Tag Archives: harpoon

BOOK REVIEW: TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA– by Jules Verne

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

    ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea’ is a classic science fiction, adventure novel, written in 1870 by French writer Jules Verne. The novel was first translated into English in the year 1873 by Reverend Lewis Page Mercier. 

    The book was highly acclaimed when it was published and remains so. It is regarded as one of the premier adventure novels and one of Verne’s greatest works, along with ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’ and ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth.’

    In the book the description and detailing of Nemo’s ship—the Nautilus, is considered to be way ahead of its time, as it accurately describes innumerable features of a modern submarine, which at the time of writing this book were very primitive vessels.

    The title ‘twenty thousand leagues’ refers to the distance travelled while under the sea. 20,000 leagues (or 80,000 km) is nearly twice the circumference of the Earth. The greatest depth mentioned in the book is four leagues. The book uses metric leagues, which are four kilometres each.

    During the year 1866, ships of several nations spot a mysterious sea monster, which some suggest to be a giant narwhal. (A narwhal, or narwhale, is a medium sized, toothed whale that possesses a large ‘tusk’ from a protruding canine tooth). The United States government assembles an expedition in New York City to find and destroy the monster. Professor Pierre Aronnax, a French marine biologist and narrator of the story, who happens to be in New York at the time, receives a last-minute invitation to join the expedition, which he accepts. Canadian whaler and master harpoonist Ned Land and Aronnax’s faithful servant Conseil are also brought aboard.

    The expedition departs from 34th Street Pier in Manhattan aboard the United States Navy frigate Abraham Lincoln and travels south around Cape Horn into the Pacific Ocean. After a long search, the ship finds the monster and then attacks the beast, which damages the ship’s rudder. The three protagonists are then hurled into the water when they get hold of the “hideout” of the creature, which they find, to their surprise, to be a submarine way far ahead of its era. They are forced to wait on the back of the submarine boat until morning when they are captured and brought inside the vessel, where they meet its enigmatic creator and commander, Captain Nemo.

    The rest of the story follows the adventures of the protagonists aboard the creature—the submarine, the Nautiluswhich was built in secrecy and now roams the seas free from any land-based government. Captain Nemo’s motivation is implied to be both a scientific thirst for knowledge and a desire for revenge upon (and self-imposed exile from) civilzation. Nemo explains that his submarine is electrically powered and can perform advanced marine biology research. He also tells his new passengers that although he appreciates conversing with such an expert as Aronnax, maintaining the secrecy of his existence requires never letting them leave. Aronnax and Conseil are enthralled by the undersea adventures, but Ned Land the harpoonist can only think of escape.

    They visit many places under the ocean, some real-world and others fictional. The travellers witness the real corals of the Red Sea, the wrecks of the battle of Vigo Bay, the Antarctic ice shelves, the Transatlantic telegraph cable and the legendary submerged land of Atlantis. The travelers also use diving suits to hunt sharks and other marine life with air-guns and have an underwater funeral for a crew member who died when an accident occurred under mysterious conditions inside the Nautilus. When the Nautilus returns to the Atlantic Ocean, a pack of “poulpes” (usually translated as a giant squid, although in French “poulpe” means “octopus”) attack the vessel and kill a crew member.

    Throughout the story Captain Nemo is suggested to have exiled himself from the world after an encounter with the forces that occupied his country that had devastating effects on his family. Not long after the incident of the poulpes, Nemo suddenly changes his behaviour toward Aronnax, avoiding him. Aronnax no longer feels the same and begins to sympathize with Ned Land. Near the end of the book, the Nautilus is attacked by a warship of some nation that had made Nemo suffer.

    Filled with hatred and revenge, Nemo ignores Aronnax’s pleas for mercy. Nemo—nicknamed “angel of hatred” by Aronnax—destroys the ship, ramming it just below the waterline, and consequently sinking it into the bottom of the sea, much to Aronnax’s horror, as he watches the ship plunge into the abyss. Nemo kneels before the pictures of his wife and children and is plunged into deep depression after this encounter. For several days after this, the situation of protagonists’ keeps changing.

    No one seems to be on board any longer and the Nautilus moves about randomly. Ned Land is even more depressed, Conseil fears for Ned’s life, and Aronnax, horrified at what Nemo had done to the ship, can no longer stand the situation either. One evening, Ned Land announces an opportunity to escape. Although Aronnax wants to leave Nemo, whom he now holds in horror, he still wishes to see him for one last time. But he knows that Nemo would never let him escape, so he avoids meeting him.

    Before the escape, however, he sees him one last time (although secretly), and hears him say, “Almighty God! Enough! Enough!” Aronnax immediately goes to his companions and they are ready to escape. But while they loosen the dinghy, they discover that Nautilus has wandered into the Moskenstraumen, a whirlpool more commonly known as the “Mael-strom”. They finally manage to escape and find refuge on a nearby island off the coast of Norway, but the fate of the Nautilus is unknown.

    It’s an excellent book to read. Even e-book is available quite cheap. So pick it up. The description and detailing especially done 150 years back is par-excellence. The author indeed was a genious.

