Study Guide

Around the World in Eighty Days Happiness

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Is Phileas Fogg a happy person? He says he is. He's happy going to his club, reading the newspaper, and having his servant set out his clothes; he's happy not being bothered by anyone or anything.

Shmoop calls shenanigans.

No one can be happy doing that—it's so boring. Maybe that's why secretly, deep down, Phileas is "happy" to be going on an adventure. It certainly didn't take him long to accept a wacko wager that involves spending his entire fortune speeding around the world.

Maybe we're just a bunch of optimists looking at this whole thing through rose-colored glasses, but we're happy Phileas has found some friends and is having a good time rescuing, dueling, and being generally courageous. Could there be a small fire of happiness burning in that deeply buried beating thing Phileas calls a heart? We bet you a game of whist that there is.

Phileas Fogg gets what he's looking for at the end of Around the World in Eighty Days, and it's not another wad of banknotes. Through all the adventures and misadventures, he slowly understands that there are people out there he can count on and who count on him in return. It's sort of a warm, fuzzy feeling, though he'd never let that feeling show.

Questions About Happiness

  1. How does the theme of happiness tie into all the other themes in the book?
  2. Do the things required for being a gentleman secure happiness? Why or why not? Back your claim up with evidence from the text.
  3. Does money really buy happiness? Why or why not? Use examples from the book to prove your point.
  4. Can happiness exist between people who are extremely different? Pick two characters from the book to make your case.

Chew on This

Money can't buy happiness in this book.

Money can totally buy happiness in this book.

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