Around the World in Eighty Days | Study Guide

Jules Verne

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Around the World in Eighty Days | Chapter 37 : In which it is proved that Phileas Fogg has gained nothing from this journey around the world, other than happiness | Summary

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Summary

At the parish priest's residence, Reverend Samuel Wilson tells Passepartout it is Saturday evening and not Sunday as the three travelers believe. Since they traveled against the sun, they gained four minutes an hour as they crossed each longitude line. By the end of their eastward trip, they gained a full 24 hours. Passepartout rushes from the minister's home, grabs Fogg, and hurries him into a cab, explaining the time-zone difference. Since they gained a day, Fogg is able to meet his deadline and win the wager. Although he wins £20,000, he had £19,000 in expenses. He divides the remaining money between Passepartout and Fix, for "whom he could feel no resentment."

Analysis

Although Phileas Fogg wins the bet, he has spent so much in expenses he comes out barely in the black. Still, the money was never his incentive. If ending up wealthier than when he began the trip had been his primary objective, he never would have so willingly spent nearly £20,000 of his own funds. An argument can be made he spent the vast sum merely to win the contest, but this ignores the money he expended to save Mrs. Aouda and to bail Passepartout out of three financial disasters. This doesn't even account for the the money Fogg spent paying Fix's travel expenses. If Fogg had kept to his mathematical precision, he surely would have found more budget-friendly solutions, like selling Kiouni the elephant, not paying an inflated sum to ransom Passepartout's shoes, leaving the stranger, Fix, to make his own travel plans, and not paying the soldiers to help him rescue Passepartout.

Fogg has always allowed decency, duty, and the power of friendship and love to overpower monetary greed, and Fogg's character is consistent throughout the journey. The story also remains true to the desired happy ending common in Victorian novels by suggesting Phileas Fogg's love for Mrs. Aouda and hers for him is the greatest reward.

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