Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

Dr. Pierre Aronnax is a scientist who is asked by the United States government to accompany a mission aboard the ship Abraham Lincoln in pursuit of a terrifying monster that has been destroying ships. America and Europe is in an uproar over the cause over a spate of attacks on ships sailing in the Pacific Ocean. Survivors of the attacks claim to have seen a large monster with many blowholes. Dr. Pierre Arronax is a scientist specializing in marine studies and after being pressed for his scientific opinion on the cause of the attacks, posits that the attacks might be caused by a Great Narwhal, a whale like mammal with a horn on its head. His claims and knowledge of marine studies draw the attention of the American government and he is asked to accompany the ship Abraham Lincoln and it's Captain Farragut on a mission to locate and destroy the sea monster. So the doctor and his loyal and knowledgeable servant Conseil set sail. Aboard the ship is a crew of experienced seamen and the legendary harpooner, Ned Land. Everyone except Ned Land watches the waters continually as Captain Farragut has promised 2,000 dollars to the first man to lay eyes on the mysterious monster. After many days without a sign of the monster, the crew sees a strange light in the water, the same light that many survivors reported as having preceded the attacks. A large, black creature emerged from the deep and shot water from it holes 120 feet in the air and Dr. Arronax estimated the length of the beast to be 225 feet. Hoping to get a clear shot at it, Ned Land urges the captain to chase after the monster and even manages to throw a harpoon at it but the harpoon only bounces off as if the hide of the monster was made of steel. The encounter nearly capsized the ship causing Ned Land, Conseil and Dr. Arronax to fall overboard and onto the back of the giant monster. It is at this point that Dr. Arronax realizes that what they are on is in fact a submarine and distressingly the submarine begins to pick up speed. For a full night, the three men cling desperately in an attempt to not fall off and when morning comes, Ned Land repeatedly stamps his feet on the surface of the submarine until some crew members hear him and take the three men down below. The men are fed well and kept in clean cabins although the men attending to them do not speak any of the languages Pierre Arronax attempts, French, English, German or Latin. They are then greeted by the Captain of the ship, Nemo who fluently speaks all of the languages Arronax had attempted. He offers the three a deal; they can never leave the ship but as long as they don't cause any trouble they have freedom aboard the ship. There is another caveat; they must stay in their quarters on the rare occasion the Captain orders it. Arronax is intrigued by the man and Captain Nemo is pleased to have Arronax aboard as he is familiar with his work. Ned Land however is wrathful at the Captain's conditions.
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Captain Nemo gives Dr. Arronax a tour of the magnificent ship, explaining how it runs on very powerful electricity. Captain Nemo is absurdly rich and thusly was able to furnish his ship lavishly. He also explains that he has broken with society, he hates society and does not with to return ever, hence why Dr. Arronax and Co. cannot return to land.
One day, land is in sight and Captain Nemo seems angry and agitated. He orders Arronax and Co. to take their meal in their cabin but there are sedatives in their food and when they awake the next day, Arronax is summoned to help a crewman who seemed to have been attacked, though Arronax does not know by what. He tries to save the man, but the crewman dies and Captain Nemo buries him underwater. Arronax and Co. have been held captive on the vessel for three months and are anxious to escape. They decide to try one night while off the coast of Norway despite the terrible storm that rages on. They realize that they are being sucked into a giant whirlpool and the crewman try desperately to stabilize the ship. Arronax hits his head and is knocked unconscious and when he comes to, he and his compatriots are safe in a fisherman's hut. They have no idea how they survived the whirlpool or what happed to Captain Nemo and the submarine but they are grateful to be free from the crazed man at last.
Best part of story, including ending: I liked this story because I enjoy science fiction and I like reading about monsters and such. I had fun reading about the sea monsters that would attack the ship.

Best scene in story: My favorite part of the book was Captain Nemo's tour of the submarine. He describes how his ship runs on a very powerful electricity, shows him his fabulously well-stocked library and shows him the kitchen which also not only runs on electricity but prepares all of the food for the men aboard the ship; there aren't any cooks aboard. I thought that took a nice imagination to dream up and write about.

Opinion about the main character: In regards to the main character, I liked how interested he was in the ship. As a man of science he was very taken with the ship and everything it could show him and all of the great books he could peruse from the library. He, unlike his compatriots, had a mostly marvelous time aboard the submarine and for a good deal of the book was a bit reluctant to leave the ship and all it's wonders, which I didn't like because it seemed selfish when his friends were not treated as well as he was and were desperate to leave their captivity.

The review of this Book prepared by Kyle Spencer a Level 3 Eurasian Jay scholar

Chapter Analysis of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 20%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 30%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 30% Tone of book    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   science fiction story Explore/1st contact/ enviro story    -   Yes Explore:    -   exploring under the sea/l mermaid Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Profession/status:    -   scientist Age:    -   40's-50's


Terrain    -   Water Earth setting:    -   19th century Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment scientific jargon? (SF only)    -   none/very little science jargon needed How much dialogue?    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Jules Verne Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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