Man versus Nature - This major theme of the story is encapsulated both in the conflict between Aronnax and
Nemo as well as Nemo and himself. Aronnax, the “naturalist” must decide between his own love of science
and his fellow man. Nemo, who has gained incredible power by defying nature, must reconcile his power and
Revenge - Captain Nemo repeatedlymentions that he is seeking revenge for injustices he incurred while on
land. Interestingly, the reader must consider that while Nemo’s violence seems senseless and evil, he is not
necessarily different from a nation state. For example, Nemo has declared himself…..
The mood, or atmosphere of a book, is the general feeling of the story. This is usually portrayed through word
choice,description, and characterization. This story is primarily mysterious and dark. The mystery results from
the author’s preoccupation with Captain Nemo’s identity. The entire plot is ……
BACKGROUND INFORMATION - BIOGRAPHY
Adapted from “A Chronology of Jules Verne” in William Butcher’s 1998 translation.
Jules Verne is an immensely important and prolific French writer. Along with H.G. Wells, he isresponsible for
the founding of science-fiction writing. Jules Verne was born on 8 February 1828 in Nantes, France. His father
was a successful lawyer, from a family of many lawyers and his mother was from a military family. Jules was
the oldest of five children; he had one brother and three sisters.
In school he did very well in geography and wrote fiction and poetry frequently. He moved to Paris tostudy
law, and became engaged to his cousin, Caroline Thompson—although, they never married. During this…..
LITERARY / HISTORICAL INFORMATION
When reading Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas, particularly because it is a work of science-fiction, it
is very important to remember that it was written in 1870. At this time people traveled by horse and carriage,
ships, and increasingly,railroads. Therefore, the idea of a submarine that could reach the bottom of the sea was
astounding. It might be comparable with an individual traveling through space today.
Jules Verne’s idea of a submarine was not entirely original, neither was his name for the vessel, Nautilus. In the
latter part of the nineteenth century many people were experimenting with diving bells, commonly called
Nautileand Nautilus. In fact, the first plans for a submarine were produced in 1580 and it is thought that the
first working submarine was created in 1623. Submarines that would have more…….
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a science-fiction novel. Jules Verne and H.G. Wells are credited with
founding the genre. Science fiction engages science and technology. Works in this…..
CHAPTER SUMMARIESAND NOTES
CHAPTER 1: “A Shifting Reef”
The first chapter opens in the year 1866. Apparently, an “unexplainable” and “strange” event has occurred.
Everyone in Europe and America is talking about this event. The sea men, in particular, are disturbed.
Throughout the summer of 1866, various ships report the sighting of a huge creature, rapidly moving and with
In all ofthe cities people sing about and discuss the “monster.” Even the scientific community debates over the
existence and nature of the creature. By the beginning of 1867, the discussion of the monster settles a bit.
However, on March 5 another ship was struck. Three weeks later an identical accident occurs. The second
accident, which happens to a ship—the Scotia- from a very prestigious line,incensed the public. All
shipwrecks come to be blamed on the monster. The people on both continents demand that the waters be rid of
the monster—whatever the cost.
CHAPTER 2: “Pros and Cons”
The narrator of the story, Pierre Aronnax, introduces himself as a scientist and lecturer at the Museum of
Natural History in Paris. For the six months prior to the attack of the Scotia he has been...