Monday, June 25, 2007


I love that this book isn't depressing. Having said that, i'll actually talk about it.

So far, I don't like Fogg at all. He has the appearance of an upstanding Englishman used by Vern to show America the vast British Empire. Let's be honest, Fogg is full of himself without directly appearing to be. Doesn't show a whole lot of emotion, keeps that stiff upper-lip. And how can he have "calculated" ever unfortunate thing that could occur to the precise detail. AND.... HOW DOES HE KNOW WHEN SHIPS ARE LEAVING PORT FOR WHERE AND WHEN??? Honestly. Is there some sort of catalog of ship travel that i overlooked in the book? Oh wait, naturally every singe Britt is gonna know when ships leave port and their destination. It must be a part of their natural superiority.

Passe. is a diligent servant. He just sees his master as a guy he needs to serve. He likes his new job, hoping that the predictable nature of Fogg will return and he won't need to be in this adventure. I think he's also hoping that it is kind of a farse so that he can take a better look around him. He's the epitomy of naive travellor. It reminds me of Twain's "Innocents Abroad" in a way.

This book is very fast paced. It's nice that when regretful things happen, they happen and are over very quickly.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

This book is getting good!

Things are getting a little bit crazy here. Fogg is definitely insane. What does he mean he likes to save people when he has time? First of all, he does not have time. He needs every minute he can get to overcome obstacles that he doesn't choose to put upon himself. Secondly, what is he going to do with the dear after he saves her? It's not like he is going to take her with him. Or is he?

Passepourtout worries me. His devotion to an insane man is a little scary. I'm glad that he is loyal but I'm afraid that in the end this blind loyalty will make him very unhappy. At least he can say that he has been around the world!

Fix. I can't talk about him without getting upset. Passepourtout needs to control his drinking and hopefully that will protect him from harm.

Francis Cromarty. I like him. He appreciates the world around him and likes people. He is down to Earth. Quite the opposite of Fogg.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

POST NUMBER 2: native rabbit

I can't understand a person who doesn't look where he is going.
I think we should learn from what we read, and the experience in the
railway station eatery has me wary of native dishes.
I had to ask myself what I would do "when I have extra time" I hope
I would be like Phileas and be a person of heart.

I am glad he is not only following his master, but believes in him as well.
i think he needs to be careful of what he says and does.
I want a pair of Indian shoes.

I don't like that he has befriended Passepartout under false pretenses,
I think he is a zealot.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Posting #2: The Arrogant Non-Traveler

Verne has described three different type of travelers. First, there is Fogg who "trac[es] a circle" but does not travel. (Ch. 11). He never even thought of looking around town "as he was the sort of Englishman who gets his servant to do the sights for him" (lol) and "[a]bsolutely nothing interested him." (Ch. 7, 10). Not only does he fail to see the sights when stopped, but he doesn't even look around while he is traveling--he "rarely put in an appearance on deck" and "showed little interest in observing the Red Sea." (Ch. 9). Mostly he just played whist--which is exactly what he always did in England.

Second, we have the wide-eyed, prone to explore without any kind of guide or information, Passepartout. Pass strolls around, mingles with the inhabitants, and admires what he sees. He is open to what is out there and "realize[s] that there's a lot to be said for travelling if you want to see something new." (Ch. 9). I like Pass's approach, but I think if he would have consulted a "Bombay for Dummies" or "Rick Steve's in India" book, he would have been a lot better off and could have avoided being half beaten to death by a couple of priests. But you have to admire his initiative and fascination.

Finally, we have Sir Francis Cromarty. He feels comfortable navigating around and is interested in what is around him. However, he is also educated and can give "information about the customs, history and administration of India." He didn't just look around in awe, he found out the origin and history of what fascinated him. I like the Cromarty style myself. Again, it appears Verne is portraying Fogg as an Englishman subject to censure for his haughtiness and lack of spirit. This time Verne accomplishes it by portraying Fogg's complete lack of interest in the world around him--presumably because it's not important or interesting enough to merit his attention.

Other questions on my mind: At first I thought Pass would be handy because he can get himself out of tricky situations--now I am starting to worry that he is always the cause of the tricky situations--there is the temple incident and the incriminating information he unwittingly fed to Fix--will he be an asset on this trip? What is Verne trying to say here about the British Empire and it's attempt to control different parts of the world? I get the feeling Verne is criticizing and laughing at the attempt to "Brittify" everything or am I inventing the sarcasm and is Verne applauding the work of the English? (See for example, ch.12, and Fogg asking "Are these barbaric customs still practised in India without the British being able to stamp them out?"). Is Fix obsessed, incompetent, or just self-important?

Posted by Shyla

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I did it!!!!

I have been reading a little more than required and liking the book very much. And now it's even better because now I figured out how to post so all can see it at first. I swear the button on the top right isn't always there. Maybe you have to sign in first. A minor detail. I'll write more later.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

My Two Cents...

First of all, I'll just say that I don't really know what to say as of yet. I've only read 5 chapters, but so far I am enjoying the book. I don't think I've read enough to really be able to analyze it yet, but I have to say... Mom, (karen) by your comments about Mr. Fix, I think you are trying to imply things that may happen later in the book, and thats not fair since you've already read it! I looked up Passepartout on, and the correct pronunciation is: pahs-par-too (with the emphasis of the word on "too"). It is an actual french word, defined as: 1) Something that passes everywhere or provides a universal means of passage. I think that is pretty clever of Verne, considering Passepartout is about to "pass" across the world.

