Ever wonder what makes the perfect gentleman? Opening car doors for ladies, saving puppies trapped in the rain, wearing a tux with an impeccably tied bow tie? In Jules Verne's time (the mid-to-late 1800s) if you wanted to be considered a gentleman you had to have a few things: money, a title, a good reputation, and a bit of real estate. There's more, but Shmoop's giving you the short-short version.
Phileas Fogg is a gentleman—mind blowing, we know—and throughout Around the World in Eighty Days, we see him live up to the reputation of a gentleman while also doing some things that might tarnish that image. He pulls through with his reputation intact thanks to being rich, handsome, intelligent, well-mannered, punctual, and determined.
Fogg isn't the only one wowing on the respect and reputation front, and as a servant, Passepartout is expected to behave with respect, though there's no guarantee he'll be given respect in return. So it went when you were lower on the social ladder in Victorian times.
Questions About Respect and Reputation
- How are reputations born and raised in this book? What is Phileas Fogg's reputation and how does he preserve it? How about Passepartout's?
- Should a gentleman be stalwart, brave, and unemotional—or is there room for some sap and feelings? Give evidence from the text to support your answer.
- How do Passepartout and Detective Fix earn the respect of Phileas Fogg?
- According to this book, what kind of life should a gentleman lead?
Chew on This
Phileas Fogg is a gentleman because he has money and connections in high places.
Violence is only one way that honor can be restored.