Is Journey to the Center of the Earth fiction or nonfiction?

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liesljohnson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

These days, since bookshelves and television series are absolutely filled with amazing, real accounts of explorations of the earth, the oceans, and space, it's a good idea to pause for a moment before reading Jules Verne's novelĀ A Journey to the Centre of the Earth to ask yourself if this is the account of a real, historical exploration or if it's a fanciful work of fiction. After all, the story starts out with the skeptical characters investigating what they assume is a hoax, just like the guys do on that show MythBusters, which is all real (as far as we know).

However, the novel is fiction: it's not a real story, but a made-up one.

As you start reading, even though the narrator, Axel, describes things in vivid scientific detail as if he's writing for a science journal, you can tell that impossible things start happening. And it's really fun to read about them! Let's list some:

1. While ninety miles underground, the explorers find a sea surrounded by a forest full of ancient plants.

2. They find monsters. (Although, you might prefer to call them animals resembling monsters!)

3. They "ride" a burst of volcanic lava and arrive safe and sound back on the surface of the earth!

All these events and more make the novel a fantastic adventure, but it's definitely not one that could actually happen.

Read the study guide:
Journey to the Center of the Earth

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