The way Hippolyte’s Island is written is very different than most storylines. The most outstanding difference I saw is that typically it is the main character that is dynamic and learns a major lesson as the plot progresses but in the case of this book it is the minor character Marie. Marie undergoes a huge transformation from as uptight and by the book as can be to more relaxed and trying new things she never thought she would such as wearing running shoes, comfortable clothing and using vacation time. Hippolyte on the other hand is as static as can be and does not change in the slightest. Another unique characteristic i saw in this book was the climax of the story happening very late. The turning point that showed to me was the moment Marie read Robert Runford’s journal and in that moment all her doubts about Hippolyte turned to belief. The changes she made in the first place such as going to Connecticut and leaving her comfort zone were the build up to this point. In the final chapter when Marie hears of Hippolyte’s offer to join him on his second expedition to the Auroras I think she accepts it because the new version of her has that desire for travel. There is plenty of evidence of foreshadowing that Marie’s attraction to Hippolyte grows throughout the novel.
The first example comes on page 173 “She had to admit Jeremy was right; with the smile and his prematurely weathered boyishness, Hippolyte was good looking.” This right off the bat is an indicator but is quickly masked by their incompatibility in personality. The next example on page 216 states “She resented the attention Hippolyte drew to himself, the time he wanted to spend on him and his book. She couldn’t make any sense of him; he was illogical and unknowable and she loathed him for this.” While these may seem like some harsh words towards Hippolyte, Marie is also thinking these at the only time she is alone and does’t have to see or think about him at all, when she is alone at her apartment. I think the fact that she cannot get him out of her head and is constantly thinking about him even though it is negative is a time where she uses all this negative to try and convince herself of her hatred towards him because she will not face the feelings that are beginning to grow. When she read’s Runford’s account of the Aurora’s this is the nail in the coffin. She could not fathom that she was so wrong about him to believe he made everything up it causes her to completely reevaluate herself and the first change I think she makes is being more optimistic and joining Hippolyte because it is something she would have said no to in a heartbeat if she was the old Marie. Because of this self confusion, although I think Marie does accept Hippolyte’s offer I DO NOT think it is a wise idea. Although Hippolyte could not realize Marie is at a vulnerable point because she is now on a new quest for meaning after all that has just happened and therefore very likely to jump into something so rash like joining Hippolyte to the Aurora Islands.
If there was a sequel as to what would happen next, it would involve a lot of fighting between Hippolyte and Marie once they got on the boat because they are still no where near compatible and he would drive her absolutely crazy. She may have been wrong to think he was lying but she was not wrong about his personality. Hippolyte is also probably very rusty on the little sailing he knows and he faced a lot of luck with his first journey that he may not get a second time.
If I had to pick an All-Star Cast for a Movie based on Hippolyte’s Island it would be…..
Kevin James as Jeremy Gould Danny McBride as Peter
Gary Busey as Jonathan Runford
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