Study Guide

Jean Passepartout in Around the World in Eighty Days

By Jules Verne

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Jean Passepartout

Humor Us

Have you read up on Phileas Fogg yet? If not, hop on over to his page in this section and then hustle right back. We'll wait right here.

Okay. Ready? Let's step into The Bachelorette's shoes, grab a single red rose, and check out Passepartout to see if he's worthy.

See, maybe we're not too keen on a guy who hides his emotions (ahem, Phileas). Maybe we want more of a Captain Kirk than a Mr. Spock—someone with an appreciation for world culture and nature, and with a sense of humor, too, who can show us a good time.

We're thinking Phileas Fogg's servant, Passepartout, might be more our style. In 1872, rich gentlemen would employ a servant called a valet to help them with daily tasks such as setting out their clothes, securing dinner reservations, and other things—sort of like a glorified secretary. Often a gentleman and his valet would become quite close, brothers from another mother, of sorts. But this valet is more than just a "Jennings, fetch me my shirt," sort of guy, and we at Shmoop are totally crushing on him.

P or F?

Passepartout is everything Phileas Fogg is not. He's clumsy, funny, and French. He tells Phileas Fogg that he has decided to become a valet in order to restore some peace and quiet to his hectic life, "Finding myself out of place, and hearing that Monsieur Phileas Fogg was the most exact and settled gentleman in the United Kingdom, I have come to monsieur in the hope of living with him a tranquil life, and forgetting even the name of Passepartout" (1.11). Phileas and his crazy methodical ways seem like the perfect fit for the foxy Frenchman. Passepartout just wants a master he can look up to, one who won't be late for dinner.

Boy, is he wrong.

Getting dragged around the world at first seems like a joke. Phileas Fogg can't actually be that crazy, can he? Yup, he can.

Loyal, trustworthy, and kind, Passepartout is definitely the BFF Phileas needs in all this galloping from country to country—but that's not to say that Passepartout is the ultimate companion. Fun fact: He's incredibly gullible. Getting doped on opium, losing his shoes in a Hindu temple, and befriending a detective who's trying to put his master in jail are just a few of Passepartout's epic mess-ups.

On the plus side, he's just as daring and brave as his master. It's his idea to hire the elephant to take them through the Indian jungle, and his brilliant plan saves Aouda from being burnt on a funeral pyre. Passepartout's also the one trusted to grab the reverend for Fogg and Aouda's marriage. By doing this he's the one (not the methodical and calculating Fogg) to figure out the time differential so Phileas can score on his bet in the end.

Passepartout is definitely a contrast to the dark, contemplative Phileas Fogg, but we like him just the same (if not a little bit more). He's not afraid to mess up, and he's equally unafraid to say he's sorry. We have ourselves a difficult choice here: Phileas or Passepartout? Who should get the rose? Oh wait; there's one more thing Passepartout has going for him: He's French. Yeah, 'nuff said—the rose is all his.

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