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Study Guide: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

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20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA: LITERARY ANALYSIS / PLOT SUMMARY

QUOTES - IMPORTANT QUOTATIONS AND ANALYSIS


1. “I am not what you call a civilized man! I have done with society entirely, for reasons which I alone have the right of appreciating. I do not, therefore, obey its laws, and I desire you never to allude to them before me again!" - Captain Nemo

This quotation reveals that Nemo believes he has completely separated himself from humanity. Furthermore, it reveals how easily he can anger and that he never plans to tell the men about his past or his intentions.

2. “Strike, mad vessel! Shower your useless shot! And then, you will not escape the spur of the Nautilus." - Captain Nemo

This is an example of Nemo’s madness. He is screaming at the warship that is attempting to attack the Nautilus. Furthermore it is an affirmation of his reckless and infinite belief in the power of his vessel, with which Aronnax has observed he is intertwined.

3."I am the law, and I am the judge! I am the oppressed, and there is the oppressor! Through him I have lost all that I loved, cherished, and venerated--country, wife, children, father, and mother. I saw all perish! All that I hate is here!" - Captain Nemo

This is a rare instance in which Nemo reveals why he is pursuing maniacal revenge on the Nautilus. He is referring to the distant warship of unnamed nationality. This quote shows the depth of his hatred and explains his identification with oppressed peoples.


4. “I repeat my view based on the logic of facts” -Aronnax

Aronnax says this while debating with Land the existence of a giant narwhal. Land does not believe in the creature because he has seen nothing like it. Aronnax believe it exists because, after careful reasoning, he believes it is the only logical possibility. Land ends up being correct.

5. “It is not new continents the earth needs, but new men” - Captain Nemo

This exemplifies Nemo’s distain for mankind. This statement is in response to Aronnax’s observation that a certain group of islands will eventually join together to form a larger island.

6. “So it was a sad day I spent, between my wish to regain freedom and my regret at saying goodbye to the marvelous Nautilus...” - Aronnax

This represents Aronnax’s major conflict--he cannot remain a part of the evil ventures of the vessel and he must help his friends; yet, he is tantalized by knowledge and science.

7. “God Almighty! Enough! Enough!” - Nemo

These are the last words Aronnax hears Nemo speak. He says them right before the men escape and the vessel goes into the whirlpool. This shows that Nemo has some remorse and that the vessel’s encounter with the whirlpool is not accidental.

8. “Not at all; but I followed Monsieur since I am in Monsieur’s service” - Conseil

This is Conseil’s reply to Aronnax when he asks if Conseil was thrown from the Abraham Lincoln as well. At this time the men are both struggling in the water facing possible drowning. This exemplifies Conseil’s unfaltering loyalty to Aronnax.

9. ”Where are there not savages, and in any case, are those that you call savages any worse than the others?” - Captain Nemo

This is Nemo’s response to Aronnax’s fearful report of the natives the men encountered on the island. The natives seem angry and ready to attack. This response shows that this aggressiveness is a quality Nemo finds in all men, despite decorum.

10. “...I am not a butcher, I am a hunter and this was just butchers’ work.” - Ned Land

This is Land’s response to the slaying of many whales by the Nautilus. In this statement, Land is distinguishing the way he kills marine life and the way Nemo killed the whales.


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