Around the World in Eighty Days

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Scholastic Inc., Mar 1, 1990 - Fiction - 237 pages
10 Reviews
Phileas Fogg bet his entire fortune that he could cross the Nineteenth Century Earth - with no plans, no special arrangements, and no air travel - in exactly eighty days. Any delay, any breakdown, any missed connection, and Fogg would lose - everything.

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Around the World in Eighty Days, by Jules Verne, is a fast paced literary adventure, based on real events, and places, during Edwardian England at the height of the British Empire. The novel begins with an absurd bet of £20,000 (over four million dollars in todays money) made by the uptight ice cold Philias Fogg, that he could travel around the world in 80 days. He is described as being “a polished man, who might live on a thousand years without growing old” (Verne 1). He, along with his trusty, although drunken servant, known for his previous “rock and roll” life style before being a servant, described when him and Philias Fogg first met. “I've had several trades. I've been an singer,[…] a circus-rider, dancer, and then I was a sergeant fireman at Paris” (Verne 14). They are pursued by a bumbling police inspector, with a warrant for Philias Fogg’s arrest. He is charged for robbing the bank of England. The unlikely threesome circumnavigate the world in the record time of eighty days passing through four continents, many of the British territories and over ten countries including India, Singapore, Egypt, China, Japan, America, Italy, and Ireland. He rescues his wife-to-be from a fanatical tribe of Natives in India, has a gun battle with the Souix tribe on an American locomotive, and pirates a French cargo ship from the captain all in order to return to London before the allotted 80 days were up.
The author, Jules Verne, brings to life the amazing, exotic places, and paints scenes to the reader unheard of before in a way that is extremely realistic and easy to in vision. This helps the action packed plot advance in an educational and interesting way. The plot is well defined, and makes sense chronologically. It also follows a complex and dramatic arc, that has a long action packed climb to the peak, followed by a fast paced striking fall, which comes together for a happy ending. The author effectively shows the hero’s journey as readers see Philias Fogg’s icy personality begin to thaw slightly during his literal, and mental journey, exemplified by the lovely missis Aouda, and his rambunctious servant Passeportout. The author expressively depicts Philias Foggs trials, accomplishments, his dramatic plunge into the “Abyss”, his romantic atonement, and finally his return home. The advanced plot structure, and clearly defined monomyth cycle come together to make an intriguing, and exciting story.
Although this book is superbly written with complex characters and dynamics, the author did not completely “finish” certain aspects of the novel. The characters, although almost all of them are round and dynamic, do not always show these characteristic, and sometimes fall to their stock origins. fifty percent of the time can be classified into these character types, Philias Fogg, the classic, cold, edwardian gentleman, often described as being “one of the most noticeable members of the Reform Club, an enigmatical personage, about whom little was known” (Verne 2). Missis Aouda, the kind hearted woman, and Passeportout, the drunken, comical, but devoted frenchman servant. This causes the otherwise non-stop, action-adventure to become occasionally “boring” and predictable, this “boringness”. is accentuated by the amount of narration during the long journeys by train, or at sea.
The book also suffers from repetition, due to its newspaper-serial origins. The beginning of many chapters is summary of the previous chapters, good for the original format, but the function is lost in the modern, novel format. This causes many unnecessary flash backs, confusion, and overall hurts the flow and organization of the book. The transfer the story from a newspaper serial, to a novel could have been better, some of the repetition removed, and smoothed overall to create a less choppy, and more honed book. This book suffers because of its otherwise round, and dynamic characters who sometimes turn static, and “boring”, and it also suffers due to the poor job done to transfer it over from a

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In which Phileas Fogg and Passepartout accept each other the one as master the other as servant
In which Passepartout is convinced that he has found his Ideal
In which a conversation takes place which may cost Phileas Fogg dearly
In which Phileas Fogg surprises Passepartout his servant beyond measure
In which a new security appears on the London Exchange
In which the agent Fix shows a very proper impatience
Which shows once more the uselessness of passports in police matters
In which Passepartout perhaps talks a little more than is proper
In which Fix comes in direct contact with Phileas Fogg
In which the master of the Tankadere runs great risk of losing a reward of two hundred pounds
In which Passepartout sees very well that even at the Antipodes it is prudent to have some money in ones pocket
In which Passepartouts nose is lengthened enormously
During which is accomplished the voyage across the Pacific Ocean
In which a slight glimpse of San Francisco is had a political meeting
In which our party takes the express train on the Pacific Railroad
In which Passepartout follows with a speed of twenty miles an hour a course of Mormon history

In which the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean show themselves propitious to Phileas Foggs designs
In which Passepartout is only too happy to get off with the loss of his shoes
In which Phileas Fogg buys a conveyance at a fabulous price
In which Phileas Fogg and his companions venture through the forests of India and what follows
In which Passepartout proves again that Fortune smiles upon the bold
In which Phileas Fogg descends the entire splendid valley of the Ganges without ever thinking of looking at it
In which the bag with the banknotes is relieved of a few thousand pounds more
In which Fix has not the appearance of knowing anything about the matters concerning which they talk to him
In which one thing and another is talked about during the trip from Singapore to Hong Kong
In which Phileas Fogg Passepartout and Fix each goes about his own business
In which Passepartout takes a little too lively interest in his master and what follows
In which Passepartout could not succeed in making anyone listen to reason
In which certain incidents are related only to be met with on the railroads of the United States
In which Phileas Fogg simply does his duty
In which the detective Fix takes seriously in charge Phileas Foggs interests
In which Phileas Fogg engages in a direct struggle with ill luck
In which Phileas Fogg shows himself equal to circumstances
Which gives Passepartout the opportunity of letting out some atrocious but perhaps unpublished words
In which Passepartout does not have repeated to him twice the order his master gives him
In which Phileas Fogg is again at a premium in the market
In which it is proved that Phileas Fogg has gained nothing by making this tour of the world unless it be happiness

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About the author (1990)

Jules Verne, one of the most influential writers of modern times, was born on February 8, 1828 in Nantes, France. He wrote for the theater and worked briefly as a stockbroker. Verne is considered by many to be the father of science fiction. His most popular novels include Journey to the Center of the Earth, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and Around the World in Eighty Days. These and others have been made into movies and TV mini-series. Twenty Thousand Leagues is even the basis of a popular ride at the Disney theme parks. In 1892, he was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in France. He died on March 24, 1905 in Amiens, France.

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