Study Guide

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Part 2 Chapter 3

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Part 2 Chapter 3

A Pearl Worth Ten Million

  • That night, Aronnax dreams of sharks.
  • Soon enough, he and his companions are rowed out to a suitable spot, dressed up in their diving suits, and dropped into the water.
  • As for weapons, all they get are daggers. Oh, and Ned brings his harpoon.
  • They make their way to the oyster beds, admiring the sea-life along the way.
  • Nemo doesn't stop, though. They continue past piles of rocks into a grotto (an underwater cave).
  • Inside the cave is a huge oyster. Aronnax thinks it weighs about six hundred pounds.
  • Nemo pries open the oyster and shows off the pearl, which is about the size of a small coconut, and perfectly formed.
  • Aronnax realizes that Nemo's been "feeding" the oyster, letting it get bigger and bigger, waiting for the right moment to pluck it out.
  • Now they head back to the oyster beds and go for a little walk. They don't have anything better to do than stroll, after all.
  • Out of nowhere, a shadow appears. It's a man—an Indian—trying to get a head-start on the oyster season. He doesn't notice Aronnax or the others.
  • Now comes another surprise: a shark.
  • Aronnax freezes in place.
  • When the shark goes for the Indian diver, Nemo jumps in to attack it, and manages to stab it in the belly.
  • The shark keeps coming. It looks like it's about to take down Nemo when Ned intervenes with his big old harpoon. The shark is pierced in the heart and dies.
  • Nemo runs (swims?) to help the Indian, who had been knocked unconscious by the shark, and brings him back to his boat.
  • When he wakes up, Nemo hands the Indian a big string of pearls and sends him off.
  • Nemo and company make their way back to the boat and remove their suits.
  • Nemo thanks Ned; Ned tells him that he owed the captain one.
  • As they head back to the Nautilus, a bunch of sharks come and munch on the body of their dead shark-friend.
  • Aronnax is amazed that Nemo actually showed compassion to another human being; he tells Nemo this.
  • Nemo tells him, "That Indian, doctor, is the inhabitant of an oppressed country. I am his compatriot, and shall remain so to my very last breath!" (2.3.89).

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