Study Guide

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Part 1 Chapter 24

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Part 1 Chapter 24

The Coral Kingdom

  • Aronnax wakes up the next day, groggy and confused, in his own room. He finds the door unlocked and ventures out onto the platform, where he finds Ned and Conseil.
  • The three try to figure out what happened, but nobody knows anything.
  • They can't see anything on the seas around the ship. They head back down.
  • After a long absence, Nemo appears in the salon; he looks worn out and sad.
  • Finally, he asks Aronnax, "Sir, are you a doctor?" (1.24.10).
  • As it turns out, he is.
  • Nemo asks him to treat one of his sailors. Aronnax says yes, so they head down to a cabin near the crew's quarters.
  • There, Aronnax finds a sailor with his skull broken and his brain showing. Things aren't looking too good for this sailor.
  • Nemo claims that the man was hurt when a piece of the engine broke and hit him.
  • Aronnax is skeptical, but that doesn't change the fact that he can't help the man. He tells Nemo that his sailor will be dead in a couple of hours.
  • With that, Nemo sends Aronnax away.
  • The next morning, Nemo asks Aronnax if he wants to go out on another expedition. He says yes, and soon he finds himself surrounded by beautiful coral.
  • After walking for two hours, Nemo stops in a "forest" of petrified trees. Nemo's sailors surround their captain.
  • Aronnax notices that some of them are carrying a long object.
  • Aronnax, Ned, and Conseil watch as one of the men begins digging a hole in front of a cross. Suddenly Aronnax realizes what's up: they're burying the injured sailor. Nemo's got an underground cemetery down here.
  • When the coffin is buried, they make their way back to the Nautilus.
  • Nemo confirms that the man died during the night, and that he's been buried along with others who have died on board the Nautilus.
  • "At least your dead slumber tranquilly, captain," Aronnax says, "out of the reach of sharks."
  • "'Yes,' Captain Nemo repl[ies] gravely, 'sharks and men!" (1.24.76-7).

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