Study Guide

Around the World in Eighty Days Chance

By Jules Verne

Chance

Everybody knows that England is the world of betting men, who are of a higher class than mere gamblers; to bet is in the English temperament. (5.6)

Oh really, Jules Verne? Wanna bet? (Sorry—bad joke. We couldn't resist.)

The trip was being accomplished most successfully, and Passepartout was enchanted with the congenial companion which chance had secured him in the person of the delightful Fix. (9.9)

Oh, Passepartout—he's so gullible. Is Detective Fix really on board the ship because of chance? Shmoop thinks he might be looking for someone in particular…

Looking at the matter from every point of view, it did not seem to him impossible that, by some mistake, the man might have embarked on the Carnatic at the last moment. (21.9)

Ever heard the saying, "May fortune favor the foolish"? We're keeping our fingers crossed for Passepartout. Phileas Fogg is counting on fate to get his servant to Yokohama… somehow.

So great had been the expense of his tour, that, even had he won, it would not have enriched him. (35.2)

What exactly are we talking about when we think of the word "enriched"? Phileas Fogg has spent nearly every penny of the reward money on travel expenses. But we're thinking he's been "enriched" in plenty of non-financial ways, all thanks to chance.

Mr. Fogg's course, however, was fully decided upon; he knew what remained for him to do. (35.3)

What role does fate play in this book? Phileas is such a calculated and deliberate man, and yet here we're told his course is "fully decided upon." Who is doing the deciding, though? Is it Phileas or someone or something else?

"Yes, madam; but circumstances have been against me. Still, I beg to place the little I have left at your service." (35.19)

Phileas Fogg, master planner extraordinaire, still has to leave it up to fate in the end—and in this case, fate is a woman named Aouda. Shortly after Phileas says this to her, she asks him to marry her.

"Even if we admit that fortune has favoured him, he can scarcely have reached America." (36.7)

It seems the bummed out members of the Reform club think that determination and perseverance can't possibly count for anything. Are they underestimating Phileas or are they underestimating the role that chance plays in his success?

"But if I had not crossed India, I should not have saved Aouda; she would not have been my wife and—" (37.12)

Funny how things tend to work out for a reason. Fogg stops to save Aouda from certain death purely by chance, and it workes out for him pretty well in the end.

"Mr. Fogg, this is a delay greatly to your disadvantage."

"No, Sir Francis, it was foreseen." (11.33)

Phileas says this a lot in the novel. Does he believe this at the end? Do you? Why or why not?

"I maintain," said Stuart, "that the chances are in favour of the thief, who must be a shrewd fellow." (3.14)

The logic here seems to be that the thief must be sharp, and so the odds are in his favor. On the flip side, a less "shrewd" thief might have worse chances.

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