Study Guide

Around the World in Eighty Days Exploration

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"The world has grown smaller, since a man can now go round it ten times more quickly than a hundred years ago." (3.7)

Sometimes getting cozy in a smaller space is good, but when we're talking about the entire world, do we really want to be that close? Debate that with the Reform club.

"Heaven preserve me! But I would wager four thousand pounds that such a journey, made under these conditions, is impossible." (3.9)

They (a.k.a. rich white European dudes) said the same about climbing Mt. Everest, you know. But Phileas Fogg is bound to prove to his cronies at the Reform club that exploring the world at a rapid pace will prove quite lucrative.

But the Red Sea is full of caprice, and often boisterous, like most long and narrow gulfs. When the wind came from the African or Asian coast, the Mongolia, with her long hull, rolled fearfully. (9.2)

Sea travel, much like any kind of travel, can be most unpredictable. But Phileas Fogg always seems to take this in stride. Maybe he has King Triton on a direct line or something.

He was quite ignorant that it is forbidden to Christians to enter certain temples, and that even the faithful must not go in without first leaving their shoes outside the door. (10.11)

And then there's that pesky problem of different countries having different cultures and customs. Maybe ignorance really isn't bliss… Poor Passepartout should have read up on Indian customs before blundering around in Bangladesh.

The agile Frenchman was soon upon his feet again, and lost no time in knocking down two of his long-gowned adversaries with his fists and a vigorous application of his toes […]. (10.12)

What's an adventure without a little fistfight now and then? Wait—is it okay for Passepartout to hit a priest? Note to selves: Brass knuckles may come in handy while exploring.

Phileas Fogg and Sir Francis Cromarty, plunged to the neck in the peculiar howdahs provided for them, were horribly jostled by the swift trotting of the elephant, spurred on as he was by the skillful Parsee; but they endured the discomfort with true British phlegm. (11.2)

When the adventurers' train breaks down, it seems the only way to traverse the Indian jungle is to hang off the side of an elephant in a basket. How… comfortable?

It was thereabouts that Feringhea, the Thuggee chief, king of the stranglers, held his sway. These ruffians, united by a secret bond, strangled victims of every age in honor of the goddess Death, without ever shedding blood; there was a period when this part of the country could scarcely be travelled over without corpses being found in every direction. (11.9)

Phileas needs to hurry that elephant up through the jungles of India. On a totally different note, Thuggee and the Stranglers might make an amazing band name.

"Not at all; but I knew that some obstacle or other would sooner or later arise on my route." (11.16)

A prepared adventurer is a much more successful adventurer. Nothing like well-equipped exploring.

In ten minutes several revolver-shots could be exchanged. (29.12)

Defending oneself on an adventure is definitely key to making sure you make it home (outside of a coffin-shaped box). But defending your honor with pistols? We're thinking Phileas Fogg and Colonel Proctor could've just played Rock-Paper-Scissors.

The Sioux had at the same time invaded the cars, skipping like enraged monkeys over the roofs, thrusting open the doors, and fighting hand to hand with the passengers. (29.25)

On the way to Fort Kearney, Fogg and company are onboard a train that is jumped by Sioux Indians. Comparing the Sioux people to monkeys is super racist, as is failing to appreciate why they might not be thrilled to have railroads being built through their land. Around the World in Eighty Days is definitely a product of its times… oof.

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