illustration of Captain Nemo's ship, the Nautilus, ramming a giant squid

20,000 Leagues under the Sea

by Jules Verne

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How does Verne reveal characters' attitudes in 20,000 Leagues under the Sea?

Quick answer:

In 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, Verne has his characters say and do things that align with their characterization to reveal their attitude. For example, Pierre Aronnax's erudite diction and haughty manner reveal his scholarly, prideful attitude

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To reveal the scholarly and boastful attitude of Pierre Aronnax, Jules Verne has him speak in an educated, learned dialect. He uses words like hypothesis and peroration. To draw attention to Aronnax’s accomplishments, Verne has him engage in a fair amount of bragging. Aronnax notes how his two-volume work on the mysteries of the ocean was reviewed favorably. Aronnax mentions that his opinions on this puzzling sea creature are in demand. He then excerpts an interview from the New York Herald. He includes his title, “the Honorable Pierre Aronnax, Professor at the Museum of Paris.” These actions and words help form the erudite and conceited characterization of Aronnax.

Conseil coveys his dedicated attitude to Aronnax by obeying his commands. His deferential characterization is highlighted with lines like “Wherever Monsieur goes, I go” and “Whatever pleases Monsieur.” In chapter 7, Conseil’s actions demonstrate his deep attachment to Aronnax, as he dives into the water once Aronnax is flung overboard. Such servility seems to flummox even Aronnax. He asks Conseil if he was flung overboard at the same time as him. Conseil has to explain to him that he jumped into the water on his own accord.

As for Ned, he coveys his down-to-earth attitude by taking a practical, wait-and-see approach to the creature. Meanwhile, Captain Nemo reveals his reclusive, antisocial attitude by providing limited information about his identity.

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