Study Guide

Around the World in Eighty Days Narrator Point of View

By Jules Verne

Narrator Point of View

Third Person (Omniscient)

Around the World in Eighty Days is definitely a story about Phileas Fogg, but Jules Verne's involvement as narrator almost makes him one of the characters. We see many things from Phileas Fogg's point of view, and even more from Passepartout's, but Verne likes to weave in and out of other characters' heads, too, such as Aouda's and Detective Fix's.

At times, Verne even talks directly to the reader, giving us insight, tidbits of information and descriptions, as well as jokes:

The reader will remember that at five minutes past eight in the evening—about five and twenty hours after the arrival of the travellers in London—Passepartout had been sent by his master to engage the services of the Reverend Samuel Wilson in a certain marriage ceremony, which was to take place the next day. (37.1)

By switching from one character's mind to another, we're able to both grasp the why and how of the bad guy, the inner determination and character of the good guys, and still have room for a plot twist or two thanks to our narrator speaking directly to us. At times, Verne does all three within the same paragraph:

Phileas Fogg was in prison. He had been shut up in the Custom House, and he was to be transferred to London the next day. Passepartout, when he saw his master arrested, would have fallen upon Fix, had he not been held back by some policeman. Aouda was thunderstruck at the suddenness of an event which she could not understand…the young woman's heart revolted against so heinous a charge, and when she saw that she could attempt or do nothing to save her protector, wept bitterly. As for Fix, he had arrested Mr. Fogg because it was his duty, whether Mr. Fogg were guilty or not. (34.1)

Can we get a group discount on point of view here? We've got direct reader connection by telling us Phileas is in jail, Passepartout's majorly ticked off, Aouda's super sad, and Fix is dwelling on duty. We think that just about covers it, and we didn't even have a Groupon.