collage of bones, insects, a volcano, a dinosaur, and a skull

Journey to the Center of the Earth

by Jules Verne

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Who is Hans Bjelke?

Hans Bjelke is an Icelandic hunter who serves as the wise, strong, quiet, and unflappable guide on the journey to the center of the earth.

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Hans Bjelke is an Icelandic eider duck hunter. He serves as a guide for Professor Otto Lidenbrock and Axel on the journey to the center of the earth.

Hans acts a foil to Professor Lidenbrock. Axel says of Hans,

had I sought the world over, I could not have found a greater contradiction to my impulsive uncle.

This makes Hans the perfect guide. He doesn't care about money any more than Lidenbrock does, but he has his same devotion to the task at hand. Hans is quiet and competent and knows how to navigate Iceland as they journey to the volcano that will take them to the earth's center. He doesn't waste words or movements and is largely able to ignore the professor's eccentricities.

Because he is a rugged hunter, Hans is very strong. Lidenbrock notes that it is "impossible for him to become fatigued." Hans is resourceful and practical and, despite his deliberate, movements, a quick thinker. He "never forgot even the minutest precautions," according to Axel, and brings extra water for their journey, a provision that will come in handy. Hans often takes the lead as they journey single file, and his quick wits can save the day, as when he prevents Axel from falling down into the volcano.

Hans prepares and serves meals and often sets the pace of the journey. He has little to say, but when he does speak, it is usually important to listen to what he has to say. His deep knowledge of the land, serene wisdom, and willingness as he helps the travelers prove to be invaluable to their journey.

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