Around the World in Eighty Days | Study Guide

Jules Verne

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Around the World in Eighty Days | Chapter 21 : Where the skipper of the Tankadère is in serious danger of losing a £200 bonus | Summary

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Summary

For the first day and a half of the voyage, the weather favors the Tankadère. Fix feels contemptible for accepting Phileas Fogg's offer of a room and food but is still convinced Fogg is a criminal. The morning of the second day, the weather ushers in a typhoon. Fortunately, the storm comes from the south and its heavy winds push the Tankadère north, toward Shanghai. The storm wallops the boat. Finally, the winds slacken so considerably they threaten to keep Fogg from making his connection that evening. They are just three miles from their destination when they see the steamer for Yokohama heading out to sea. Fogg orders Captain Bunsby to lower the flag halfmast, a distress signal, and to fire a cannon volley to signal the steamship.

Analysis

Although Phileas Fogg's past remains a mystery, there are pointed clues in Chapter 21. Fogg's posture on the deck of the Tankadère in the windy seas is unyielding and rigid "like a seasoned sailor." Fogg knows the difference between winds from the north or the south and how they affect the speed of a schooner. He never fears the storms he encounters at sea, and he doesn't dread the typhoon lashing the Tankadère: "Phileas Fogg ... made it look as if the typhoon had been a part of his plan." These are all clues about Phileas Fogg's past. Unlike geography, which is possible to learn in the Reform Club library, the ins and outs of sailing must be learned by experience.

Again, Phileas Fogg is portrayed as calm, fearless, and heroic, and his wealth also proves useful again; the sailors work extra hard to get Phileas Fogg to Shanghai because he has promised them bonuses. Less noticeable is the escalating romance between Phileas Fogg and Mrs. Aouda in this chapter, where he must, "on more than one occasion ... rush towards her to protect her from the violence of the waves." The narrative stays focused on adventure, Phileas Fogg's unwavering faith in his decisions, and money instead of the budding romance.

Fix shows no gratitude when Fogg accepts him without question. He grumbles about the storm and his discomfort. Fix's personality is completely opposite Mrs. Aouda's and her sincere appreciation for Fogg's largesse and sacrifice and Passepartout's unwavering loyalty for his employer.

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