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Journey Around The World In 80 Days English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1629 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Jules Verne attempts to capture advances in travel and technology as he narrates his fictional characters’ journey around the world. Regarding travel, the author incorporates various modes of transport to ensure that his main character Fogg completes his journey. He shows that Fogg is able to go on the journey because of the developments in transportation during the 19th century. During the journey, Fogg and his entourage use steamers, railways, carriages, yachts, trading-vessels, sledges, and an elephant. Fogg argues that he could make the trip around the world in eighty days. This is because of the revolution in transport due to the Great Indian Peninsula Railway, which would enable travelers make a connection between Rothal and Allahabad. In the text, the author depicts the revolutions in land travel due to railway transport and in sea travel through steamships.

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Fogg appears as a character that does not choose which mode of transport to use, whether the ancient or modern, provided that it could get him to his destination. In addition, he appears as always prepared for unforeseen hitches that occur with the various modes of transport he uses. At the same time, he does not hesitate to use ancient modes of transport when the more advanced ones fail. For example, when he gets to a train station but no train is available, he opts to pay an Indian to allow him to use his elephant to go to the next station. Here, Fogg and his entourage make use of an ancient means of transport, that of domesticated animals. This surprises his servant Passepartout, who scoffs at him for paying a huge sum of money to use an elephant to travel. Passepartout appears here as a character that is opposed to ancient means of travel. At the East Coast, Fogg and his entourage encounter heavy storms that prevent them from sailing by ship. To solve the problem, he decides to use a steamboat, but it runs out of fuel and he has to use the ship’s masts in order to continue his journey. In addition, he appears as a character that is knowledgeable in matters of transport and travel. For instance, he insists that the consul stamps his passport to indicate that he has come through the Suez Canal on his way to India. In America, Fogg stops some Indians from launching an attack on a transcontinental train, as he understands the value of railway transport in enabling faster movement.

Passepartout also brings out the aspect of faster movement when he comments that he cannot believe that his journey with Fogg from London to Suez has taken very few days. At the same time, he comments that they have traveled farther than he had thought, showing that the advances in transport technology not only enabled faster movement but also traveling to more places. On the other hand, Passepartout appears to think negatively of railway transport. During the journey by rail across India, he becomes worried that the frequent stopovers of the train will deter his master from arriving at his destination on time. At the same time, he believes the train is too slow because his master did not give the driver a tip. He does not understand that with the train, unlike the steamer, it was not possible to hasten its rate of movement.

The author also reveals another problem with railway transport and forces his characters to resort to ancient means of travel, in order to complete their journey. At Kholby, the train stops due to an interruption in the railway line, and the passengers have to look for their own means to get to Allahabad. While other passengers resort to donkey and horse carts, Fogg suggests to Passepartout that they go by foot from Kholby to Allahabad. However, Passepartout frowns showing that he does not agree with his master’s proposed means of travel. Immediately, he suggests they use an Indian elephant, but at the same time, opposes the exorbitant price that his master pays for the animal. However, Fogg and his entourage benefit in that the elephant allows them to travel directly through the forest. Their guide argues that this was a better means than the railway line, which would not have been of much help to them because it was not following a straight route due to the Vindhia Mountains. When the guide stops the elephant for a rest, Fogg, Passepartout and Sir Francis are relieved, showing that they were going through a rough ride on the animal’s back.

On the other hand, detective Fix appears to doubt the punctuality of the steamer. He repeatedly asks the consul whether the ship sailing through the Suez Canal has ever been late and this is because he thinks that Fogg is responsible for the bank robbery and wants to have him arrested. The consul replies that the steamer is very fast and always arrives ahead of the scheduled time. At the same time, he adds that the ship provided a direct connection from Suez to Bombay. His response places emphasis on the revolution of sea travel through the steamship. Moreover, passengers traveling to Calcutta could use the steamer and alight at Bombay, then take a train to their destination. This was possible through the railway line across the Indian Peninsula. The steamer reaches Aden ahead of the scheduled time, despite stopping to refuel, showing again its capability of rapid movement.

When Fogg and his entourage arrive in India, they note changes in modes of transport. Instead of walking and riding on horseback, the people were using trains. In addition, they were using steamboats to cross the rivers Indus and Ganges. As they travel from Bombay to Calcutta, Sir Francis confers to Fogg that in the past years, people would move from Callyan to Kandallah by horseback, because the railway line had not yet reached that point. Sir Francis shows Fogg and his entourage the developments in railway transport, though the latter is quick to confer to him that if the situation were the same, it would not have affected his trip. Fix decides to use technology’s power to enable communication over long distance to his advantage. He confers to the consul that he will send a telegram to London so that the police can issue a warrant of arrest for Fogg. This way, when Fogg gets to India he will be unable to get away from the police. While Fix makes use of communication technology to advance his intent, Fogg appears not to attempt to stay in contact with his colleagues at the Reform Club in London. One of his colleagues, John Sullivan observes that they have not received any communication from him, despite the availability of telegraphs in the cities through which Fogg was traveling.

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In contrast, when the time of return of Fogg draws near, the Reform Club dispatches telegrams to Asia and America in search of him. The members are quick to declare that they have won the bet because they conclude that Fogg, having missed the train from Liverpool and the steamer from New York, was unable to complete his trip within the planned period. Their judgment is due to the reason that railway transport had brought a great turnaround in land travel, by enabling people to move much faster. Consequently, if Fogg had boarded the train from Liverpool on time, it was less likely that he would be late to arrive in London.

The author integrates characters from a wide range of cultures into his text. Andrew Stuart, an Englishman and colleague of Fogg at the Reform Club appears to be wary of the Indians, by saying that they were capable of preventing railway transport by damaging the railway lines, looting the wagons, and hurting the travelers. Fix, on the other hand, seems to think that Passepartout is very talkative because he is a Frenchman. The Parsee guide leading Fogg, Passepartout, and Sir Francis on the elephant’s back appears to be afraid of the Indians inhabiting Bundelcund. He tries to lead his entourage away from their sight as these make threats towards them. Moreover, Fogg and Passepartout consider the culture of the Brahmins oppressive. This is evident when they rescue a woman from the hands of a tribe of Brahmins who intend to sacrifice her. At the same time, Fogg and his entourage including the Parsee guide are afraid of the Brahmins and seek places in the forest to hide from them. Passepartout also mocks the statue that the Brahmins are carrying by saying that it is too ugly for it to be one of their gods. To prevent the Brahmins from recapturing Aouda, Fogg and Passepartout arrange for her to leave India. Moreover, the English characters in the text regard India as a strange place because of its temples and mosques, animals, shrines and dancing-girls. In Bombay, Fogg does not like the rabbit stew that the host at the station serves him. Fogg, on the other hand, shows indifference to the art and architecture of Bombay’s mosques, churches, shrines, and towers. He does not stop to look at them but rather goes direct from the passport office to the railway station.

Passepartout shows a keen interest in the religious rituals of the Parsees, as the author narrates that he stops to watch the festival. It is during this period that he accidentally enters the sacred shrine of the Parsees and forgets to remove his shoes. At Burhampoor, Passepartout notices some Indian footwear that looks very attractive and buys a pair. When they arrive in Japan, Passepartout goes looking for food and soon realizes that the Japanese culture forbids the slaughter of cattle because they preserve them for farming purposes. At the same time, he observes that mutton and pork are equally rare in Japan, and appears unhappy with this situation. He concludes that the only option for him is to find poultry or fish and take with rice, which is a Japanese delicacy.


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