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Around the World in Eighty Days Discussion Questions

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

''Around the World in 80 Days'' is a fun novel, but one that's packed with events and themes. These discussion questions can help your students unpack and appreciate this classic work of literature.

Around the World in 80 Days

Around the World in 80 Days is one of the most popular works of French novelist Jules Verne. The story follows a wealthy man from England as he embarks on a journey around the world in order to win a bet. It's a classic and often-referred story, and one that can help students learn a lot about literature and culture in the mid-late 19th century. These questions can help guide your students through a discussion of this novel, its characters, and its themes.

Questions About Plot

  • What is the central conflict of Around the World in 80 Days? What is the resolution of this conflict? How does that define the novel?
  • Map out the plot points of this novel. How does each moment contribute to the narrative? How is tension built and maintained? How is the physical journey of the protagonists mirrored in the organization of the narrative and introduction of conflicts?
  • How are characters introduced and used in this story? How do they impact the plot, the building of conflict, and the resolution?

Questions About Characters

  • Who are the main protagonists of Around the World in 80 Days? How is each of them introduced? Who is the antagonist? How much of the conflict in this plot comes from an antagonist?
  • Describe Phileas Fogg. What are his characteristics at the start of the novel? Why does he embark on this journey? Is it for scientific discover or personal enlightenment? What does it say about him that he traverses the entire world just to win a bet? What is missing from his life?
  • How much money does Fogg end up with by the end of the novel? He spent his fortune to win the bet, so what does he really gain from the experience? How has Fogg's character changed?
  • What roles do Passepartout and Aouda play in this narrative? What are their definitive character traits? How do they change throughout the story? How do they impact Fogg and his character development?
  • What role does Detective Fix play in this narrative? Why did Verne add him to this novel? How does he balance his growing respect for Fogg with his sense of duty? How does this add to the conflict of the story?
  • How does Jules Verne rely on stereotypes or common traits to display different cultures? How does he depict the British? India? East Asia? The United States? Do these cultures become characters in their own rights? How do each impact Fogg and his personal growth?

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