20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
How we cite our quotes:
But it did exist, there was now no denying the fact; and given the inclination of the human mind to seek the fantastic, it is easy to understand the sensation that this supernatural apparition caused worldwide. (1.1.5)
In the absence of scientific explanations for the great sea beast, people fabricate magical, religious, or otherwise exciting explanations. It's human nature to want to tell stories. In fact, some people think unexplained scientific phenomena are what prompted us humans to form religions in the first place.
Now the latter theory, admissible after all, was unable to survive the researches carried out in the Old and New Worlds. That a private individual had at his disposition a mechanical contrivance of this sort was improbable. When and where could he have had it built, and how could he have kept its construction secret? (1.2.6)
Even Aronnax the Scientist seems to prefer more fantastic explanations for the Nautilus. Maybe his own limitations as a human being make it hard for him to believe that a fellow man could do something so extraordinary. Because if Nemo could build such a submarine, why hadn't Aronnax already built one? (Yeah, super egotistical people think this way sometimes… it's unfortunate.)
I saw the enigmatic individual as essentially pitiless and cruel, as he was forced to be. I felt him as being beyond the pale of humanity, insensible to feelings of pity, the remorseless enemy of his fellow beings, against whom he must have sworn an undying hatred. (1.9.63)
Aronnax doesn't even know Nemo's name, but he's already come up with a pretty detailed analysis of him. Is he being a little premature, do you think? Why or why not?