What were my three favourite parts of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea?

The book 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea has many amazing parts, but there are three parts I particularly loved.  I found that they all have something in common, which is why I think I like them the most.  They are all adventurous in some form or other, they teach me something new, and they are described with great care and detail.

#1 The Papuan Islands

The Papuan Islands painted a beautiful picture in my mind.  This section of the book described the sound, the scenery, and the prisoner’s immense feeling of happiness once they made it to land.  I loved how they went and scavenged for food that they so dearly missed when they were stuck in the submarine called the Nautilus for two months.

They longed for some lean meat and food for an island feast.  On the island there was fruit that you could bake into bread, there were nuts, berries, bird meat and coconuts.  The variety was amazing, which is one of the interesting parts of this chapter.  Here is an excerpt about the Island Feast:

While these fascinating animals were cooking, Ned prepared some bread from the artocarpus. Then the pigeon and ringdove were devoured to the bones and declared excellent. Nutmeg, on which these birds habitually gorge themselves, sweetens their flesh and makes it delicious eating.

Lastly, I loved this chapter because I learned the Latin names of a few animals and plants in the jungle.  When they walked through the jungle they named all the plants and animals by their Latin names.  Artocarpus is a fruit that when you bake it it puffs up into a delicious pastry.  Order Passeriforma, division Clystomora, are the beautiful Birds of Paradise.

These are the things that made the Papuan Islands one of my favourite parts of the book.

#2 The Nautilus

Similarly to how The Papuan Islands were beautiful and taught me something new, the Nautilus submarine taught me about the new technology in the story.  This submarine was way ahead of it’s time.  It used electricity to power itself, which was unheard of in 1866.

The Nautilus could withstand extraordinary pressure at great depths in the ocean by matching the pressure that was outside to the inside, and by letting a precise amount of water into the tanks they could lower themselves deeper and deeper into the abyss.

No museum in Europe owns such a collection of exhibits from the ocean. But if I exhaust all my wonderment on them, I’ll have nothing left for the ship that carries them! I have absolutely no wish to probe those secrets of yours! But I confess that my curiosity is aroused to the limit by this Nautilus, the motor power it contains, the equipment enabling it to operate, the ultra powerful force that brings it to life. I see some instruments hanging on the walls of this lounge whose purposes are unknown to me.


What I also loved about the submarine was the Lounge in the Nautilus and it’s many treasures.  There were massive pearls, hundreds of books, rare fish specimens, large turtle shells, and other unique shells.  My most favourite part about the Lounge was a huge window that looked out into the sea.

Nothing about the Nautilus compares to the Pearl worth 10 Million .

#3 A Pearl Worth 10 Million

While in the beautiful lounge there were pearls of great size and value, there was another pearl of even greater dimensions and far greater in value far off in the Mannar Oysterbank.  The oyster shell was 2 meters wide and weighed up to 300 kilograms, the inside of the shell was made perfectly smooth and polished by nature, and the pearl inside was the size of a coconut.  The Captain of the Nautilus stuck his knife in between the two large shells of the oyster in order to discourage it from closing.   And it was there they saw the magnificent pearl.

“Between its leaflike folds, I saw a loose pearl as big as a coconut. Its globular shape, perfect clarity, and wonderful orient made it a jewel of incalculable value… I estimated that it was worth at least ₣10,000,000″

This awesome treasure made this chapter of the book one of my favourites because it would be almost impossible to find a pearl like this but not completely impossible. 


In conclusion, The Papaun Islands, the Nautilus, and the Pearl Worth 10 Million are my three favourite parts of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, because each part teaches me something new and fascinating.  The book is full of excitement and adventure under the sea.  All the wonderful descriptive scenes and characters make it one of my favourite books.


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