Around The World In Eighty Days
Around The World In Eighty Days
Written by Jules Verne
While the narrative begins in London, the theme of the novel is such that the settings change continuously. Mr. Phileas Fogg attempts to go around the world in eighty days and so he covers the major points across the globe Paris¸ Suez, Bombay, Calcutta, Singapore, Hong-Kong, Yokohama, San Francisco, New York, Liverpool and then back to London. Apart from these major places Fogg also meets adventures in route.
As the train from Bombay to Calcutta stops a little beyond Lothal, Fogg and his companions travel to Allahabad on elephants. Later, when the travelers are in America and are attacked by the Sioux, they disembark at Fort Kearney station. Fogg even goes deep into American land in order to rescue Passepartout. Thus the characters in the novel go across the whole globe and see many other places. The setting of the novel is nearly the whole world!
Phileas Fogg- This precise and intelligent man is one to the most memorable characters of Verne. When we are introduced to him, he is an English man who lives a very regularized life. He is impeccable in his manners and is very punctual as well as particular about what he wants. If it weren’t for the title we would never have guessed that he makes a plan to go around the world. What is most distinct about his character is his eccentricity and even his trip around the world results out of a stubborn quirk and not out of a greed for the wager money.
While Fogg does travel around the world he does not really bother to find out more about the possible sources of tourist interest that he passes through. Surprisingly if anyone had a conversation with Fogg regarding the very same places, he would know a lot about them. It is the volatility and fire beneath the calm exterior that makes Fogg so very attractive.
Another outstanding trait of Fogg is his large heartedness. He decides to help the sacrificial victim, Aouda and risks his own life in the bargain. The same attribute in Fogg enables him to pardon Passepartout despite the latter’s many blunders. Towards the end of the novel, Fogg even forgives the detective who had put so many hurdles in Fogg’s path. Fogg goes to the extent of giving Fix some money, while anyone else in Fogg’s place would have been livid with anger.
As the protagonist of the story, Fogg demands a great deal of attention. It is he who sets most of the action rolling and it is he who initiates the entire adventure. He never gives up despite all odds and hires boats, captures ships, rides on a snow mobile and even hires a train in order to attain his goal.
Verne adds an unexpected twist in the story when the precise Fogg slips up and mistakes the time. He thinks he has reached London late, when in fact, he reaches it a full day earlier. The entire England and the readers too cheer, when Fogg wins the wager and manages to go around the world in the stipulated period.
Verne shows growth in Fogg’s character. While Verne celebrates Fogg’s rationality and his detachment at the end Verne maintains that Fogg attains nothing but love through his entire endeavor. He may have won a wager, which is good for his pride but more than anything else he finds lasting love, which is wonderful for his heart. Aouda would have kept Fogg very happy and we are glad that the ex-shipman marries the exotic Indian princess.
Passepartout- Fogg’s valet, Passepartout is a foil to Fogg’s character. This interesting Frenchman is an integral part of the story, from the very first chapter. He is shown as a man, who is on the lookout for some peace and quiet after having had a very exciting and adventurous life. It is for this reason that he decides to serve the impeccable Fogg, who comes across as a meticulous man, who will not undertake travels. Passepartout soon realizes that he is completely wrong for Fogg suddenly plans a journey around the world and Passepartout is tugged along. This journey is not undertaken at a leisurely pace but is completed at a hectic gallop complete with many bumps.
While Passepartout is very loyal, it is he who serves to delay his master several times. Passepartout is naÃ¯ve to a certain extent and tends to get carried away at several occasions. While Fogg, Aouda and Passepartout are at Hong Kong, Passepartout gets opiated in the company of Fix and is unable to inform his master about the change in the departure time of the Carnatic. Fogg is thus forced to hire a special boat to Shanghai. Later in the story while the group is traversing America, the Sioux takes Passepartout captive. Fogg’s journey is delayed yet again, while he decides to rescue his menial-Passepartout. But the worst blow comes when detective Fix in England arrests Fogg. Passepartout can be greatly held blame for this arrest. He should have warned his master about Fix’s suspicions regarding the robbery, but he didn’t. Passepartout does feel guilty that he is a major source of delay as well as financial loss to his master. On the other hand, he makes up for his errors by his jovial nature and his unflinching love and loyalty for his master. Moreover it is Passepartout who takes the most crucial step in the rescue of Aouda. It is he who manages to lift her from the sacrificial pyre by pretending to be the dead Rajah reawakened. Thus while Aouda’s rescue is Fogg’s idea, it is Passepartout who makes it possible.
