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Around the World in Eighty Days | Chapter 24 : During which the crossing of the Pacific Ocean takes place | Summary

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Summary

As Phileas Fogg, Mrs. Aouda, and Passepartout cross the Pacific Ocean on the General Grant, Mrs. Aouda explains how they made it to Yokohama. She tells Passepartout, who has become her friend, about hiring the Tankadère after missing the Carnatic and about meeting up with a Yokohama-bound steamship in Shanghai. She mentions they traveled with an Englishman named Fix, who had also missed the Carnatic. At the mention of Fix's name, Passepartout shows no emotion because he does not want to explain his association with the duplicitous policeman. Mrs. Aouda tells him once they reached Yokohama, Fogg found the Carnatic and was told Passepartout had been on board. As they searched the city for him, they, too, saw the advertisement for the acrobatic troupe, and "chance or a sort of premonition" led them there, where Passepartout saw them.

Fix is also on the General Grant, but he's hiding from Passepartout, who will certainly tell Fogg that Fix is a detective if he's discovered. He has the warrant for Phileas Fogg's arrest, but it is invalid now that they are on their way to America. He plans to stick close to Phileas Fogg and arrest him when he steps foot back on English soil. When Passepartout and Fix accidentally run into each other at the fore of the ship, Passepartout gives Fix a beating. Afterward, Fix promises not to create any more obstacles for Fogg but warns Passepartout he will find out if Fogg is a "criminal or an honest man" once they are back in England. Passepartout agrees to respect the policeman's authority, but he refuses to call him a friend. He threatens to wring Fix's neck "at the slightest hint of treachery." The General Grant arrives in San Francisco on December 3. Fogg has 18 days to reach London.

Analysis

On the ninth day of the voyage from Yokohama to San Francisco, the General Grant crosses the International Date Line, the 180th meridian, located at approximately the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Although Fogg has only 28 days left, he doesn't have to follow such a circuitous route like he did in the Mideast and Asian countries. If all goes well, a direct route between California and London will allow him to cover the 17,500 miles in the time left.

Passepartout is thrilled to see that his chronometer and the ship's clocks now report exactly the same time, proving the sun is wrong like he told Fix in Egypt. His watch only shows 12 hours, though, and not 24, like the approximately 24 time zones; most are 60 minutes long, but a few vary between 30 and 45 minutes, creating more time changes. This is a crucial discovery since at the point when he checks his watch, it is actually 12 hours slower than in London. On the plus side, when Phileas Fogg, Mrs. Aouda, and Passepartout cross the Prime Meridian at zero degrees longitude in Greenwich, England, they will gain a day because they are traveling west to east, against the sun, a fact that is crucial to the wager's resolution. Even with his mathematically precise calculations, Fogg is not aware of this fact because different countries choose the prime median location for their maps. Countries will not collectively agree on Greenwich, England, as the Prime Meridian until 1884.

Passepartout beats up Fix when they meet on the deck of the General Grant but accepts the man's humility and agrees to listen to his plans regarding Phileas Fogg. Fix explains he is now intent on Fogg's return to England and says he will do everything in his power to make this a reality. He never admits his intentions are due to the dwindling reward money nor does he clarify his plans to arrest Fogg once in England. Trusting and forgiving like his employer is to him, Passepartout agrees to be the detective's ally but never his friend. Mrs. Aouda also shares the same faith in logic as Fogg and Passepartout do, but like the valet, she still worries about what obstacles might threaten Fogg's success. She praises Fogg's continued emotional and monetary benevolence, and Passepartout is convinced she loves Fogg.

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