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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea


Jules Verne


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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Analysis

Literary Devices in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory


Captain Nemo's motto is "Mobilis In Mobile," that is, "Mobile in the Mobile Element." So we've got a kind of literary nesting doll situation on our hands here. The mobile element = water, and the N...

Narrator Point of View

Sure, Captain Nemo may be the man behind the Nautilus and our undersea tour guide extraordinaire. But 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea isn't his book. No, 20,000 Leagues is, for better and for worse, p...


In 20,000 Leagues, Verne lets us explore a fascinating, mysterious world—the ocean depths—thanks to a revolutionary piece of technology: the Nautilus. There are thrills; men fight squids, men f...


Pierre Aronnax is an academic to the core—a true expert, a real authority on all things oceanic. So, on the one hand, you might expect him to write kind of dully and stiffly. But you can't really...

Writing Style

Verne's not really one for poetic flourishes. He lets his ideas speak for themselves, and then lets your imagination do the rest. Do you really need Verne to get all fancy when he's describing Atla...

What's Up With the Title?

It's pretty simple, really. A league is an old-fashioned measurement of distance that's roughly equivalent to three miles. 3 x 20,000 = 60,000 miles. This is the distance Aronnax, Nemo, and company...

What's Up With the Ending?

A lot and not much, all at the same time. Clearly, Verne isn't in to the whole tie-it-up-with-a-bow kind of novel closure. Look at what Aronnax writes right at the end of the book:But what became o...


Cut through all the fish stuff and the scientific mumbo jumbo and we've got a rousing, straight-up adventure story here, right? Not so fast. Aronnax asks himself a lot of questions, and he doesn't...

Plot Analysis

Aronnax Hunts a "Giant Narwhal"When a mysterious creature begins wreaking havoc throughout the world's oceans, Dr. Pierre Aronnax, an expert on the undersea world, is asked to weigh in on the contr...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

On a quest for the "giant narwhal," Aronnax, Conseil, and Ned Land clash with a mysterious beast. They are thrown overboard the USS Abraham Lincoln. After some struggling, the three men end up on t...

Three-Act Plot Analysis

Aronnax and company go searching for a mysterious sea creature. They end up captives in the belly of the (mechanical, man-made) beast.With the help of the enigmatic Captain Nemo, Aronnax explores s...


The world's first nuclear submarine, the USS Nautilus, was named after Nemo's vessel. Launched in 1955, the real Nautilus was also the first vessel to travel beneath the North Pole. Coincidence? We...

Steaminess Rating

No sex to speak of here. The sauciest moment in this novel comes at the very beginning, when Aronnax and Conseil strip off their clothes… in order to avoid drowning.


Melville, Moby Dick (1.1.10,12)Hippolytus (1.1.12)Rabelais (1.4.10)Homer, The Iliad (1.4.11)Diderot (1.8.17)Cicero (1.8.39)Oedipus and the Sphinx (1.10.21)AuthorsHomer (1.11.8)Victor Hugo...

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