Around the World in 80 Days : book club discussion questions

Around the world in 80 daysThese discussions questions contain spoilers!

Jules Vernes’s books are often sold as children’s literature, particularly suited to boys. Given that the plot requires human sacrifice, gambling, and opium use, why do you think this is?

Around the world in eighty days is written by an outsider, observing the British Empire. Verne’s view of the empire seems, nuanced, supportive of some actions and opposing others. How do you think he felt about the Empire as a whole?

Why isn’t Passepartout the hero of the book?

Did you expect Passepartout to be the bank robber? Did you know his name basically means “skeleton key” in French?  Is he a red herring?  If he was, did it work, as a plot element, or not?

To what extent is Passepartout an author-replacement character?

Given Verne’s reputation, were you expecting more sci-fi?  More steampunk?

Is Fogg meant to represent the English in general, or is he particularly eccentric, in Verne’s view?

Why did Fogg take the bet?

Why is Fogg the romantic lead? Is he convincing as a romantic lead?

What do you think of the theory that Fogg has high-functioning autism?

Is Aouda more that a rescuable princess?  Does her proposing to Fogg indicate strength of character, or is she just moving from one protector to another?

How many people did Fogg kill in the book, do you think?

Is Fix a well-designed and interestingly used character?

What’s Verne’s opinion of Americans?

Is the duel scene in the last carriage historically realistic?

When Verne was writing many of the transport technologies he was discussing were cutting edge, like trans-Indian rail links and steamships. These methods of travel are now, for the most part nostalgic.  Does this change the way people read the book, do you think?

Fogg is one of the first English tourists: people who decide they want to go somewhere and simply can, without being an adventurer loaded with gear. Does the book lose or gain appeal when living in a tourist mecca like the Gold Coast?

The book was originally published in serial form, and there were rumors Verne took kickbacks to include certain travel lines in its plot.  Did you detect any of these adverts?

Some people were fooled by the serialisation, thinking Fogg a real person.  Is there anything in the book which makes Fogg clearly fictional?