Jules Verne “Around the World in Eighty Days”
In the book ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’ Jules Vern portrays a moderate position on the powers that technology and science has to benefit mankind. He is neither critical nor is he completely approving of the benefits. Mr. Phileas Fogg and his French valet, Passepartout, make great leaps and bounds across the world throughout the book by using what man has created using technology and science to shorten the time between distances. But there are circumstances that arose that pushed them to older forms of transportation. This appears to be a stance taken by Jules Verne of the failures of technology and science which will be examined here. The industrial revolution introduced the world to many new inventions making life simpler for many people in all parts of the world. Inventions like the cotton gin , the mechanical reaper and the tractor revolutionized our agricultural system, while inventions such as steam power, trains and steam ships decreased the amount of time it took to travel and ship goods. Mr. Fogg and Passepartout use to their advantage the powers of steam and coal throughout the book to cross vast oceans and travel across countries, but even though with all the modern technological marvels, the companions are routinely stopped due to nature or simple human error. This indicates that although Jules Verne was fascinated with the industrial revolution and the marvels that it came with, nature still played a major part in everyday life and in this case, could very well dictate if the companions arrive in England on time. Mr.Fogg and Passepartout begin their journey by leaving England and crossing the English Channel to travel to France. Then they took a steam ship named the Mongolia heading for India. The Mongolia arrived at the Suez on the ninth of October and cut through the Suez Canal from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea. This technological achievement would keep them from having to go around Africa and would shorten their trip. After leaving the Suez, it would take 1,310 miles to cover the distance of the Red sea which in terms of hours would be 138. Thanks to the power of coal and the harnessing of steam the distance could be covered in the amount time needed for Mr. Fogg to keep to his schedule. Without the power of coal or steam Mr. Fogg and Passepartout would have been at the mercy of the winds on the ocean. A century ago sailors would have had to wait for the right winds to set in before setting sail. Once adrift, sailors were at the mercy of the wind and sea currents for the speed at which they could move. Without a doubt Mr. Fogg would have never been able to of make his deadline if he was relying on ships with sails. Storms rough seas and poor wind could very well cause many complications for the companions as they made their many ocean voyages. Another great advantage to the Mongolia and its steam engine was even though Mr. Foggs trip through the Red Sea was pleasant, had there been major storms and rough seas the steam engine powered ship would make better time than a wind powered ship. Sailors a century ago would have to pull down their sails in fear of the fierce winds ripping their masts away. With steam power, the Mongolia would have been able to continue on its route with little trouble through any storm. While the achievements of these industrial marvels is made very clear, Jules Verne still adds in the story a situation where a wind powered ship prevails over a steam powered ones. During Mr. Foggs stay in china, after Fix, a Scotland Yard detective, had Passepartout drugged with opium, Fogg missed his ride to Japan through the steam ship Carnatic. Fogg procures a ride with a sail boat named the Tankadere. By clinging close to the Chinese coast and going to Nagasaki the group made it on time to Japan and stayed within the parameters of Mr. Foggs schedule. Even with all the modern industrial revolution achievement of steam powered ships, at...
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