As I shared in the unveiling of our summer and fall reading, I had not heard of Around the world in 80 days by Jules Verne (remember it’s free on Kindle). I found it when I googled “TCK books” and it met the criteria of not too long, not too expensive, and interesting.
The author, Jules Verne, “wrote Around the World in Eighty Days during difficult times, both for France and for Verne. It was during the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871) in which Verne was conscripted as a coastguard; he was having financial difficulties (his previous works were not paid royalties); his father had died recently; and he had witnessed a public execution, which had disturbed him. Despite all this, Verne was excited about his work on the new book, the idea of which came to him one afternoon in a Paris café while reading a newspaper.”
Which, is how the story starts. The article was written in 1872 and the novel published in 1873.
In the Reform Club in London, Phileas Fogg and other club members read a newspaper article that said with the completion of a new railway section in India, the world could be circumnavigated in 80 days. A bet was placed, and the next day Phileas set off with his recently hired French valet, Passepartout.
Today we’ve read the first half of the book, but before we get to discussing it, I did some research.
1. If you want to use this book in homeschooling this website has something for every subject, including music!). Here are more lesson plan ideas. In my notes to myself I wrote: “Amy this PDF is good!!“
2. I had never heard of whist before. But sure enough, it was a rather popular game. Here are the as explained in a short Youtube video.
3. This is the best map I could find on the journey:
4. Even though we can travel by air much faster, the time to travel the world if you do not fly hasn’t reduced as much as you might think. According to wikipedia:
- In 1889, Nellie Bly undertook to travel around the world in 80 days for her newspaper, the New York World. She managed to do the journey within 72 days, meeting Verne in Amiens. Her book Around the World in Seventy-Two Days, became a best seller.
- In 1903, James Willis Sayre, a Seattle theatre critic and arts promoter, set the world record for circling the earth using public transport, 54 days, 9 hours, and 42 minutes.
- In 1984, Nicholas Coleridge emulated Fogg’s trip, taking 78 days. He wrote a book entitled Around the World in 78 Days.
- In 1988, Monty Python alumnus Michael Palin took a similar challenge without using aircraft as a part of a television travelogue, called Michael Palin: Around the World in 80 Days. He completed the journey in 79 days and 7 hours.
- In 2009, twelve celebrities performed a relay version of the journey for the BBC Children In Need charity appeal.
If you don’t want any spoiler alerts, stop reading. 🙂
Have you ever traveled on a bet or spur of the moment, not for a medical or family emergency? I can think of two trips. When I was student teaching, my college basketball team was doing well in a tournament so two friends and I drove 17 hours one way in hopes of buying a ticket. It was a whirlwind weekend! Years later the president of my organization came to me and a co-worker and said, I need you to fly in two days to America and work in our headquarter office for two weeks.
Have you taken a trip around the world? If so, what was it like?!
Passepartout refusal to change his watch and still function on London time made me wonder about when you travel. Do you change your watch/mind when you get on the plane? Or wait until closer to your arrival?
Let’s talk about the three guy’s names, I didn’t notice anything about Aouda’s name. Did you?
Phileas Fogg—We are in a fog about whether he’s a thief and other aspects of his personality. I loved how he approached life “mathematically” when math is known for precision and clarity, the opposite of fog.
Passepartout—When I touched on his name on my kindle, the definition of his name means “a picture or photograph simply mounted between a piece of glass and a sheet of cardboard (or two pieces of glass) stuck together at the edges with adhesive tape.” So, a passepartout helps hold pieces together. We know Passepartout is loyal to Fogg, he’s stuck to him as an employer. Yet his is also friends with Detective Fix. Passepartout is the glue between Fogg and Fix.
Detective Fix—He needs the warrant to catch up with them as they travel so he can “fix” the problem of arresting Fogg.
That’s what I noticed, how about you?
What did you think about the quote at the end of chapter 7: “He sat down quietly to breakfast in his cabin, never once thinking of inspecting the town, being one of those English men who are wont to see foreign countries through the eyes of their domestics.”
How did Fogg, Passepartout, and Fix change as they traveled?
It was when they were in India that Fogg’s personality was described as mathematical and I highlighted it with a smile noting mathematical could be a personality trait and not just a skill.
When they were traveling in India, could you believe the railroad wasn’t completed yet?! Have you had an adventure like that when you traveled? I have ridden an elephant for “fun” (turns out I didn’t really like it). What unusual animals have you ridden? Fogg “endured with true British phlegm.” I think I endured with true American fussing. 🙁
Seeing the suttee and suggesting rescuing the woman it was said to Mr. Fogg, “Why, you are a man of heart.” “Sometimes,” replied Phileas Fogg, quietly; “when I have the time.” That interchange stood out to me, because it contains a truth I recognize in myself and M’Lynn touched on in her post last week.
It also raised the question when we are in another culture: When do you step in and do something (like save Aouda) and when do you not step in? How do you decide? What difficult situations have you seen?
And that opium den. Yuck! So many themes to us traveling experts. What stood out to you?
See you in the comments! Amy
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