At the end of the book Fogg is grateful to Passepartout again. It is Passepartout who goes to the Reverend Samuel Wilson, of the Parish of Marylebone, in order to tell him about Fogg and Aouda’s planned wedding. When he requests the priest to marry the couple, he realizes that the next day is Sunday, not Monday. He rushes back to his master and drags him to the Reform Club. Fogg wins the wager as a result of his menial’s last minute realization of their joint mistake.
Both Fogg and Aouda are fond of the funny Passepartout. Fogg gives Passepartout a part of the money he wins, while Aouda gives this French man her affection and care.
Passepartout serves to add a comic touch to the story with his antics. He is all the more interesting because he has been an acrobat before. His little role as a long nosed acrobat in Japanese clothes is a very bright cameo. His lightheartedness and his blunders are in complete contrast to Fogg’s seriousness and meticulousness. Together they make an unforgettable pair. Passepartout enthralls the audience and the readers grow to like this crazy, eccentric Frenchman.
Detective Fix- He is the closest to being termed the ‘antagonist’ in this story of a challenge to travel around the world in eighty days. He appears in the fifth chapter and is then a permanent feature in the story till the very end. Mr. Fix is one of the many detectives who are on the trail of the infamous robber of the Bank of England. Somehow he gets suspicious of Mr. Fogg and starts to believe passionately that it is none other than Fogg who is guilty of the bank robbery. Fix has a drawing of the suspected culprit that is given to all detectives. The portrait happens to resemble Fogg’s persona and this strengthens Fix’s conviction about Fogg’s guilt. Thus, Fix decides to obtain a warrant to arrest Fogg. The catch is that the warrant takes time to reach Fix and till then he has to shadow Fogg all over the world. He succeeds in placing many obstacles in Fogg’s path without Fogg ever realizing that Fix is out to ruin his plans. Fix befriends Passepartout with the sole aim of keeping a tab on Fogg. Passepartout’s naivetÃ© and innocence makes him incapable of smelling a rat in Fix’s pretended friendly behavior.
Fix is not at all a straightforward man. In his desperation to get hold of the reward money that a detective gets for arresting a robber, he even goes to the extent of intoxicating Passepartout with opium. Passepartout is then unable to inform his master about the change in the departure time of a ship and Fogg is delayed as a result. Previously it was Fix, who encouraged the Indian priests of a pagoda at Malabar Hill, to pursue Passepartout till Calcutta in order to arrest the latter on the change of desecrating a holy place. Indeed, Fix’s antics make the reader detest him. We are even more frustrated, when Passepartout does not tell his master about Fix after having learnt the latter’s true identity. Thus Fix continues to accompany Fogg and his group on their travels. He is shameless in that he accepts Fogg’s offer to travel with the group on special ships and trains, without contributing to the finances that make these exclusive conveyances possible.
While viewing Fogg’s gallantry in America, Fix does have a twinge of embarrassment at whether his suspicious are mistaken but these thoughts remain passing whims only. The only place where Fix does help Fogg is when he arranges for a unique mode of conveyance from Fort Kearney to Omaha Station and that is by a sledge. There is of course a very selfish reason behind this extended help. Fix too wishes to reach English soil as soon as possible, so that he may arrest Fogg. He cannot arrest Fogg in America. Fix finally does arrest Fogg at Liverpool and Fogg is imprisoned. When Fogg is released with due apologies, he hits Fix and this is a blow that Fix very much deserves.
What is most amazing is that despite Fix’s misbehavior, Fogg feels sorely sorry for the defeated Fix and gives him some part of the wager money that he wins. We can imagine how Fix would have been indebted to Fogg and his generously for the rest of his life.
