Around the World in Eighty Days | Study Guide

Jules Verne

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Around the World in Eighty Days | Chapter 19 : Where Passepartout takes too keen an interest in his master and what that leads to | Summary



Passepartout heads toward the port to secure three cabins on the Carnatic for the next leg of their journey, and on his way runs into Fix. He isn't surprised to learn Fix is heading toward Yokohama, too. When Fix and Passepartout book their rooms, they find out the boilers are repaired and the ship will leave that evening instead of in the morning. Before Passepartout has a chance to inform Fogg about the ship's early departure, Fix convinces Passepartout to stop for a drink at a tavern, which also happens to be an opium den. During their conversation about Phileas Fogg's wager, Fix is surprised to discover Passepartout actually believes Fix is a spy for the Reform Club members. He explains he is a detective and Phileas Fogg is suspected of robbing the Bank of England for £55,000. The detective alleges Fogg is using the trip as a ruse to avoid arrest. Fix wants Passepartout to delay his boss until the arrest warrant arrives, but Passepartout refuses, declaring Phileas Fogg is a man of honor and would never rob a bank, and even if he did, he would not betray him. Fix takes advantage of Passepartout's drunkenness by offering him opium, which he puffs. Now, passed out, Passepartout isn't able to inform Fogg about the early ship departure.


Because of his focus on the reward and his reputation, Fix doesn't give readers much reason to be sympathetic toward him or to respect him. In literature many detectives have flaws, but most are not as self-serving as Fix. Author Agatha Christie's famous character Hercule Poirot exhibits a major ego but a warm heart. Columbo, the detective in the television series with the same name, which ran sporadically from 1968–2003, has style and the uncanny ability to put a suspect at ease right before pinioning him with his own guilt. Some characters, such as Meursault in Albert Camus's The Stranger and Randal Patrick McMurphy in Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, reveal insensitive character traits but still kindle readers' empathy. When Passepartout rejects the accusation Phileas Fogg is a robber, which could ruin Fix's chance to keep Fogg in Hong Kong until the arrest warrant arrives, Fix comes close to criminality himself. He coerces Passepartout to drink so much alcohol he doesn't realize Fix has also slipped him a pipe of opium. Fix's deviousness, selfishness, and manipulation demonstrate his lack of compassion.

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