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Book Review: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

Originally posted by authornwolf at Book Review: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
A new sea creature captured international attention.  Academics, seamen, and mystics, among other professionals drew conjectures about the identity of their obsession.  Professor Pierre Aronnax determined the creature was an unusually large sea mammal.  Yet, he could not resist the opportunity to verify his conclusion.  Hence, he boarded the Abraham Lincoln with a large crew, including his assistant Conseil and renowned harpooner Ned Land.  The crew is discouraged after many uneventful nights, until they saw an enormous dark object surrounded by fluorescent light.     Captain Farragut ordered his livid crew to seize the long creature.  A chase ensues.  That even Land cannot penetrate with his harpoon, proving their objective is not a mammal.  Eventually, the Abraham Lincoln proved victorious but at a great cost, as Aronnax, Conseil, and Land were abandoned in dangerous waters.  Yet, the excitement just started, as subsequent adventures exceeded their imaginations.

The three men awoke to find themselves inside their objective and learn they are captives of a submarine led by Captain Nemo.  Nemo give them a tour of the Nautilus and provides for his prisoners.  But, he threatened them with execution if they attempted an escape.

The novel prison, the submarine life, and the mysterious personality of Nemo fascinated Aronnax.  Aronnax made copious notes of his internal and external surroundings, which shows Verne possessed considerable knowledge regarding physics plus aquatic life.  These details also reinforced the erudite personality of Aronnax.  The prisoners enjoyed excursions on land in Antarctica, and in Southeast Asia.  Otherwise, they travelled around the world underwater.  After several months of captivity, only Land openly tired of his circumstances.  Still, all three agreed to escape at the first opportunity.

Irony permeates the pages of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  First, Nemo, who condemned his oppressors, turned into an oppressor.  Second, Verne used Aronnax; Conseil; Land; and, Nemo to demonstrate that humans, even those who seemed complacent, will not accept repression indefinitely through bouts of repressed anger.  Aronnax vainly implored the bitter Nemo to be released.  Conseil joined his companions in multiple failed attempts to flee from the Nautilus.  Land had a volatile temper that increased with the duration of his imprisonment.  Finally, the liberation Nemo sought underwater transformed into captivity within a fixed parameter of iron plates.  Outside the Nautilus, animals and plants thrived without limitation. 
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