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Around the World in Eighty Days

by Jules Verne

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How does the Bank of England's robbery influence the bet in Around the World in Eighty Days?

Quick answer:

The robbery leads to Phileas Fogg’s bet with his friends because of the observation that a robber could hide anywhere in the world. Responding to one friend’s comment that the world is a big place, Fogg argues that it is shrinking. He then bets that he can go around the world in eighty days.

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In chapter 3 of Jules Verne’s novel, Phileas Fogg is passing time in the Reform Club with his friends and usual whist partners. They get into a conversation about a brazen bank robbery that has been dominating the news and conversations in all the clubs. Certain details had led the authorities, as reported in the Daily Telegraph, to conclude that the robber was “a gentleman” rather than a professional. The theft is remarkable both for the amount involved, £50,000, and the fact that the robber removed it from the bank without being noticed.

Much of the men’s conversation revolves around the robber still being at large and what plans he might have to elude capture. When one of the group, Stuart, wonders where he might go, another friend, Ralph, answers philosophically that the world is large enough, meaning that he could easily hide anywhere. Phileas expresses the opinion that the world is not as big as it once was.

This comment inspires further discussion about how the world is shrinking because of advances in transportation. Fogg expresses his opinion, influenced by another Daily Telegraph story, that one could travel all the way around the world in eighty days. This assertion seems like a good subject for a wager, and before long, five of them take up his wager of £20,000 that he can do just that.

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