Aouda- Aouda, as a beautiful and exotic Indian princess is a major source of glamour in the novel. In a story, which is mainly about men, Aouda is the sole source of femininity. Fogg and his group come across her while traveling through India. In fact, the story of her rescue is one of the most dramatic episodes in the novel. She is a rich princess who is forcibly married to an old rajah after her father’s death. When the rajah too passes away, she is forced to commit ‘suttee’- that is sacrifice of the wife’s life on the funeral pyre of the husband’s. Being young and intelligent, she obviously does not want to sacrifice herself but she is literally intoxicated with opium by the fanatic priests and is trapped by them.
Fogg and his companions had hired an elephant to take them to Allahabad. The guide relates Aouda’s story to them when they see the procession of priests with Aouda. Fogg in a rare emotional moment insists on trying to rescue Aouda. Finally through the courageous daring of Passepartout the princess is saved from the jaws of death. She is then eternally grateful to both Fogg and Passepartout for the rest of her life.
It is decided that she will travel with Fogg till Hong Kong, where she will ask one of her rich relatives for aid. But when they reach Hong Kong, they find out that the relative has moved away. Thus Aouda accompanies Fogg in his journey around the world. Despite Fogg’s cold exterior Aouda senses a warm heart beneath and falls in love with him. Passepartout alone can sense that Aouda’s feelings for Fogg surpass mere gratefulness but Fogg shows no apparent sign of reciprocity. But nevertheless, we learn that Fogg does love Aouda and he confesses his love towards the end of the novel. Aouda and Fogg do marry and Passepartout is especially happy to see two of his favorite people yoked together.
Aouda seems to be the perfect companion for a man such as Fogg. She is shown as beautiful, polished in manners and kind at heart. Moreover, she is just as self-respecting as Fogg himself is and is also equally brave. When the Sioux in America attacks them, she puts up a courageous fight. She gets hold of arms and defends herself magnificently. She refuses to be left with Passepartout at Kearney station and braves the acute suffering of a journey in the open air in order to accompany Fogg to Omaha station.
Verne uses the character of Aouda to drive home a crucial point. In the last chapter titled-‘In which it is shown that Phileas Fogg gained nothing by traveling round the world unless it were happiness, Verne points out that Fogg’s ultimate victory was not the one of the wager, but one in which he attained Aouda’s love. Verne goes on to write that Aouda was a charming woman, who made Fogg the happiest of men! In Verne’s own words-‘And forsooth, who would not go round the world for less?’ the author refers to Aouda as being a more important attainment than the completion of a successful journey round the world. Aouda reiterates the fact that human relationships and love are more important than any number of worldly challenges, wagers or money.
The protagonist is none other than Mr. Fogg. He is a British gentleman residing in Saville Row at the Reform Club and leads an extremely well regulated life. But when he is challenged to go around the world in eighty days, he accepts the challenge and thus puts himself in a conflicting situation. He is the man who initiates the entire adventure of the novel, the ‘hero’ who finally overcomes all the obstacles in his path. The novel revolves around his efforts to jump from train to ship in order to traverse the world in the quickest way possible.
Fogg is also the hero/protagonist because of his heroic traits-he is calm, unruffled, gallant and large-hearted. He is rational on most occasions and it is only a person such as him who would be able to succeed in a difficult task. In this novel, the protagonist does not have to develop as a human being. But his challenge is whether he can overcome mistakes and the unpredictability of Fate, to succeed in a human enterprise. There is some development in his character as he grows to love a woman who becomes the center of his life, after the triumphant completion of his adventure. While there are other companions with him in his travels it is the exacting Fogg, who sets the ball of the story rolling and who is the undisputed and admirable protagonist of the story.
The protagonist resolves to travel around the world in eighty days and there is one antagonist that stops him in his endeavor. There are many antagonistic situations and antagonistic persons though.
Phileas Fogg is challenged by a group of whist players to go around the world in eighty days. While these players foresee the antagonistic situations that Fogg might have to face they are not antagonists themselves. They do not bodily or physically oppose Fogg’s plans though they mentally and psychologically hope that he does not win.
