Kat's Reviews > Journey to the Center of the Earth

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
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's review
Jan 18, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: fiction-sci-fi-fantasy

It's fantasy so of course the reader must suspend disbelief to enjoy. However, the attempt to scientifically explain many things but failing to do so with large, obvious points like how does plant life subsist without sun (and therefore without photosynthesis), weakens the ability to suspend disbelief.

Some passages "caught me up" in the excitement of the characters' discoveries, but mostly I found the characters themselves irritating and several passages dull and tedious. The narrator is often melodramatic - expressing strong and opposite emotions with little impetus to inspire the change. The other explorer (the narrator's uncle) is an abrasive, disagreeable, mildly abusive man who only acts reasonably or humanely when facing death. The guide is portrayed as little more than a lap dog - as long as he is paid the agreed amount at the agreed time, he is ceaselessly loyal and obediant to his irrational and ludicrious employer, whom he had just met. He does not bat an eye at following this employer into life-threatening situations, but shares no enthusiasm for the quest himself - quite unbelievable. Many many pages are devoted to long, uninteresting descriptions of the journey that could have been covered with as much depth in a paragraph or two.

Social Awareness Scale (scale of my own invention to rate how well or poorly societal groupings by gender, sexual orientation, race, etc are portrayed - 0 being horribly offensive, 5 being presents progressive representations): 2. As is common in writings from the period, there are hints of racism and sexism, but these are extremely minimal. The narrator has concerns of "being a man" when he expresses fear or doubt about embarking on a ludicrious and dangerous trip essentially equating reasonable fear of a real danger to being unmanly. There is also a reference to the Iclandic guide (who is portrayed as little more than a talented lap dog) as having the "Oriental way."

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