St. Jacques believe in and trust each other.

This quote is from the first meeting between the various governmental agents and military men who know the pieces of Jason Bourne's story and mission. Cain is Bourne's undercover identity, an assassin that the deepest CIA operatives created to rival and capture Carlos. The name Cain points to archetypal ideas about human corruption and violence.


To each according to his greeds.

Alfred Gillette, Book 2, Chapter 16

Though the reader does not know it yet, Alfred Gillette is a double agent, and he will be responsible for the death of many people. Often in the novel greed is linked to violence; the desire for money and power can make characters perform unthinkable acts of cruelty. Also, the CIA used greed to motivate the criminally minded to work for the military during the Vietnam War. Then there are those characters that can't be "turned" or controlled by money. Ludlum differentiates been essential goodness and selfish motivations at every turn.


Cain is for Charlie, and Delta is for Cain.

Jason Bourne, Book 2, Chapter 17

Jason Bourne is beginning to remember pieces of his mission and identity. This phrase is part of a flashback, and it is an emotional trigger for him. It supports the idea that the character has an innate sense of right and wrong, placing him on the hero side rather than the villainous.


I am Cain. I am death.

Jason Bourne, Book 2, Chapter 18

When Jason Bourne decides he must be Cain, he only knows Cain is an assassin—not that Cain is actually an alias as well. Therefore, Jason feels he must leave Marie rather than tie her to a murderer.


My son's life was blown up with five sticks of dynamite on the Rue du Bac!

André François Villiers, Book 3, Chapter 25

André François Villiers is a conservative politician and former military "hero." Carlos killed his son in a targeted assassination.


A free society is ripe for infiltration ... Conspiracy is everywhere; it cannot go unchallenged.

André François Villiers, Book 3, Chapter 25

André François Villiers is speaking to Jason Bourne about his idea of moral behavior. His desire to challenge conspiracy stems from dual purposes: to prevent chaos, and to keep alive his ideal of a proud, conservative France.


On March 25, 1968, Jason Bourne was executed at Tam Quan. You executed him.

Philippe d'Anjou, Book 3, Chapter 30

Philippe d'Anjou and Jason Bourne knew each other when they both fought with Operation Medusa in Southeast Asia. D'Anjou fills in a gap in Bourne's life story: he took on the name of a man he killed.


My name is David ...

Jason Bourne, Epilogue

In the last lines of the novel, Jason Bourne finally knows his true name: David Webb. He "reintroduces" himself to Marie St. Jacques as an indication that they may be able to start a life together as honest equals.

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