Around the World in Eighty Days | Study Guide

Jules Verne

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Around the World in Eighty Days | Chapter 34 : Which provides Passepartout with the opportunity to make an appalling but perhaps original play on words | Summary



With Phileas Fogg in prison in Liverpool only hours before the wager's deadline, Passepartout blames himself for not exposing Fix's identity earlier, which would have given Fogg time to prove his innocence. Mrs. Aouda refuses to believe Fogg is a thief. The eternally impassive Phileas Fogg sits in his cell, staring at the time passing on his watch. At 2:33 Fix, Passepartout, and Mrs. Aouda rush toward Fogg's jail cell door, and moments later Fogg is freed. They explain that the real thief had been arrested three days earlier. Once released, Fogg, using both of his fists, punches Fix in the face and then hires a special train to speed him to London. They arrive at the station at 8:50 p.m. on December 21, five minutes past the deadline.


Throughout the novel Phileas Fogg demonstrates almost supernatural serenity in the face of obstacles—no matter how insurmountable they seem. Considering he is imprisoned just over nine hours before his deadline, now is the perfect time for that implacable attitude to crack. But it doesn't. He passes the time staring at the hands on his watch as time ticks away. Only once does he walk around his cell. Passepartout is as overly emotional as Fogg is stoic. Guilt for financially ruining Fogg and for withholding Fix's true identity tears him apart. He breaks into sobs and would beat himself up if he could. Mrs. Aouda never wavers in her belief Fogg is an honest man. When he is finally freed, Fogg shows his feelings through his actions, not words—he punches Fix in the face then calmly turns and hails a cab to the train station. His composure under pressure does not reward him this time. He arrives in London five minutes late. Realizing he has lost the wager, he doesn't bother going to the Reform Club and heads home.

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