Essay Ideas for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Write a five paragraph essay on one of the following topics. Include at least two examples from the novel. Include one quote.
- Imagine the first encounter between Captain Nemo and the three men. Write an essay from Captain Nemo’s perspective, including how he feels about protecting his secrets. Is he afraid of the men escaping with that knowledge?
- After the whirlpool, what happened to the Nautilus? Did it survive? How did it end for Captain Nemo? If he survived, where did Nemo go next?
- Imagine you are a crewman. Write about why you chose to serve on the Nautilus, how you met Nemo, what you miss about living on land.
- When the voyage ended, what happened to Aronnax, Conseil, and Land? Did Aronnax become famous & wealthy? Is Conseil still a servant? Did Land return to sea?
- Conseil is an obedient, subservient character. Imagine if he was working for Captain Nemo the whole time and plotted with him to bring Aronnax to the Nautilus. Why (do you imagine) did Nemo want Aronnax on board? What benefit would Conseil get from staying on the ship?
- Describe Nemo’s character. What are his motivations? What could he gain (in his mind) from acting the way he did and making the choices he did? His behavior seems self-destructive but could you imagine how he justified it in his mind?
- Write an essay about national identity as used in the book. Why is it important where everyone comes from? Aronnax is especially concerned with the nationality of everyone else. Why do you think this was? Is the Nautilus like a sovereign nation? Why or why not?
- Compare and contrast Aronnax and Land. Specifically discuss how Aronnax relied upon reason and intellect and how Land relied upon experience. How do these different perspectives make the men foils (opposites) of one another?
- Describe Conseil’s character. Is he as simple and obedient as he seems to be written? Is there anything deeper to his personality? What is his purpose in the story?
- Scientific technology can be both good and bad. Write an essay illustrating this with examples from the story and modern day (like genetically modified food or nuclear energy). How important is it to regulate scientific discoveries?