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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

by Jules Verne

Exploration Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

"Mobilis in Mobile."

Mobile in the mobile element! The device fitted the submarine perfectly. (1.8.58-59)

More importantly, the submarine "fits" the ocean perfectly. Like the ocean, the sub is free, ever moving and changing. So we have this notion of a mobile element within a mobile element; the sub is a symbol for the ocean itself. (See our "Setting" section for more on this issue.)

Quote #2

Where were we? What strange force was taking us away? I felt, or rather believed I felt, the machine sinking down to the furthest depths of the ocean. Fearful waking nightmares tormented me. I glimpsed a whole world of unknown animals sheltering in mysterious refuges, with the submarine vessel as one of their congeners, living, moving, formidable like them. (1.8.65)

Isn't Aronnax an expert on all things oceanic? Shouldn't he be excited to descend into the "furthest depths of the ocean"? Well, the technology of the sub is kinda futuristic, so we'd understand if Aronnax is freaked out by the whole ordeal. He doesn't trust the sub, because it's too… well, amazing to believe at this point. We're often afraid of what we don't understand, right?

Quote #3

"So let me tell you that you will not regret the time spent on board my vessel. You are going to travel through a wonderland. Astonishment and stupefaction will probably be your normal state of mind. You will not easily become blasé about the sights continually offered to your eyes. I am going to embark on a new underwater tour of the world—who knows, perhaps the last?—and revisit everything I have studied on my many travels; and you will be my study companion. Starting today, you will enter a new element, you will see what no man has ever seen before (for my men and I no longer count); and our planet, through my efforts, will deliver up its last secrets." (1.10.48)

Nemo makes it sound as though he has been to the edge of the universe and back, you know, as though he's seen what lives at Earth's final frontier. He certainly makes the trip seem like a lot of fun. Who do you think he's really trying to convince here: his new captive shipmates, or himself?

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