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A Journey to The Center of The Earth, a review

A single author who truly deserves to be considered the king of travel fiction is Jules Verne.

He wrote a number of works that dealt with travel in some way: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea about Captain Nemo and his submarine; Five Weeks in a Balloon; Around the World in 80 Days, where the hero Phileas Fogg travels by each of that vehicle which was available in the 19th century. From the Earth to the Moon; the very strange Off on a Comet, in which about 40 people with different nationalities find themselves tooling around the solar system on a comet for 2 years, and the book read by this time around, A Journey to the Center of the Earth. Verne wrote a lot of novels in which focuses on travel. All of these novels as a group are called Voyages Extraordinaire.

Jules Verne is mostly attributed as being a guy ahead of his time. A person who could visualize the future, and affect the shape which future acquired. As people pointed out that they have not only read about the Captain Nemo’s submarine in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea before Nemo appeared. But also knew about the flying machines before Robur makes the scene to Robur’s flying machine in Robur the Conqueror and the Master of the World. In fact, one can easily think of Nemo’s submarine and Robur’s flying machine as something like a special railway car or horse which can move under the sea or can fly in the air. But still, Jules Verne present it in a quite pleasing style. Even his stories still sound fantastic as if not heard before and contain some unique ideas of his day.

In “A Journey to the Center of The Earth”, Jules Verne not only flashes on new traces but also for the sake of his story, he simply markdowns the scientific wisdom of the day. Scientists then continued (and still scientists maintaining) with the view that the core of the planet is liquefied. So a person cannot travel to the center of the earth. Pish posh, says that the Professor Lidenbrock, the courageous explorer of the novel.

Lidenbrock thinks  if he can also make travel to the center of the earth in the same way as Arne Saknssemm mentioned in his coded message, which was based on a single statement by a medieval Icelandic alchemist, Arne Saknussemm, as the message enclosed in a runic manuscript of Icelandic lore “I have done it” (i.e. traveled to the center of the earth)? It never lets the professor think that Arne Saknussemm may simply have lied or mistaken in his writing. So the Lidenbrock and his nephew Axel, head off towards their journey.

Axel who breaks the code and explains the meaning of the message which was written backward and meant to be in Latin, he is the narrator of the novel and a youth of physical and mental ability. He is basically a comfortable middle-class gentleman. As he has no particular desires to disrupt the rhythms and routines of his life.

Obviously, he is worried about professor Lidenbrock for chasing his dream of reaching to the center of the earth. Where he might face worse situations or get himself killed. Even it might happen that Axel gets killed. So Axel tries to persuade the professor against this idea, but he finds himself outstripped when professor’s goddaughter and Axel’s fiancé, Grauben joins the professor. This forces Axel to go along as well. In effect, she uses the polite conventional equivalent of “man up!”

The period of Verne’s has not gone outdated, to a great extent the science has a large amount of data and theory. Today’s Lidenbrock would probably be one of the known scientists who have disproved global warming. But on the other hand, Verne’s work is quite similar to his other works in which he focuses on middle-class people and pushes them into an exciting and daring situation. Where the middleman gains new knowledge while remaining to the same position or class. So when the excitement is over, the middleman gets back to his original condition. That’s why I see Verne’s rallying cry as “Bourgeoisie, allows-y!

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