Around the World in Eighty Days | Study Guide

Jules Verne

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Around the World in Eighty Days | Chapter 15 : Where the bag of banknotes becomes another several thousand pounds lighter | Summary

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Summary

As soon as Phileas Fogg, Passepartout, and Mrs. Aouda arrive in Calcutta, Fogg and Passepartout are arrested and are given permission to bring Mrs. Aouda with them. Once secured in the prison, Fogg retains his usual composure, believing they will never be convicted for stopping a suttee, as it is an outlawed ceremony under British rule. Passepartout is fearful they will miss the steamer to Hong Kong, endangering Mrs. Aouda and the wager. Mrs. Aouda tells the men to leave her to her fate since she is the cause of their prosecution. When they are taken before Judge Obadiah, the men are astonished they have been arrested for Passepartout's sacrilege at the Bombay temple. Detective Fix set this whole procedure in motion by bribing the temple priests to pursue the case and act as witnesses at the trial. The two men are fined and sentenced to prison—Passepartout for breaking the law and Phileas Fogg for being responsible for his servant. Fix is ecstatic. He is sure the warrant for Phileas Fogg's arrest for the robbery charge will arrive while Fogg is serving his time. Fix's joy evaporates when Fogg posts bail for both himself and Passepartout, and they walk out of the courtroom free men.

Analysis

Fogg remains unaffected by yet another predicament, saying, "We'll be on board before twelve," certain they will make the boat to Hong Kong. Any wavering in his confidence would contradict his precise personality. Fogg's flat, static personality remains dominant until Chapter 12 and Mrs. Aouda's rescue. Each subsequent chapter adds depth to Fogg's character by revealing some chinks in his emotional armor, making him a sympathetic and empathetic character. This shows in his unfaltering decision to bail out Passepartout and himself without a care about the money it costs him. Money has never been important to Fogg. Although he coldly told Sir Cromarty he would have left Passepartout behind if the man had been arrested for his sacrilege in the Hindu temple, here he shows his humanity by standing with his valet. Fogg pays the inflated bail without a complaint or rebuke, proving he values his valet more than his finances.

Considering he found an elephant to transport him to his destination in a timely manner, escaped death at the hands of wrathful Brahmin priests, and avoided a jail sentence, readers have to be wondering if Fogg is the luckiest man in the world or if he is imbued with supernatural predictive powers. Detective Fix must be wondering the same thing since Fogg escaped arrest once again.

Fix, led by his unshakable belief Fogg is the thief and frustrated this criminal is spending the stolen money, he vows to, "follow him to the ends of the earth," before his reward dwindles into nothing. Fix's mercenary character is a direct contrast to Phileas Fogg's beneficence. Also, Passepartout, the inveterate worrier, fears they will not prevail. Their polar opposite characters add excitement to the plot.

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