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The main theme of the novel can be ascertained from the topic of the book ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’. Phileas Fogg, a stern and disciplined man claims that it is possible to go around the world in eighty days. He is challenged to accomplish this feat himself. Thus the major theme is the possibility/probability of going around the globe in eighty days. Fogg manages to prove that it is possible despite all odds.
Another major theme is whether Fogg is a bank robber, as detective Fix claims. Fix makes his appearance in Chapter Five and continues to stay throughout the novel. He is one of the many detectives who are determined to find the robber who has robbed the Bank of England. He becomes suspicious of Fogg who looks as a thorough gentleman and is going around the world in a great hurry. Fix follows Fogg from Suez, all over the world till Liverpool. After befriending Passepartout he tells the servant about his suspicious regarding Fogg. The doubt as to whether Fogg is a culprit or not is a major theme of the book.
Related to the theme of Fogg's journey around the world is the other major theme, of the development in Fogg’s character. He is very punctual, calm, collected, wise and large hearted. Through the initial part of the novel, he comes across as a very cold and calculating man. One cannot expect much emotion from him but there is development in his character traits, as we shall see. His sole purpose is to go around the world but we see how he changes his plans just so that he & his company can try and save the Indian Princess Aouda: he seems cold but is really not. This development in his character is a major focus of the book. We learn at the end of the novel that this major achievement is not only that of going around the world successfully in eighty days, but the fact that he wins a warm and abiding love in the person of Aouda.
Passepartout’s character can be said to constitute a minor theme in the novel. He provides entertainment in the form of comic relief at many occasions. He lightens the atmosphere of the novel with his crazy behavior, his clumsiness and his general good nature. Indeed his character is quite in contrast with that of Fogg’s and in that lies it’s attractiveness.
Fogg and Aouda’s love is yet another minor theme. Their romance is not a major theme of the novel but it makes the story of the journey interesting. Aouda is an Indian princess and her inclusion adds an exotic touch to the story. Fogg’s relationship with her helps him grow as a person. She adds much happiness to his life and this bond is given some amount of importance in the novel.
The various bets that are made on Fogg and whether he will be able to complete his journey constitute another minor theme of the novel. The whole of England speculates as to whether Fogg’s aim is a feasible one. While speculation dwindles after Fogg is suspected of robbery, it revives once again when the whole country learns that detective Fix is mistaken about his suspicions regarding Fogg.
The depiction of the places that Fogg visits is another sub theme. While he never stays in a place for too long, each stop is described in some detail and that way the reader does get to learn a reasonable amount about the world. We get to read cameo like portraits on the major points on the globe map.
The mood of the book is that of adventure and the excitement that is always a part of ‘travel’. Phileas Fogg accepts the challenge to go around the world in eighty days and in accomplishing this feat he goes through various lands and meets with diverse adventures. Thus the book proceeds at a fast pace and there is always some excitement resulting from the various encounters.
There is a little element of mystery in the mood with the suspicion that Fogg might be the gentleman robber, guilty of a major theft at the Bank of England. Passepartout is told by Fix that his master is not what he seems and even though Passepartout tends to trust Fogg, there is a sense of tension that Fogg might just be the culprit. Even the reader wonders whether Fogg could be guilty and becomes curious about Fogg’s reality.
Another distinct element in the mood is that of challenge and struggling against odds. Fogg and his companions face seemingly impossible obstacles in order to go around the world at an incredible pace. Fogg leads them with his calmness and rationality. Whether it be while fighting the Sioux or rushing to London from Liverpool in a specially hired train.
What the reader gets to read eventually is an exciting and truly adventurous tale.