About Phileas Fogg... I can't quite figure him out. At the beginning he was really reminding me of Will Farrell's character in "Stranger Than Fiction". I don't think he's cold-hearted, but definitely odd, and obviously very prideful. His motivation for the trip? I'm not sure. His life sounds miserably dull and boring, so maybe all that reading of newspapers finally got to him and he decided to change it up a little bit. I don't really think he stole the money, because it sounds like he has enough. Also, it says he didn't care about winning the $20,000-- that "he certainly did not bet to win" (ch 3). I don't really think a man desperate enough to steal fifty-five thousand pounds would go and bet almost half of it on something as risky as traveling around the world in 80 days. That is, unless he was positive he would win...

I am doing this right?

Okay, I have never been in a book club and I now see that I am going to have to think about the book and not just read it. That is going to be difficult but I will try my best. So far, I think that Phileaus is the bank robber and is taking the trip to escape. But I realize that this is totally just a surface observation and I will reread the chapters in order to gain some more understanding. I am having fun though. Poor Passepartout. He thought he was going to be so happy! Tegan

Saturday, June 16, 2007

This was a good book for me, because it was short and the chapters went by quickly. I liked the chapter on the Mormons. Strange people, they are.


Friday, June 15, 2007

Mr. Green! In the library!! With the wrench!!
It was Phileas! It was Phileas!! "E's the bloke what took the money."
Didn't you see it coming when Mr. Ralph and Mr. Stuart were talking during whist?

55 steps with the left foot; 56 steps with the right foot (does that mean Phileas is right handed?)
Numerology? Gematriya? (that's a Hebrew word I think) Naw, he's just anal.

And Passapartout! He's just stuck in reverse.

Mr. Fix. Detective Fix. He's got issues. Maybe he's got an Oedipus Complex.

just kidding

posted by mom

What about Fix?

I have been surprised, that Fix has not been mentioned by anyone.
The telegram sent by him, to the police commissioner, lost Mr Fogg all his support.
I don't trust him.

I hope I am never described as "phlegmatic" makes me want to clear my throat.
I feel that order and routine has not only become Phileas' way of life, but his life.
I don't think him cold, I think he is lead by duty; and enjoys living in comfort.

I believe he is shell shocked, but I like that he is sticking to his duty, and serving
his gentleman.

posted by Karen

Posting #1: Chapters 1-6

Charitable or Cold and Insincere?

Phileas’s varied behavior has struck me as difficult to reconcile. Are we supposed to believe Phileas is a giving, kind-hearted man or is Verne asking us to see past the surface? Sure, Phileas gives all of his whist money to charity (which incidentally everyone knows about . . . I guess Phileas never heard the whole bit about not letting the left hand know what the right hand does) and he won Passepartout over by his generous gift of money and polite words to the beggar woman outside the station.

Nonetheless, in contrast to that admirable behavior, he fires a servant because he brought Phileas shaving water that was two degrees lower than mandated. Additionally, when Passepartout realized he left his lamp on, Phileas who apparently has money spilling out all over the place “coldly” replied that Passepartout would be expected to pay the bill. At first I thought Phileas was merely quirky but now I am starting to think his charitable nature is nothing more than a calculated effort to appear a respectable gentleman. Not to mention his total lack of respect to Passepartout in assuming Passepartout would accompany him on his trip around the world and not having the courtesy to give him either notice, explanation, or many details.

Jules Verne is a Frenchman and I think he is using Phileas to portray the distasteful qualities he perceives in Englishmen: uppitiness (his treatment of Passepartout), arrogance (his assertion that he could and would make the trip), a focus on image (giving to charity and everyone knows it, sits all the club all day to be seen) and finally, absolute uptightness (read any page of the book for an example of this). Verne makes comments every now and then which I think are meant to poke fun at these perceived English characteristics: the “proverbial coldness of [the English] gentlemen” and if the trip “can be done at all, then it’s only right that an Englishman should be the first to do it.” Ch. 2, Ch. 6.

My prediction is that despite all of Phileas’s precise calculations and determination to make the trip, the Frenchman is going to be the real hero of the story and the most loveable character. I mean the guy was in the circus and has “lips that were made for eating, drinking and kissing.” Ch. 2. Besides, he has a history of getting himself out of tricky situations and I foresee that as coming in handy for this world trip. So, is Phileas giving . . . sure. Is he kind-hearted . . . not so far. I hope he will learn a thing or two from Passepartout on this trip.

So, to comment on the first six chapters write as little or as much as you want about whatever you want. I had a couple of questions that I haven’t figured out yet in case anyone has any thoughts: What is Phileas’s motivation for taking this trip?; What is Phileas’s or Verne’s obsession with numbers/time?; Phileas says, “There’s no such thing as the unexpected.” Ch.3. Are we supposed to believe him and won’t it make a boring novel if he is right and/or has that even proven true so far?

Posted by Shyla

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


Our first post will be due on June 17th. If you finish and would like to make your comments at an earlier date, that would be fine.

Friday, June 1, 2007

"Around the World in 80 Days" by Jules Verne

We have chosen our first book! Karen promises we will all love this book. Here is a little information on the book:

"Around the World in Eighty Days is a classic adventure novel by the French writer Jules Verne, first published in 1873. In the story, Phileas Fogg of London and his newly-employed French valet Passepartout attempt to circumnavigate the world in 80 days on a £20,000 wager set by his friends at the Reform Club."

"Around the World in Eighty Days was written 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 money difficulties (his previous works were not paid royalties), recently his father had died, and he had witnessed a public execution which had disturbed him. However 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."

"Verne is often characterized as a futurist or science fiction author, but there is not a glimmer of science-fiction in this. Rather than any futurism, it remains a memorable portrait of the British Empire "on which the sun never sets" at its very peak, drawn by an outsider. "