Study Guide

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Part 1 Chapter 4

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Part 1 Chapter 4

Ned Land

  • Farragut is a good captain, Aronnax tells us. He's sure that the monster is out there, and he's ready to get it—or die trying. His officers are equally committed. Sweet.
  • They spend every moment they can on lookout. Oh yeah, and it helps that there's a $2,000 reward for the first person to sight the monster.
  • Aronnax obviously wants to find his Giant Narwhal as well. Only Conseil seems uninterested, to Aronnax's annoyance.
  • While the Abraham Lincoln is armed to the teeth with guns and cannons and all sorts of things that kill, it's also got one very special weapon: a Canadian harpooner named Ned Land.
  • For a man named Land, this Canadian sure is at home on the sea. He's a master with the harpoon. He's a real whale-killer's whale-killer, big and strong and more than a bit stubborn.
  • Land is a French Canadian from Québec, so Aronnax treats him like a Frenchman… and the two men chat. Aronnax likes listening to his tales of adventure.
  • Land doesn't think much of Aronnax's giant sea unicorn theory, but he prefers not to talk about it.
  • On July 30, three weeks after leaving port, they find themselves off the coast of Argentina. Aronnax decides to ask Ned directly about his opinion regarding the whole sea monster thing.
  • Ned tells him that, really, there's no way an animal could have pierced the side of a metal ship. Aronnax attempts to convince him with scientific talk and "statistics," but Ned remains skeptical.
  • In the end, Aronnax just reassures himself, while Ned's mind remains unchanged.

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