Around the World in Eighty Days Study Guide

Around the World in Eighty Days

Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

A classic novel, Around the World in Eighty Days tells the story of English gentleman Fogg who, on a bet, attempts to circumnavigate the globe in just eighty days. Accompanied by his valet Passepartout, Fogg encounters many unexpected obstacles, including being mistaken for a criminal and having to rescue a woman from a human sacrifice ritual. Fogg eventually makes his journey with a day to spare in this story of daring and adventure.

Around the World in Eighty Days Book Summary

The story starts in London on Tuesday, October 1, 1872.

Phileas Fogg is a rich British gentleman living in solitude. Despite his wealth, Fogg lives a modest life with habits carried out with mathematical precision. Very little can be said about his social life other than that he is a member of the Reform Club. Having dismissed his former valet, James Forster, for bringing him shaving water at 84°F (29 °C) instead of 86 °F (30 °C), Fogg hires a Frenchman by the name of Jean Passepartout as a replacement.

At the Reform Club, Fogg gets involved in an argument over an article in The Daily Telegraph stating that with the opening of a new railway section in India, it is now possible to travel around the world in 80 days. He accepts a wager for£20,000 (equal to about £1.6 million in 2015) from his fellow club members to complete such a journey within this time period. Accompanied by Passepartout, Fogg departs from London by train at 8:45 P.M. on October 2; in order to win the wager, he must return to the club by this same time on December 21, 80 days later.

Fogg and Passepartout reach Suez in time. While disembarking in Egypt, they are watched by a Scotland Yard detective named Fix, who has been dispatched from London in search of a bank robber. Because Fogg matches the vague description of the robber, Fix mistakes Fogg for the criminal. Since he cannot secure a warrant in time, Fix boards the steamer (the Mongolia ) conveying the travellers to Bombay. Fix becomes acquainted with Passepartout without revealing his purpose. Fogg promises the steamer engineer a large reward if he gets them to Bombay early. They dock two days ahead of schedule.

After reaching India they take a train from Bombay to Calcutta. Fogg learns that the Daily Telegraph article was wrong—the railroad ends at Kholby and starts again 50 miles further on at Allahabad. Fogg buys an elephant, hires a guide, and starts toward Allahabad.

They come across a procession in which a young Indian woman, Aouda, is led to a sanctuary to be sacrificed by suttee the next day by Brahmins. Since the young woman is drugged with opium and hemp and is obviously not going voluntarily, the travellers decide to rescue her. They follow the procession to the site, where Passepartout takes the place of Aouda's deceased husband on the funeral pyre on which she is to be burned. During the ceremony he rises from the pyre, scaring off the priests, and carries the young woman away. The twelve hours gained earlier are lost, but Fogg shows no regret.

The travellers hasten to catch the train at the next railway station, taking Aouda with them. At Calcutta, they board a steamer (the Rangoon ) going to Hong Kong. Fix has Fogg and Passepartout arrested. They jump bail and Fix follows them to Hong Kong. He shows himself to Passepartout, who is delighted to again meet his travelling companion from the earlier voyage.

In Hong Kong, it turns out that Aouda's distant relative, in whose care they had been planning to leave her, has moved to Holland, so they decide to take her with them to Europe. Still without a warrant, Fix sees Hong Kong as his last chance to arrest Fogg on British soil. Passepartout becomes convinced that Fix is a spy from the Reform Club. Fix confides in Passepartout, who does not believe a word and remains convinced that his master is not a bank robber. To prevent Passepartout from informing his master about the premature departure of their next vessel, the Carnatic , Fix gets Passepartout drunk and drugs him in an opium den. Passepartout still manages to catch the steamer to Yokohama, but neglects to inform Fogg that the steamer is leaving the evening before its scheduled departure date.

Fogg discovers that he missed his connection. He searches for a vessel that will take him to Yokohama, finding a pilot boat, the Tankadere , that takes him and Aouda to Shanghai, where they catch a steamer to Yokohama. In Yokohama, they search for Passepartout, believing that he may have arrived there on the Carnatic as originally planned. They find him in a circus, trying to earn the fare for his homeward journey. Reunited, the four board a paddle-steamer, the General Grant , taking them across the Pacific to San Francisco. Fix promises Passepartout that now, having left British soil, he will no longer try to delay Fogg's journey, but support him in getting back to Britain to he can arrest Fogg in Britain itself.

In San Francisco they board a transcontinental train to New York, encountering a number of obstacles along the way: a massive herd of bison crossing the tracks, a failing suspension bridge, and the train being attacked by Sioux warriors. After uncoupling the locomotive from the carriages, Passepartout is kidnapped by the Indians, but Fogg rescues him after American soldiers volunteer to help. They continue by a wind powered sledge to Omaha, where they get a train to New York.

In New York, having missed the sailing of their ship, the China , Fogg starts looking for an alternative to cross the Atlantic Ocean. He finds a steamboat, the Henrietta , destined for Bordeaux, France. The captain of the boat refuses to take the company to Liverpool, whereupon Fogg consents to be taken to Bordeaux for $2000 (roughly $39,869 today) per passenger. He then bribes the crew to mutiny and make course for Liverpool. Against hurricane winds and going on full steam, the boat runs out of fuel after a few days. Fogg buys the boat from the captain and has the crew burn all the wooden parts to keep up the steam.

The companions arrive at Queenstown (Cobh), Ireland, take the train to Dublin and then a ferry to Liverpool, still in time to reach London before the deadline. Once on English soil, Fix produces a warrant and arrests Fogg. A short time later, the misunderstanding is cleared up—the actual robber (James Strand) was caught three days earlier in Edinburgh. However, Fogg has missed the train and arrives in London five minutes late, certain he has lost the wager.

The following day Fogg apologises to Aouda for bringing her with him, since he now has to live in poverty and cannot support her. Aouda confesses that she loves him and asks him to marry her. As Passepartout notifies a minister, he learns that he is mistaken in the date - it is not December 22, but December 21. Because the party had travelled eastward, they gained one day upon crossing the International Date Line. Passepartout informs Fogg of his mistake, and Fogg hurries to the Reform Club just in time to meet his deadline and win the wager. Having already spent the bulk of the£20,000 during the journey, he divides the remaining money between Passepartout and Fix and marries Aouda.

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