“I am not what you call a civilized man! I have done with society entirely, for reasons which I alone have the right of appreciating. I do not, therefore, obey its laws, and I desire you never to allude to them before me again!”
Something interesting has been found in the ocean – something living and moving and massive. Ships and scientists try to pinpoint what it is to no avail. However, there is an increased urgency once the “thing” starts attacking ships. Dr. Aronnax joins an expedition to try and track the monster, but then his ship is attacked. Several of his crew and himself find themselves rescued by none other than the monster, which turns out to be a ship – the Nautilus.
I’m sure this book was somewhere on my to-read list since it’s a classic, but it moved higher after reading All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer. In that book, a blind girl is given a braille copy of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by her father to read. It was quite a gift as braille copies were harder to come by in the 1940s. She was quite entranced by the story so I decided to read it, too. I actually listened to the book by using Overdrive’s audiobooks on my phone. Listening makes me pay more attention to the words to make sure I don’t get lost. I’m glad I went that route with this book.
Once on board the Nautilus, Dr. Aronnax and his surviving crewmates meet the man in charge, Captain Nemo. Nemo declares they are all free to do as they wish on board the ship, except that they cannot leave. Nemo is done with life on land. He shows Dr. Aronnax and his men some of the wonders of the ocean – creatures, food, forests, hunting and cemeteries. As time goes by, the desire to get back to land and find real freedom, along with seeing Nemo’s focus on revenge, force Dr. Aronnax and his men to take drastic measure.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone middle school age or older. I don’t know if elementary aged children would comprehend the aspects of human nature that are discussed. It is also written in a more formal English style, which is part of the reason it is a classic. The descriptions of life under the sea are wonderful and I will be finding a movie adaptation of this book to watch soon.
“The sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides. The sea is only the embodiment of a supernatural and wonderful existence. It is nothing but love and emotion; it is the Living Infinite. ”