While Fix, the detective’s character may stake a claim to being the antagonist it does not succeed in its proclamation. Fix often blocks Fogg’s progress around the world but he is not the sole source of antagonism. He suspects that Fogg is a major bank robber and tries to retain Fogg in English ruled ports so that he may arrest the traveler. It is Fix who arrests Fogg at Liverpool thereby detaining him. But despite all of Fix’s villainous efforts, he is not the sole antagonist of the story.
Forces that can be ultimately traced in fate, nature, and human frailty oppose Fogg. When he is traveling by train to Calcutta he, as well as, the other passengers find out that the rail has not been completed. They have to arrange for their other transport from Kholby to Allahabad. Fogg hires an elephant but his own large heartedness demands that he breaks the elephant journey to rescue a princess. Because of such delays Fogg loses the two days that he had gained. Later storms at sea delay his journey. At another occasion he misses boarding his ship, as Passepartout does not inform his master that the departure of the ship had been postponed. Passepartout had been conned into drunkenness by Fix. Situations such as abound in Fogg’s journey and prove to be antagonistic. When Fogg is traveling to New York by train the Sioux attacks them. The ensuing fight too takes away precious time from Fogg’s strict schedule.
Thus the protagonist Fogg faces antagonistic situations that oppose the discipline of his journey but at the same time, he is not shown as waging a war against a single antagonist.
The climax of the story takes place when everyone at the Reform Club, especially the challengers, are waiting for Fogg to make his appearance. Surprisingly, Fogg does reach the drawing room of the club at 8:45 p.m. This comes as a big shock to the readers as we had read in the previous chapter that Fogg had reached London late and that he was quietly residing at his house at Saville Row. To now learn that Fogg does win the wager surprises us. This is a climactic moment as it is the fulfillment of the aim behind Fogg’s entire endeavor. More than that, it fills the readers with suspense and curiosity as to the appearance of Fogg on Saturday, December 21st, at the predetermined time. We had all read that he hadn’t managed to make it and then when we see that he wins the wager, we are completely taken aback.
The mystery of Fogg’s appearance at the club is solved in the next chapter that is the 37 th of the book, but the climax is undoubtedly in the 36 th chapter. This eventful chapter starts with the description of the excitement that pervades England as a result of the resumption of betting on Fogg’s proposed effort to travel around the world in eighty days. The interest in Fogg is regenerated when England learns that Fogg was wrongly suspected of the robbery and that he is actually quite innocent.
The chapter goes on to describe the crowd that assembles around the club on Saturday evening, the day on which it will be decided whether Fogg wins or loses the wager. The reader assumes that this chapter describes a day in the past a day when Fogg is disappointed because he has been defeated in his endeavor. His fellow whist players discuss whether Fogg will be able to make it on time and they are quite sure that he won’t because there has been no news of his travels in a long time. Stuart is convinced that Fogg has lost because Fogg’s name was not on the passenger list of the China; the only liner he could have come by soon enough from New York to Liverpool.
Towards the end of the chapter the countdown begins from 8:40 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. the whist players are quite excited as they count the seconds before it is 8:45 p.m. And at the fifty-seventh second of 8:44 p.m., Fogg opens the door of the room and comes in saying in a calm voice ‘Here I am, gentlemen’. The climax, which had started building with the description of the Saturday evening, reaches, it’s ultimate zenith when Fogg walks in calmly. For all practical purposes Fogg was a winner and the purpose around which the story had revolved, is reached Fogg’s words –‘Here I am gentlemen’ constitute the climax of the story.
In the last chapter, the outcome of the story is described. The author here explains how Fogg did manage to win the wager and how he had been mistaken himself about the time of his arrival at England we are told that Passepartout was sent to the parson and that he came back running to his master. He tells Fogg in an excited manner that the marriage cannot take place the next day because it is a Sunday. Fogg refuses to believe, as he is sure that the next day is a Monday. It is then that he realizes that he has made a mistake of a day! In actuality, Fogg had reached a day before but now he only has ten minutes to reach the Club in time. Fogg jumps into a cab and manages to make it in time, as we have seen in the previous chapter.
