abstract illustration of two people journeying around the world on trains, boats, and hot air balloons

Around the World in Eighty Days

by Jules Verne

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Why is Jean Passepartout popular in Around the World in Eighty Days?

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People like Passepartout for a variety of reasons. Mainly, he has so many likable traits that it is next to impossible not to like him. Even traits that might be slightly annoying tend to make him more likable. For example, Passepartout tends to emotionally react first before logically thinking about the situation. For instance, when he learns that the railroad isn't complete, he freaks out so quickly that he nearly punches the man delivering the news. The fact that Passepartout is so emotional and easy to read makes him likable. There's no real mystery to him. He is up for whatever Fogg throws his way, and Passepartout throws his entire self into making sure that he and Fogg are successful. Coinciding with that is the fact that Passepartout isn't afraid of trying things. He might mess up, but at least he tried, and Passepartout is always the type of person to apologize when he's in the wrong. He's loyal, trustworthy, and kind. Passepartout is also brave as demonstrated by his willingness to rescue Aouda. He's also incredibly gullible which also makes him well liked by those people looking to take advantage of him.

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Jean Passepartout is a very versatile and fun character. When he introduces himself to Phileas Fogg, he says, "I have a natural aptness for going out of one business into another" (page 5). Passepartout has been a singer, a circus performer, a gymnastics teacher, and a firefighter, among other professions. Passepartout is described as "an honest fellow...soft-mannered and serviceable, with a good, round head, such as one likes to see on the shoulders of a friend" (page 6). He is honorable and friendly, and even though he wants to retire to a quiet life with Fogg, when Fogg asks him to pack his bags en route to a voyage around the world, Passepartout gamely agrees. In the end, it is Passepartout who reminds Fogg that he, Fogg, forgot about the time difference so that Fogg has won the bet and has completed his voyage in time. Passepartout is unfailingly loyal and devoted to Fogg; these are winning qualities that cause the reader to like him. 

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