Study Guide

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Part 1 Chapter 9

By Jules Verne

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Part 1 Chapter 9

Ned Land's Fits of Anger

  • Aronnax wakes up after sleeping for who knows how long. His buddies are still passed out.
  • Looking around the cell, he realizes that, though the door remains locked, the steward has been back to clear the table.
  • He feels short of breath, and figures that the oxygen levels in the room (and the submarine more generally) are getting a bit low.
  • This gets Aronnax's mind racing. He doesn't want to suffocate, you know? And he's got a scientific mind, so he wonders how and when the air is going to be replenished. Then, all of a sudden, fresh air comes rushing into the chamber. Turns out there's a slot where the air can get in right over the door.
  • Ned and Conseil wake up. Aronnax explains what has just happened. They all agree that they've been asleep for around twenty-four hours and boy, are they hungry.
  • They begin to argue about the best course of action. Conseil and Aronnax both want to wait and see what happens; Ned wants to get off the sub as quickly as possible. He begins to talk of escape.
  • Aronnax and Conseil want none of this escape business. C'mon, they're underwater, they reason. Escape isn't a super viable option ATM.
  • Well, Ned says, if you're going to dash my dreams of escape, then maybe we should try something else. Like, taking over the vessel. Aronnax and Conseil find this suggestion equally frightening.
  • Aronnax makes Ned promise to chill out, at least for a while, and see how things go. Ned agrees.
  • Still, the longer they wait in the cell, the angrier (and hungrier) Ned gets. It's okay, Ned, we understand; we get angry when we're really hungry too. Or shall we say hangry.
  • Aronnax begins to fear that they're going to be left to rot. Conseil remains calm, as usual. Man, this dude's unflappable attitude in the face of immanent danger is starting to grate on our nerves.
  • Finally, something happens: there are footsteps outside, and they can hear the slide of bolts. The door opens, and the steward comes back.
  • Ned jumps on him, grabbing him by the throat. Conseil jumps on Ned and tries to pull him away.
  • The mysterious "captain" enters the room. Using French, he tells Ned to simma down nah, and the professor to listen up.

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