Around the World in Eighty Days: Chapter 2

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Summary of Chapter Two: “In which Passepartout is convinced that he has at last found his ideal”

 

Passepartout is left standing in the hall and thinks about his new master. Fogg is about forty years of age, very handsome and tall, pale in coloring and light haired. He is a perfect Englishman, exact and balanced, the kind of master Passepartout had been seeking. Fogg seems “outside of every social relation” (p. 16) and so, could not have enemies. Passepartout is a “true Parisian” (p. 17), honest, soft, and full of the spirit of service. He is muscular and developed because of his gymnastic background. Because he has had no stability in his life, he yearns for an English master who would be true to type, yet he had been in ten houses, and the men were not orderly, but irregular. Even Lord Longferry, a Member of Parliament, had to be brought home from the taverns every night. Fogg thus satisfies Passepartout that at last he has found a man he can admire and with him, live the quiet life.

 

He looks around the house and sees it is clean, orderly, with gas lights, electric bells and speaking tubes between floors. On the mantel is an electric clock with a schedule of the day’s routine beside it. The house when it belonged to the dissipated Sheridan was no doubt disorganized, but now it is completely methodical. Fogg has a safe but no guns. Calling Mr. Fogg a “machine” Passepartout feels at last he will have a peaceful life.

 

Commentary on Chapter Two

 

The contrast is set up between the two men. Fogg is the archetypal Englishman the French servant had been searching for—calm, boring, orderly, unemotional. This is the French Verne’s way of poking fun at the English, especially in pointing out that Passepartout cannot actually find such a boring master, for the typical English master is more like Lord Longferry. As Fogg is a true Englishman, so is Passepartout supposedly a “true Parisian,” that is, honest, but emotional, with a colorful and varied background. Verne has fun playing with these caricatures of the English and French, but the two main characters, though foils to each other, actually grow and take on depth in the story. They become friends and help one another.

 

In looking around Fogg’s house, especially at the clock on the mantel with the day’s schedule nearby, Passepartout thinks, “Everything was regulated and foreseen” (p.18). This is an important theme, for Fogg predicates his success on the fact that nothing unforeseen will happen to spoil his carefully laid plans and calculations. Passepartout is happy to serve such a regulated and ethical man.

 

 

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