October 11, 1999
“Around the World in Eighty Days”
By: Jules Verne
The themes of this novel are calmness and persistence. These two themes are exemplified by one character, Mr. Fogg. Mr. Fogg is always calm in the novel not once in this novel does he show any anxiety or nervousness. Mr. Fogg, under a prolific amount pressure of losing a wager of twenty thousand pounds, remained very tranquil never once to lose his state of mind. The second theme of this story is persistence, shown by Mr. Fogg. Mr. Fogg never gives up on wager of a prolific amount of money, precisely twenty thousand pounds. As the odds turn against him he remains on his path and does not give up. His persistence in the end pays off and Mr. Fogg wins his wager, on who The Reform Club will pay. But did he really achieve a goal by making this unbelievable trip around the world in an astonishing eighty days.
This novel takes place in the late 1800’s, approximately 1872. Mr. Phileas Fogg lived at No. 7, Saville Row, Burlington Gardens. As the story progresses on and one tiny wager is made, a trip around the world changes the setting of this novel many a times. Some of these settings are London, Suez, Bombay, Calcutta, Hong Kong, Yokohama, San Francisco, and New York. Clearly though one the most important settings was in the Indian forests, which were passed through, in order to pursue to Kandallah. The Carnatic and the Mongolia were also key settings to the novel.
In the 19th century, a man by the name of Phileas Fogg, made a wager that he would be able to travel the world in approximately eighty days. At the time of his wager he was looking for a servant. He found a servant by the name of Jean Passepartout. These two came to the understanding that Fogg was the master and Passepartout was just a man. His master told Passepartout that they were leaving immediately to travel around the world and told him to pack a carpetbag. Then new means of funds were given by The Daily Telegraph, who decided that the trip had a shot. Then a detective by the name of Fix sent a telegram to the commissioner saying that he found the robber and needed a warrant immediately, if not sooner. As Fix boarded the Mongolia, Passepartout approached him. He asked fix where he could get the passport of his master visaed. As Fix looked at the passport with intent, asked him if this was his passport, but Passepartout replied that it was his master’s visa. As Fix left, he rushed himself immediately to the consul and told him he had good belief that his robber was on the Mongolia. As they were talking two men interrupted, Passepartout and his master, Phileas Fogg, Fogg asked the consul if he could have his passport visaed to prove he used the Suez. After this Passepartout however tells Fix all he knows, therefore making it certain to Fix’s assumption that points to Fogg, as the robber of fifty-five thousand pounds. Luckily for Phileas Fogg, and his wager, that the Indian Ocean and Red Sea were partly in his favor.
While on Malabar Hill, Passepartout had a little too much curiosity and when he started to go back to the station he was beaten by priests, but was able to hit two of the adviseries and broke free. Even though he ended up losing his shoes. They ended having to make their own transportation to Allahabad, so they went out and Fogg offered to pay a sum for an elephant for transportation paying up front two thousand pounds for the animal. A Parsee offered his service, which proved to be a great help in their journey to Allahabad. As they went on Kiouni stopped suddenly, and the Parsee heard a noise and went to check he came back and said that a procession of Brahmins were coming their way and if possible if they did not see us. They realized she would be burned alive so they, with generosity, said that they would come to her aid and do the best they could to save her life. Passepartout was the one to save this woman in the smokiness of the dark. So they left immediately. They reached Calcutta at seven in the morning therefore giving Fogg approximately five hours. Upon his arrival at Calcutta he, Passepartout, and Aouda were taken by an officer to become prisoners. Fogg admitted that he took her from these wretched priests, but now in return he wanted the priests to confess they were going to burn her alive. They were both sentenced to prison for a week. Fix was happy because this gave him more time to receive the warrant he needed to arrest him on English soil, but he turned blue when Fogg offered bail, and for two thousand pounds Passepartout was returned his shoes and left immediately with his master. As they went on the Rangoon Passepartout felt it necessary to aid the crew in any way possible. Then they were able to catch the Carnatic as it was delayed a day because of technical difficulties. When they went to reserve four cabins the clerk informed them the boat would be leaving this evening so Passepartout would tell his master at once, but Fix convinced him into sharing drinks and Passepartout soon passed out not informing his master. The next day the master asked a captain of a ship if he would take them he said sure, after Fogg told him he would offer them a hundred pounds a day and two hundred more if he were to get there in time. Mr. Fogg after a long journey said there was a fire on this boat in order to get the attention of the steamer. Both Aouda and Fogg were reunited with Passepartout on the General Grant because Passepartout hitchhiked with a bunch of clowns. When the General Grant pulled into the bay of the Golden Gate Fogg had neither lost nor gained a day. When they pulled in Fogg found out that the train, leaving for New York, was not until six o’ clock at night. When going from San Francisco to New York snow and herds of buffalo, which were on the tracks stopped them. On one night a man by the name Hitch, stood and said that Joe Smith was a martyr and that his brother, Hiram was also a martyr. He asked any others who dared to contradict him, but none cared to bother. In the end Phileas Fogg forgets his watch is setback twenty-four hours, but fortunately Passepartout remembers and they rush to the Reform Club enabling them to receive their wagers. Aouda makes him the happiest man in the world.
Mr. Phileas Fogg- The most important character in the novel, he sets the tone for traveling, by daring a sum of twenty thousand pounds that he will make the trip around the world in eighty days. He has a big heart and many a fine qualities, exemplified by his caring for a young woman, to die at the burning stake, and then using his generosity, gave her a free lift.
Passepartout- He was hired as a servant days before this amazing trip was to take place. He had much a faith in his master, as a servant should. He looked up to Mr. Fogg as role model. Wishing he could as such a wonderful person as Fogg, be he.
Aouda- She was rescued at the burning stake by Fogg. Tagged along with Passepartout and Mr. Fogg on the trip around the world. She thought the world of Mr. Fogg, as of learning of the bet by Passepartout.
Fix- He was the detective following Mr. Fogg around. He thought that because of the description of he and realizing the story told by Passepartout to him, that Fogg raided the bank, took the money, and was trying to get as far away from London as possible. For Fix, all the pieces fit in the puzzle.
The Character I liked the most:
The character I like the most was the Parsee. He showed me that there were Good Samaritans back in the late 1800’s. He never let his headman down and always gave Mr. Fogg a hundred and ten percent.
The Character I liked the least:
The character that I despised the most was Fix, the detective. He was always there to make you mad. He doped up Passepartout, and got all the information he needed. He was deceiving and never once acted respectfully.
This novel was an adventurous one and always had twists and turns. It kept you on the edge of your seat and you never expected what was to come next. In my interpretation of the book, I saw this story as fun and exhilarating. You just wanted to keep reading to see what type of transportation they would be using whether it should be an elephant or a steamer.