Five Weeks in a Balloon by Jules Verne

Five Weeks in a Balloon eBook by Jules Verne - 9781775452614 | Rakuten Kobo  United States

The friendship and care between people are reflected in the book. Three travelers once risked their lives to save a French missionary. When the balloon was about to fall into Lake Chad, in order to make it rise again, Joe jumped into the lake and saved the lives of his two companions. As Joe fled the Sahara for his life, a shot from Kennedy saved Joe from the barbarians. This spirit of mutual love and mutual assistance in the era of personality publicity is very worthy of readers to cherish and carry forward. In order to show the wonderful scenery in Africa, this novel introduces the rich geographical knowledge. Through the image of the hero Fergusson in the novel, the author fully shows a scientist’s loyalty to the cause of human progress, praises his courage and strength, and shows the great power of modern science and technology.

However, when the novel describes the African native people, the racial prejudice reveals inevitably the era and history of the limitations. Five Weeks in a Balloon, by Jules Verne, describes the journey of Dr. Fergusson and his companions across the African continent, in which the admiration for European civilization, as well as the disgust and disdain for backward civilization, is evident. From the perspective of orientalism, Five Weeks on a Balloon shows a strong national character and the resulting Eurocentrism, which is mainly reflected in its description of the African environment. More than that, Jules Verne wants to show the excellence of his own nation in this process. To highlight this, the typical environment in his works is the desert, which means to raise thirst, desolation, loneliness and death, which must be overcome when crossing the desert.

The success of Mr. Fergusson’s entourage is the author’s affirmation of westerners and western civilization. But the whole work, from the point of view of orientalism, this affirmation is also based on a kind of dislocation between Europe and Africa. They thought of themselves as the most civilized people, looking down on others, and orientalism retained a more or less European-centered consciousness even in their later reflections. It is difficult to avoid this phenomenon, which requires that people should treat the East objectively and not overnight. However, in the analysis and criticism of people, they should at least be conscious of preventing them from being brought into the theory of Eurocentrism. When they look at problems, they should always make clear their position as an Oriental.

The African landscape is described in vivid detail, with mountains and seas, swamps and depressions, desert rivers and volcanoes all covered in the novel. The baobabs, fig trees, acacia trees, tamarind trees and other tropical plants are very strange. Elephants, hippos, crocodiles, vultures, leopards, hyenas and other tropical animals, as well as the thrilling battle of wits with savages and monkeys, all inspire the imagination to travel to Africa in an adventure. The hydrogen balloon was their vehicle, a relatively unknown object even to today’s readers, and the hero of the book had thought of it as a tool for exploration in the first half of the 19th century. What is more interesting is that the author even introduces the complex structure of the balloon to the readers in detail through the protagonist, which shows the author’s extensive knowledge and extremely rich imagination.

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