Around the World in Eighty Days | Study Guide

Jules Verne

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Course Hero, "Around the World in Eighty Days Study Guide," May 17, 2017, accessed November 12, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Around-the-World-in-Eighty-Days/.

Around the World in Eighty Days | Plot Summary

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Summary

In Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days, time is of the essence for Phileas Fogg, the mysterious gentleman who lives on upscale Savile Row in London. Every clock in his house is coordinated to the same exact second. He is perennially calm—mentally, emotionally, and physically—and he is always prepared for any eventuality, avowing any circumstance can be solved with mathematical precision. Phileas Fogg repeats the same schedule every day: he leaves the house at 11:30 a.m.; spends his day reading, dining, and playing cards at the exclusive Reform Club; and returns home every evening at midnight. On the morning of October 2, 1872, Phileas Fogg fires his servant, James Forster, for heating Fogg's shaving water two degrees under the standard 86 degrees Fahrenheit. A Frenchman, Jean Passepartout, appears promptly for new employment, is hired, and sets to work as Phileas Fogg's new servant, and then Fogg leaves the house exactly at 11:30 a.m., as he always does.

On that same evening while at the Reform Club, Phileas Fogg overhears a conversation between his card-playing acquaintances about a recent robbery at the Bank of England. Three days earlier, a gentleman stole £55,000 and has since disappeared. Andrew Stuart, a fellow whist player, contends the thief will elude capture because the world is so vast with so many places for a criminal to hide. Phileas Fogg joins the conversation, saying simply, "That used to be true."

Phileas Fogg argues a man can now circumnavigate the world "in a mere 80 days." The men refer to the Morning Chronicle newspaper, which contains an article detailing how such a trip is possible. They agree transportation advancements make this timetable a possibility, but unforeseen circumstances, which make the trip improbable, must be considered. Phileas Fogg proposes a wager to prove his theory. He bets he will go around the world in 80 days, departing on the 8:45 p.m. train that evening and returning to the Reform Club on December 21 at 8:45 p.m. The five men accept his wager, each man betting £4,000; Phileas Fogg puts up £20,000—half of everything he has—for his side of the bet.

Passepartout, Phileas Fogg's brand new valet, is shocked when his employer returns home unexpectedly and orders him to pack for an around-the-world trip in 10 minutes to catch the train in an hour and 15 minutes. Passepartout scrambles to pack, and Phileas Fogg adds £20,000—all of his remaining money—to the bottom of the one small bag allotted for their journey. At the station, they board a train for Paris.

In Suez, Egypt, a detective from the London Metropolitan Police, Mr. Fix, paces the pier. He's waiting for the Mongolia steamship, which is likely carrying Phileas Fogg, to arrive. The investigator is convinced Phileas Fogg is the gentleman who robbed the Bank of England. Based on a generic description of the robber and Fogg's impulsive trip around the world, Fix thinks he has enough evidence to garner him an arrest and the substantial reward—£2,000 plus 5% of the recovered stolen money. When the Mongolia comes into port and Passepartout asks Fix for directions, the policeman engages the valet in conversation without revealing his identity. He interprets the gregarious Passepartout's comments as more evidence of Phileas Fogg's guilt and vows to follow the Englishman until he can arrest him legally, with a warrant.

During their journey from Bombay, India, to Calcutta, India, Passepartout has a scuffle with Hindu priests after he enters a temple while wearing shoes. They unexpectedly reach the end of the railroad line in Kholby and ride an elephant to Allahabad, where they can catch the train to Calcutta. Fogg and Passepartout also rescue a young woman, Mrs. Aouda, from burning on a pyre, and the two men are arrested in Calcutta. However, none of these events delay Fogg's predetermined itinerary, and they make the Rangoon's departure, much to Fix's chagrin. He slips onto the steamship and hides in his cabin until it is at sea.

The journey from Calcutta to Hong Kong is troubled by storms at sea, Passepartout's disappearance, and the early departure of their Yokohama connection. Phileas Fogg always has a contingent plan, though, and he charters the ship Tankadère to take him and Mrs. Aouda to Shanghai so they can catch a mail ship to Yokohama in time for their connection to America. Fix befriends Phileas Fogg and Mrs. Aouda at the port, and Fogg, not knowing the detective is out to arrest him, offers to pay the inspector's way to their next port.

Passepartout reconnects with his master in Yokohama, and they all set sail together on the General Grant for San Francisco. On the ship, Passepartout and Fix become uneasy allies when Fix convinces Passepartout he wants Fogg to succeed. On the train from San Francisco, they withstand frigid winter conditions in the Rockies and fight off a raiding party of Sioux, who attack the train. Fogg coerces soldiers at Fort Kearney to help him search for Passepartout and other passengers who were abducted by the Sioux. After succeeding, Phileas Fogg, Mrs. Aouda, Passepartout, and Fix hire a sledge to rush them to the train station in Omaha. They make their connections to Chicago and then New York City, but they arrive shortly after the ship leaves for Europe.

Stranded in New York, Phileas Fogg does not give up. He hires the steamer Henrietta, which speedily transports them to Ireland. They catch a train to Dublin, and a second train to Liverpool in England, where Fix arrests Fogg. However, Fix belatedly discovers the real robber has been captured, and Phileas Fogg is freed that afternoon. Fogg, Mrs. Aouda, and Passepartout jump on a train to London, but they arrive at 8:50 p.m., five minutes too late to win the wager.

The next evening, Mrs. Aouda asks Phileas Fogg to marry her. Passepartout rushes to the parish to hire a reverend to perform the ceremony on Monday, the very next day. The pastor tells Passepartout he cannot marry the couple tomorrow, on Monday, because tomorrow is Sunday. Since they traveled against the sun, they gained four minutes a day as they crossed each longitude line. By the end of their eastward trip, they gained a full 24 hours, so it is actually December 21. Passepartout races home, grabs Phileas Fogg, and hails a cab to the Reform Club. At 8:44:57 Fogg enters the club room, announcing, "Here I am, gentleman," winning the bet at the very last second. Two days later, Phileas Fogg and Mrs. Aouda marry.

Around the World in Eighty Days Plot Diagram

Climax123456789Rising ActionFalling ActionResolutionIntroduction

Introduction

1 Phileas Fogg, a British gentleman, precisely plans his life.

Rising Action

2 Fogg bets he can circle the world in 80 days.

3 Fogg and his valet visit Egypt, India, Asia, and America.

4 Fogg and allies rescue Mrs. Aouda from a Hindu suttee.

5 Fix follows Fogg, believing he is a bank robber.

6 Fogg and his valet survive dangers in India and Asia.

Climax

7 Fix arrests Fogg in Liverpool; Fogg misses his deadline.

Falling Action

8 Fogg gains a day traveling east and wins the wager.

Resolution

9 Mrs. Aouda proposes to Fogg, and they marry.

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