Hogarth Hughes (born March 18th, 1948 in Rockwell, Maine.) is the main protagonist of the 1999 animated science fiction film The Iron Giant, voiced by Eli Marienthal. He is an adventurous boy who acts as The Iron Giant's friend and mentor, while trying to protect him from Kent or the authorities.
Growing up in 1957, in Rockwell, Maine, Hogarth is a pretty average kid; he is energetic, curious, and adventurous, however he is also unusually smart for his age. Growing up alone with his widowed mother, Hogarth spends much of his time exploring the woods and trying to find "pets" that he can be friends with, since he tends to be an outcast in school. His boundless energy and adventurous attitude, generally causes him to get himself in trouble however, as his own exploration causes him to discover the Giant in the woods, putting his life at risk in the process.
Aside from his imaginative and inquisitive side however, Hogarth has a very brave and intelligent side as well. At nine years old, Hogarth has already moved up a grade and is bullied by the older kids at schools as a result. Hogarth himself exhibits a surprising amount of maturity and intellect, as he already has a deep understanding of the people, likely stemming from losing his father to war. He himself, acting as the giant's father, teaches the child-like Giant humanity and the concept of an inner soul, essentially teaching the giant that he posses both the potential for great good and for horrible destruction. In a sense, it is his own personality that shapes the person the Iron Giant becomes. Hogarth is also very confident in his own judgement and very headstrong, often not listen to others orders and does what he believes is right instead, even if it means jeopardizes his own safety. When the Giant is most dangerous, Hogarth still approaches him to try and bring him back to his senses, putting his life at risk in the process. Hogarth is also shown to be a fan of Superman, Mad Magazine, and The Spirit, when he shows some of his comics to the Giant.
Hogarth is a young boy, whose over all appearance could be considered as handsome for a kid. As a child, he is relatively short in stature for his age and has auburn hair that he appears to part to his right side. He has fair freckless skin, dark blue eyes in contrast to his mothers green ones, and is quite lean compared to the other kids at his school. Hogarth noticeably does not have perfect teeth, and his face is somewhat rounder with a wide chin. Through the film, Hogarth's signature outfit is a scarlet jacket with a black collar and lower half, blue jeans that are rolled up at the ends, and red and white Converse sneakers.
Hogarth does wear two variations during the film, however. On the night the Giant eats his television antenna and attacks the power station, Hogarth dons, a large maroon winter jacket with lining similar to sherpa fur, dark green combat boots, a striped shirt, and a helmet with goggles. When Hogarth meets Kent Mansley the following night, he wears a white and red jacket with blue lining and two white stars. Also wears varying shirts during the course of the film as a normal person would.
Role in the Film
Sometime in the fall of 1957, following the launch of Sputnik, a harsh hurricane on the shores of Rockwell, Maine, finally ends, revealing a beautiful bright morning in the small marine town. Hogarth is first seen, while New Englanders are doing repairs of their own on the storm-damaged docks of the Rockwell. As the locals go about their business quietly, down the middle of the hilly streets comes Hogarth on his bicycle. Ringing the bike's bell lightly as he heads down the hillside, the boy travels swiftly with a small green shoebox with holes punched in its sides mounted on the back of the bike. Passing a few shops as few small shops, Hogarth quickly comes to a stop at a local diner called the Chat'n Chew.
Removing the shoebox and heading inside the crowded and loud restaurant, Hogarth looks around, before being quickly called and waived to the counter by his mother, Annie, who works as a waitress at the restaurant. Delighted to see his mother, Hogarth begins to tell her that he's found something, but she already knows from his words that he means an animal, and reminds him that she does not want a pet. Hogarth attempts to plead with her to keep the pet, but Annie is not enthusiastic about the idea. With the bread winner of the family gone, they have to rent out a room in their house to make ends meet, and she fears the upholstery would be ruined. All at once, Hogarth's smile fades as she reminds him of the time they kept a raccoon, and Hogarth presumably freed it in the house. Still wanting to keep the pet however, Hogarth asks that she at least take a look at it, to which she complies. Unfortunately, to his shock, the lid of the box is open, and the box is empty.
Hogarth lives with his widowed mother, Annie, who works at a local diner and is trying to make ends meet after Hogarth's father (who was never seen or mentioned in the movie) passed away a few months before the events of the movie. At the diner one day, Hogarth overhears a fisherman talking about an "Invader from Mars" that came crashing down to Earth. That night, while investigating that the TV antenna was bitten off, Hogarth sets out to discover this "invader" and finds a 50-foot-tall robot which has a huge appetite for anything metallic. When the giant gets tangled in electric wires, Hogarth saves him from electrocution. With the help of a beatnik named Dean, Hogarth helps hide the giant in his junkyard. Later, when Kent Mansley tries to destroy the giant, Hogarth gets knocked unconscious in the pursuit. The giant mistakes this for his death and snaps at the government, turning into a deadly war machine. When Hogarth recovers, he is able to calm down the giant, telling him "you are who you choose to be." Kent orders the USS Nautilus (SSN-571) to launch a nuclear missile at the giant soon after. But the giant, saying goodbye to Hogarth, takes off into the sky and intercepts the missile to save the town of Rockwell from nuclear destruction acting like Superman. Sometime later, a memorial statue has been dedicated to the giant that Dean (now Hogarth's stepfather) constructed at the park, and Hogarth receives the only piece of debris recovered from the explosion, a jaw bolt. That night, when the bolt starts to move on its own, Hogarth lets it roll into the countryside. In the Langjokull glacier in Iceland, the giant starts reassembling itself in the final scene of the movie.
- (after learning that the TV antenna was bitten off) Come on! Stupid antenna!
- (after finding the giant in the forest) Wow. My own giant robot. I am now the luckiest kid in America! This is unbelievable. This is the greatest discovery since...I don't know...television or something!
- So we can't call Ripley's Believe It or Not because, well...they wouldn't believe it.
- Welcome to Downtown Coolsville. Population...us!
- (rolls his eyes, then sees the Giant's hand walking through the kitchen] Oh, my God! [his mother looks up at him) Uhh, Oh my God...We, uh...thank you for the...food that Mom has put in front of us and- STOP! ...Uh, uh- the devil! From doing bad things. And uh- get out of here! Uh...Satan? Go! Go...so that we may live in peace. Amen.
- Well...goodbye. (Hogarth starts walking away, the Giant follows him) No, No. Me go, you stay. No Following. Good. (Hogarth walks away, the Giant still follows him) I TOLD YOU! I'll come back tomorrow! NOW STAY! (Hogarth walks away and the Giant still follows him) NO, NO, NO! BAD ROBOT!
- (after seeing the giant repair itself) Wow! You can fix yourself? Neat-o!
- You are who you choose to be.
- (being satisfied with Kent after he got fired from his position, When Kent and the army leaves Dean's junkyard) Bye, Kent, and all that implies.