Study Guide: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne|
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20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA: CHAPTER NOTES / PLOT ANALYSIS
At 9 p.m. Aronnax waited in the library for Land’s signal, as planned.
However, he noticed a sudden slowing of the ship, and felt it sit at the
ocean’s bottom. The Nemo entered the library. Nemo asked Aronnax if he
knew his Spanish history. When Aronnax responded that he was not that
familiar with it, Nemo relayed a story that ended with a ship wreck in
the Vigo Bay, the bay in which they were sitting. When Aronnax looked
out into the water he saw divers collecting the wealth that was left by
the wreck. Nemo told Aronnax that it was this shipwreck and the many others
in the seas that made him a multi millionaire. Aronnax remarked that these
riches could be better used if they were properly distributed. This statement
incensed Nemo who said why Aronnax would think that he kept them for himself.
Aronnax realized then that Nemo was still human, and that he was using
his riches to help some poor and oppressed people.
Aronnax recounted the events of the previous night to an angry, but still hopeful Ned Land. At noon they checked to see the position of the vessel--it was sailing away from Europe; no land was in sight.
Aronnax was not very disappointed and began his regular studies. That evening Nemo asked Aronnax if he might like to go on an excursion at night time, since he never had. He warned Aronnax that the journey would be long and tiring. Aronnax accepted. Land and Conseil were not asked to come. The crew did not go either.
After a long walk , during which Aronnax saw many new and interesting
things, the men arrived at a strange place. There was a volcano and fire.
It was the lost city of Atlantis. Aronnax was thrilled.
Much to their surprise, the men encounter an underwater coalmine in an extinct volcano. Nemo tells them that the volcano is his safe haven, where no one will find them and where he does not have to fear hurricanes--such as in other ports. In this volcano, Nemo’s crew mine coal to aid in the production of electricity for the ship.
The men are able to spend the day walking around, as if on dry land
(although as Land points out, they are really under dry land not on it).
The ocean tide beings to rise, as does the lake inside the caverns they
are exploring. The men are able to escape safely. When the ship is restocked,
they remain docked. Aronnax wonders why they do not leave right away.
Ned Land becomes increasingly urgent for escape. Meanwhile, Aronnax is torn between escaping to help his friends and continuing his journey under the sea. Land, who requires the experience of life first hand, cannot be contented like Aronnax through observation and study. It seems Land’s only real pleasures occur when he is actually participating in something, such as hunting or exploring. Land and Aronnax are both interested in marine life. However, Land is interested in the challenge they present in being killed; Aronnax is interested in the challenge they present in being understood.
Once again, the reader is surprised by the revelation that Nemo collects and
donates gold to the underprivileged.
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. 09 May 2017