We now learn what happens after Fogg has won the wager. Though he had won the twenty thousand pounds, since he had spent something like nineteen thousand on the way, the proceeds were small. The thousand pounds that remained are divided between the worthy Passepartout and the luckless Fix, to whom Fogg could not find it in his heart to bear any grudge.
Aouda and Fogg pledge their love for each other and are married forty-eight hours after Fogg wins the wager. The morning after Fogg is married, he tells Passepartout that he is glad that they went through India as this is how he managed to meet the love of his life, Aouda. The last paragraph of the book questions what Fogg has gained through the journey around the world. We are told that Fogg gains nothing, “but a charming woman who unlikely as it may appear made him the happiest of men!”
So, Fogg gains much more than the ‘sense of achievement’ and the ‘wager’ he gets a wife and wins love, which eventually make him even happier as a man. Passepartout remains loyal to his master and it is he who gives the bride away at the marriage. His enthusiasm about the possibility of the journey being completed in seventy-eight days is very inspiring and yet another proof of his loyalty for his master.
Indeed the reader is very happy to see that all’s well that ends well our hero Fogg has proved that rationality and calmness can do wonders and we are completely on his side!
The main theme of the novel can be ascertained from the topic of the book ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’. Phileas Fogg, a stern and disciplined man claims that it is possible to go around the world in eighty days. He is challenged to accomplish this feat himself. Thus the major theme is the possibility/probability of going around the globe in eighty days. Fogg manages to prove that it is possible despite all odds.
Another major theme is whether Fogg is a bank robber, as detective Fix claims. Fix makes his appearance in Chapter Five and continues to stay throughout the novel. He is one of the many detectives who are determined to find the robber who has robbed the Bank of England. He becomes suspicious of Fogg who looks as a thorough gentleman and is going around the world in a great hurry. Fix follows Fogg from Suez, all over the world till Liverpool. After befriending Passepartout he tells the servant about his suspicious regarding Fogg. The doubt as to whether Fogg is a culprit or not is a major theme of the book.
Related to the theme of Fogg’s journey around the world is the other major theme, of the development in Fogg’s character. He is very punctual, calm, collected, wise and large hearted. Through the initial part of the novel, he comes across as a very cold and calculating English prude and the reader doesn’t expect much emotion from him but there is development in his character traits, as we shall see. His sole purpose is to go around the world but we see how he changes his plans just so that he & his company can try and save the Indian Princess Aouda: he seems cold but is really not. This development in his character is a major focus of the book. We learn at the end of the novel that this major achievement is not only that of going around the world successfully in eighty days, but the fact that he wins a warm and abiding love in the person of Aouda.
The mood of the book is that of adventure and the excitement that is always a part of ‘travel’. Phileas Fogg accepts the challenge to go around the world in eighty days and in accomplishing this feat he goes through various lands and meets with diverse adventures. Thus the book proceeds at a fast pace and there is always some excitement resulting from the various encounters.
There is a little element of mystery in the mood with the suspicion that Fogg might be the gentleman robber, guilty of a major theft at the Bank of England. Passepartout is told by Fix that his master is not what he seems and even though Passepartout tends to trust Fogg, there is a sense of tension that Fogg might just be the culprit. Even the reader wonders whether Fogg could be guilty and becomes curious about Fogg’s reality.
Another distinct element in the mood is that of challenge and struggling against odds. Fogg and his companions face seemingly impossible obstacles in order to go around the world at an incredible pace. Fogg leads them with his calmness and rationality. Whether it be while fighting the Sioux or rushing to London from Liverpool in a specially hired train.
What the reader gets to read eventually is an exciting and truly adventurous tale.
Around the World in Eighty Days is my favorite book. This essay was written eight hours straight and edited for another hour. If you put yourself into a kid’s point of view it would be easy for you to tell that this essay is purely passion. This book not only has a mental effect on me, but an emotional. As a young child my parents would throw in the Three Stooges rendition of Around the World in Eighty Days and I would sit there and laugh with my best friend, Claire. Even though the book didn’t have Larry, Mo, and Curly, it exceeded anything I could have hoped for. It has been my favorite book for a little over a year and I understand fully of why it is a classic.