"Truly, would you not for less than that make the tour around the world?" (37.14). Well, when you put it like that, Jules Verne—heck yeah, we would.
The ending of the novel goes from warp speed to ludicrous speed in just three chapters:
- Sad Face: Phileas Fogg is in jail. He's been wrongfully accused of bank robbery, and then he literally misses the train to winning his bet.
- Happy Face: Aouda tells Fogg she loves him and wants to marry him. "Okay," says Fogg. "I accept."
- Sad Face: They're poor.
- Happy Face: Being poor doesn't matter when you're in love—Passepartout is off to get the preacher.
- Sad Face: Preachers don't work on Saturdays.
- Happy Face: That means they're actually a day early. And that means they won the bet. Hurray.
Okay, so maybe that's the ridiculous, ludicrous speed version of the ending, but you get the drift. Fate saves Phileas Fogg at the end of the novel, and this is the point Jules Verne has been waiting to drive home the whole time.
For a man who calculates every single second of his existence and purports to foresee all that is to occur, Phileas Fogg totally misses the mark on everything that happens in the ending. For once, other people in his life take charge: Aouda proposes marriage to him and is the first to confess her love; Passepartout realizes they've reached their destination on time and shoves Fogg in a carriage in order to get him to the club to collect the bet.
In the end, then, fate plays a role in a world constantly bombarded with technology, change, science, and mathematics. Verne uses the ending of Around the World in Eighty Days to show that life holds a bit more than we think; not everything can be calculated precisely. Sometimes it's the human relationships that define us and help us win.