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THEMES ANALYSIS (continued)
Fogg and Aouda’s love
When Fogg and his group are traveling through India, they come across a princess, who is being forced to commit ‘suttee’ (suicide) for the sake of her dead husband. It is quite uncharacteristic of Fogg to get involved in others’ affairs but he reiterates that he has some time to spare, which can be used in an effort to save the princess Aouda. The others agree to Fogg’s idea and it is Passepartout who comes up with the winning trick that makes their effort successful. When Aouda comes to her senses, after the effect of opium has worn away she expresses her extreme gratefulness to her saviors. But the reader notices later that Aouda’s gratitude is combined with deep affection in the case of Fogg. She starts loving him for his nobility and his courage. Moreover, he is a handsome man. While Fogg takes utmost care of Aouda one does not know whether it is out of love, or merely for duty’s sake. He is extremely careful with her and is concerned about her safety. Passepartout can recognize Aouda’s affection for Fogg but he too is not sure whether Fogg would reciprocate. The fact is that Fogg does have feelings for Aouda but he places his duty above his love.
It is only at the end of their journey, at London that he confesses his love for her and they decide to get married. It is their decision to marry that enables Fogg to win the bet. For it is through the priest that they learn that they had actually reached London a whole day earlier. Fogg rushes to the Reform Club and is just in time for winning the challenge. Later, Verne underlines the fact that attaining Aouda’s love was more important than winning a challenge.
The sub theme of Fogg and Aouda’s love adds romantic interest to the story. And, we learn the lesson that love conquers all and that it must be placed higher than material attainments.
Various bets on Fogg’s journey around the world
The challenge between the whist players and Fogg captures the imagination of English folk. The report of the wager was first circulated among the members of the Reform Club. The excitement then passed from the club to the papers through the reporters and papers communicated it to London and the whole of the United Kingdom. This ‘question of a journey around the world’ was commented, discussed, analyzed as keenly and passionately as if it had been a case of a new Alabama Claim. Some sided with Fogg but the great majority, declared against him.
A great many articles were written about this topic and they in turn influenced the performance of Fogg shares. During the first days after the gentleman’s departure, important transactions were started on the chances of his enterprise. The English betters were a cleverer class than gamblers. Apart from Reform Club members, a great majority of the public joined in. Fogg was registered in a sort of studbook like a racehorse. He was also converted into stock, which was at once quoted on 'Change. ‘Fogg’ was asked for and offered at par or at a premium and enormous business was done. But five days after his departure, after the publication of the article in the Royal Geographical Society’ Report ‘Fogg’ scrip declined. It was offered in bundles. At first people accepted five to one, then ten and then not less than twenty fifty, a hundred. One single supporter remained faithful to him: an old paralytic, Lord Albermale. Transactions began to dwindle away and they only revived when the suspicion that Fogg was a robber was cleared.
When the real thief was arrested all those who had made bets for or against him and had already forgotten the case came forward again as if by magic. All the old transactions became valid again all engagements binding and it should be said that the people’s revived keenness resulted in many a new bet. Fogg’s name was again at a premium on 'Change. Betting again took place on a larger scale than before.
This sub theme of the bets on Fogg adds a realistic touch to the story. After all, England is and was a gambler's paradise. And Fogg’s challenge was such as to inspire the interest of many.
Depiction of places that Fogg passes through
No story can be narrated without a fitting background. In this story, the background involves the entire world and the author has used it brilliantly without overemphasizing it. While the focus of the narrative remains Fogg’s attempt to complete the journey around the world, Verne manages to describe the places that the former passes through in a short and eloquent manner. He describes the places without digging into details and that is what maintains our interest. We manage to understand the essence of each location that Fogg passes through-be it-Suez, Bombay, Calcutta, Hong Kong, Yokohama, San Francisco, New York or Liverpool. Indeed, Verne must have widely traveled as well as read, himself to be able to describe so many places truthfully. Verne does tell us how Fogg is not interested in sightseeing and would rather play whist. At the same time, he knows a lot about each place and we suspect that he had been a sailor before he got down to settling in London. Fogg too shares the same mysterious envelope that Captain Nemo, another of Verne’s characters had.
The manner in which Verne describes these places is very delicately entwined with the hero’s actions and experiences. Verne inserts these beautifully worded paragraphs amidst narrative details, so they do not impose on story but seem to be an integral part of the plot.
Without the description of these places, the book would have been incomplete. Through them, the reader gets the impression of an epic like quality.