round 2! this is the only way i can send assignments to school, bypassing the website blocker thingie, please dont read it, i am a horrible writer
Pick up any novel, and the time period that it was written in is usually immediately recognizable. It's easy to pick up cues like vocabulary used, opinions, technology, etc, and determining the time frame that the book was written in is simple with these clues. It is because books have so many indicators of when it was written, that books can be like windows into an entirely different time period. Even books that are almost entirely works of fiction can be used to give a peek at what it was like "back then". For example, in Around the World in Eighty Days, you can see that the major transportation during the 1800's were trains. You can tell from the book, that trains were the cheapest, easiest, and quickest form of transportation they had in that day. The main character, Phileas Fogg, almost exclusively uses trains in his travels, and only uses other forms of transportation when trains were absolutely not availible.
Around the World in Eighty Days follows our hero, Fogg, in his quest to win a bet by traveling around the world in eighty days. Phileas Fogg is an extremely calm and calculating man; Fogg always does anything he can to reach his goal, and will calculate plans meticulously to swing the odds in his favor. Fogg is cool and calm, even under extreme pressure from natives, and in the end, his calmness, determination, and hard work is paid off by completing his journey, and winning his bet. He is willing to stake all he has in order to support something he believes in, as you can see from this quote, "Mr. Fogg was going to risk life, or at least liberty, and therefore the success of his tour." (Jules Verne, Chapter 8) He is accompanied by Passepartout, a French manservant who follows Fogg throughout his journey around the world, and provides assistance and friendship, although he frequently causes trouble for the group inadvertently, as you can see from this quote, "Passepartout, enchanted with his discovery, resolved to say nothing to his master, lest he should be justly offended at this mistrust on the part of his adversaries. But he determined to chaff Fix, when he had the chance, with mysterious allusions, which, however, need not betray his real suspicions." (Jules Verne, Chapter 17) Later on in the journey, they save an Indian Princess that was about to be forced to kill herself named Aouda. She is extremely thankful, and accompanies them to Hong Kong, hoping to find her relatives, but when she does not find her relatives, she continues the journey with Fogg and Passepartout. Another major player in this story is Detective Fixx, who is trying to arrest Fogg for robbing a bank, as a bank was robbed right before Fogg left the country, and it looks like Fogg is trying to flee the country with the money. The Detective is the major antagonist for most of the book, and almost duels Fogg at one point, "But I am going to fight a duel with this gentleman." (Jules Verne, Chapter 24).
The year this book was published in, 1872, was conveniently also the time period for the setting of the story. Odviously, this made it easier for the author, as simply looking around his surroundings would yield many ideas for his tale. Also, many current events must have inspired him to write this story, as during this time, advancements in transportation technology grew by leaps and bounds. Traveling from one side of a continent was now a fairly simple task, attainable for anyone. Circumnavigation, traveling around the world, was now extremely possible, although it was odviously still no easy task. The author of the book, Jules Verne, was rightfully dubbed the father of science fiction, as he predicted much of advances in modern technology that we now have, such as airplanes and submarines. Another famous book by the same author, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, is about adventures on a vessel that is almost exactly what we use as submarines today; the crew on board the submarine travels around the world also, but they see much of the world from below the water. They sail through tropical reefs, under the polar ice cap, through the home of the giant squids; all in mode of transportation that was not availible at the time this book was written. In Verne's time, transportation was a big deal, as methods of transportation were growing increasingly efficient.
Although the technology in transportation was moving very quickly, in this book you can still tell that it is just getting started. Phileas Fogg and Passepartout still have to deal with many of the problems that faced people before they had efficient transportation, and the speed of transportation was still not as fast as modern times; Fogg and the gang had plenty of free time because of that, passing time by playing cards, "He made a movement as if to seize the card which had just been played" (Jules Verne, Chapter 24). Almost all of the problems that they faced would have been virtually eliminated by technologies of today. They had to deal with Indian attacks, long train rides, and highway robbers. The lack of technology in some areas contributes to the story though, as this story would not be terribly interesting if it were set in the present day, as it would most likely consist of two or three airplane flights.
Aside from all the connections made between this story and in real life during the 1800's, the language, the way people acted, all have real world connections. Aouda, the Indian princess, was expected to die with her elderly husband, just because they were married. This kind of thought would be completely unacceptable in modern times. Also, this story was most likely based off a figure in history named George Francis Train. He shared many traits with Phileas Fogg, such as his wealth, his meticulous attention to details, and his ability to travel around the world. He actually circumnavigated the world three times, and his fastest journey only took sixty seven days.
In my opinion, Around the World in Eighty Days was a great read, and I would recommend it to anyone. It's an extremely exciting and clean adventure novel, with many educational and historical tie-ins. The book is continuously keeping you on "the edge of your seat", as you never know what will happen to Fogg and the gang. They travel to over 11 countries, with locations such as Paris, Bombay, Singapore, Hong-Kong, Yokohama, New York, Liverpool, and of course, London. Every location in the book has vivid descriptions and information that could only be obtained by actually going to these places. There are also many plot twists, and you will never be able to guess what happens at the end, which brings up a very simple question, "Truly, would you not for less than that make the tour around the world?" (Jules Verne, Chapter 37).
Verne, Jules, Around the World in Eighty Days