Study Guide

Around the World in Eighty Days Plot Analysis

By Jules Verne

Plot Analysis

Exposition

In which a man with a gambling problem takes a bet

One day in London 1872, Phileas Fogg, confirmed bachelor with OCD, is playing whist in his club with several dudes. Phileas bets that he could totally go around the world in eighty days because, you know, technology and stuff. The dudes with nothing better to do accept, and Phileas leaves with his newly hired French servant, Passepartout, right away. We've got character personas for our two main men, and a formation of the main conflict right before our eyes. We're betting you can't resist finding out more. Are we right?

Rising Action

In which Phileas Fogg might be a robber, a gentleman, or an unassuming adrenaline junkie

Phileas's travel plans go smoothly except for some minor glitches like Passepartout getting mugged in a Hindu temple by some priests, a major railway turning out to be incomplete, a dead rajah trying to burn an Indian princess, his servant getting drugged, missing a steam ship, Sioux Indians attacking his train, a hurricane almost destroying his boat—yeah, there's no end of conflict for Phileas Fogg. Good thing he has a positive attitude.

Oh yeah, and Phileas sort of looks like a "gentleman" who robbed the Bank of England just a few days ago. Detective Fix of Scotland Yard is on the case—and as he follows Phileas around the world, Fix and his suspicions constantly get in the way of Fogg's journey.

Climax

In which even OCD can't save you

Poor Phileas Fogg… When he reaches English soil again, Fix is finally able to arrest him. Getting arrested while in the home stretch is like being able to smell the finish line but not being able to cross it. Smells like defeat, doesn't it? It sure does to Phileas.

In Which Fogg gets a get out of jail free card

Hold up… As it turns out, Fogg is totally innocent. "Yeah, sorry about that," says Detective Fix. And our characters try to hop a train to London while there's still time.

Falling Action

In which we find love instead of money

Alas, the train to London has left the station. Man—so close. Time to go home and be depressed. Not so fast, though: Phileas's girlfriend proposes marriage to him. So while it seems he's lost a ton of money, at least he's come into love. Time to get the preacher, Passepartout.

Resolution

In which the time warp proves to be a day early

Say what? It's Sunday, not Monday? Passepartout saves the day by realizing they actually had a day to spare and Phileas shows up in time to collect on his gambling winnings. It's been a pretty profitable experience, and it only took going around the world to find the answers.