Aboard The Abraham Lincoln

20000_Abraham_Lincoln

 

Aronnax is now aboard the Abraham Lincoln and on his way to find a monster. We find some interesting character analysis by Jules Verne as we venture into these two chapters.

The narrator describes Captain Farragut as a good sailor who was one with the Abraham Lincoln. He is led by his faith that the monster exists. He is certain he will find the monster. The ship’s crew keeps close watch for the monster. They are also very excited and believe in the existence of the creature. Captain Farragut promises two thousand dollars to the first person to spot the creature.

The ship is equipped with every weapon of destruction. More importantly, aboard the Abraham Lincoln is Ned Land, a Canadian and the king of harpooners. He is a large and quiet man, easily angered when contradicted. He is worth the rest of the crew combined. Aronnax says that Canadians are really Frenchmen and that Land is attracted to him because of his nationality. Land’s family is from Quebec–which originally belonged to France.

Ned Land does not share Pierre Aronnax’s view that the creature is a narwhal. Land says that is his experience as a whaler he has never seen a narwhal puncture a ship. Aronnax tries to persuade Land with statistics and mathematical calculations that an infinitely powerful creature could inhabit the depth of the seas. Land becomes responsive to the possibility that a creature might exist, but he still does not concede that such a creature is responsible for the incidents with the ships. Land appears to need to experience such a creature to believe in it. Aronnax believes that Land is merely stubborn.

It is interesting how these two men interact with each other. The details that Verne gives these men makes it seem as if they are based on real characters.

Chapter Challenge: Chpaters 5 & 6

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1 Comment

  1. Reader’s of Jules Verne in 1870 could be expected to divide into two predominant world views. There were the empiricists whose attitude was ‘If I ain’t see it and measured it, it’s just rumor or myth.’ The other party was the logical extrapolators whose attitude was ‘if something is known to exist, then something similar might exist.’
    In the discussion in 20KLUS, Ned Land takes the empiricists role and Professor Aronnax the logicians role; but note that the Professor does not consider extrapolation from physics – could a submarine machine exist theoretically based current knowledge?
    That possibility, of course, is just what Verne had Captain Nemo demonstrate to both men as a reality.

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