Study Guide

Around the World in Eighty Days Summary

By Jules Verne

Around the World in Eighty Days Summary

Phileas Fogg never misses a beat (we're talking seconds on the clock here rather than moves on the dance floor). He's punctual, practical, and more than a bit obsessed with Father Time. Being a lonely bachelor in an old mansion in London doesn't seem to bother him, though. With the peace and quiet he is able to contemplate the more important things in life, like having his shaving water brought to him at the exact same temperature each day, or calculating precisely how many steps there are between his gentleman's club and his front door. Yeah… awesome…

OCD aside, Phileas Fogg has two passions: playing whist and being right. So when a debate between his homies at the club arises about how long it would take to travel around the world, he dismissively states that of course it could be accomplished in eighty days. With much scoffing and bwa-ha-ha-ing, his friends politely tell him he's off his rocker. It's 1872 after all. But Phileas sets down a bet and calls them out. He wagers 20,000 pounds (his entire fortune) that he can do it. And because rich dudes in London have nothing better to do, they all agree to the bet.

Meanwhile, a suspicious looking "gentleman" has robbed the Bank of England. Oddly enough, he kind of sort of looks like Phileas Fogg—oh, and he has that reserved, subdued quality which totally identifies him as a gentleman. Hmm… now said gentleman is looking to quickly leave the country. Detective Fix, a police officer from Scotland Yard (like the British FBI) is now on the case to pursue and arrest Phileas Fogg for burglary, but he has to catch him first.

Phileas and his newly hired servant, Passepartout, leave that night with Detective Fix slyly following them. The adventure continues as Passepartout makes constant goof-ups, they stop to help an Indian princess in distress, and Fogg duels with an American colonel, all the while barely evading Detective Fix.

It's around the world at Warp Tour speed as Phileas Fogg stops at nothing to make it back home in time. He's down to use everything from ships, trains, an elephant, or a sailing sled to get them to the right place at the right time. His calm, logical, gentlemanly demeanor never freaks out or fusses over the many delays, inconveniences, and dangerous modes of travel.

Fix is able to arrest Fogg at the worst possible moment, and now it's way too late to collect on the bet. Instead of jumping off a bridge, Phileas agrees to get hitched to his Indian Princess friend—so maybe this isn't the end of the world as he had previously thought.

But Passepartout realizes something: Phileas Fogg, the most punctual man in the world, did not account for the time gained by traveling eastward. So they still have time to win a bet.

Phileas Fogg storms his club and astonishes his cronies by making the journey around the world, just like he said. But what he's most happy about (other than becoming filthy rich again) is finding someone to love and who loves him back.