    Novels are all about imagination. And I salute his imagination. I would give this novel eight out of ten.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

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BOOK CORNER: “JAWS” by Peter Benchley

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

    This book was written in the year 1974 by American writer Peter Benchley. It tells the story of a great white shark that preys upon a small resort town and the voyage and determination of three men trying to kill it. So it’s a superb adventure novel. The novel, emanates out of Benchley’s interest in shark attacks after he learned about the exploits of a shark fisherman Frank Mundus in 1964. Doubleday is the publisher of this book, who commissioned Benchley to write the novel in 1971, a period when he worked as a freelance journalist. The book was a great hit. It stayed in the bestseller list for 44 weeks. The novel was later adapted into an exciting movie, by film producers, Richard Zanuck and David Brown, at Universal Pictures.

    The story is set in Amity, a seaside resort town, on Long Island, New York. Before I enter the plot. Let me describe in brief, the main characters to you, because it’s a very fast moving story, where, one needs to be crystal clear about each character. There are eleven of them and their names and brief descriptions are as follows:

  1. Chrissie Watkins—she is the young lady tourist killed by the shark.
  2. Martin Brody—is the police chief of Long island.
  3. Larry Vaughan—is the mayor of the island.
  4. Harry Meadows—Editor of the local newspaper.
  5. Alex Kintner—a young boy killed by shark.
  6. Ben Gardner—Local fisherman.
  7. Leonard Hendricks—Deputy Police Chief.
  8. Matt Hooper—Marine Biologist and also the younger brother of David Hooper.
  9. Ellen—Brody’s wife.
  10. David Hooper—a man whom Ellen used to date earlier.
  11. Quint—a professional shark hunter.

    One night, a massive great white shark kills a young tourist named Chrissie Watkins while she skinny dips in the open waters. After finding the remains of her body washed up on the beach, the investigators realize she was attacked by a shark. Police chief Martin Brody orders closure of Amity beach. But the mayor Larry Vaughan and the town’s selectmen overrule him out of fear for damage to summer tourism, which happens to be the town’s main industry. So, with the connivance of Harry Meadows, the editor of the local newspaper, they hush up the attack.

    But a few days later, the shark kills a young boy named Alex Kintner and thereafter an old man not far from the shore. A local fisherman, Ben Gardner, is then sent by Amity’s authorities to kill the shark, but he too disappears in the water. Brody and his deputy Leonard Hendricks find Gardner’s boat anchored off-shore, empty but with large bite holes, one of which has a massive shark tooth stuck in it. Blaming himself for these deaths, Brody again tries to close the beaches, while Meadows this time investigates the Mayor’s business contacts, only to determine why he wants to keep the beaches open. Finally, Meadows, uncovers, the mayor’s links with the Mafia, who pressure Vaughan to keep the beaches open in order to protect the value of Amity’s real estate, in which the Mafia has invested a great deal of money. Meadows in the meanwhile recruits a marine biologist by the name of Matt Hooper from the Woods Hole Institute to advise them on how to deal with the shark.

    Meanwhile, Brody’s wife Ellen starts missing the affluent life she once had before marrying Brody and having children. She therefore starts a romantic relationship with Matt Hooper, the marine biologist who is also the younger brother of David Hooper, a man Ellen used to date earlier, and the two have a brief affair in a motel outside the town. Throughout the rest of the novel, Brody suspects Ellen and Matt to be having a relationship and is continuously haunted by these miserable thoughts.

    With the beaches still open, people pour into the town, hoping to glimpse the killer shark. Brody sets up patrols to track the fish. After a boy narrowly escapes another attack close to the shore. Brody this time closes the beaches and hires Quint, a professional shark hunter, to kill the shark. After which Brody, Quint and Hooper set out on Quint’s vessel, the name of which is Orca. But the trio are soon at odds with one another. Quint’s ways, anger Hooper, especially when he disembowels a blue shark, and then uses an illegally fished unborn baby dolphin for bait. All the while, Quint pokes fun at Hooper as a rich college boy when Hooper refuses to shoot at the beer cans with them. Brody and Hooper also argue, as Brody’s suspicion about Hooper’s possible affair with Ellen grows stronger; at one point, Brody unsuccessfully attempts to strangle Hooper.

    Their first two days at sea are unproductive, although they do come in contact with the shark by the end of the second day. Upon seeing it for the first time, Hooper estimates the animal to be at least twenty feet long. He is visibly excited and in awe at the size of it. Meanwhile Mayor Larry Vaughan arrives at Brody’s house before Brody returns home and informs Ellen that he and his wife are leaving Amity. But before he leaves, he tells Ellen that he always thought they would make a great couple. After he leaves, Ellen reflects that her life with Brody is much more fulfilling than any other life she might have had with Vaughan, and feels somewhat guilty for her prior thoughts of missing the life she had before marrying Brody.

    After seeing the size of the shark, on the third day Matt Hooper wants to bring along a shark-proof cage, to help take photos of it, and then to use it for killing it with a bang stick. Initially Quint refuses to bring the cage on board, even after Hooper’s offer of hundred dollars, considering it a suicidal idea, but he relents later after Hooper and Brody get into a big argument with him.

        Later that day, after several unsuccessful attempts by Quint to harpoon the shark, Hooper goes underwater and into the shark cage. Where, the shark attacks the cage, something Hooper did not expect it would do, and, after ramming the bars apart, kills and eats Hooper. In the meanwhile Brody informs Quint that the town can no longer afford to pay him to hunt the shark. But Quint no longer cares about the money and resolves to continue until he has killed it.

    When they return to sea the following day, the shark starts ramming the boat. Quint is able to harpoon it several times. The shark leaps out of the water and onto the stern of the Orca ripping a huge hole in the aft section of the boat thereby causing the boat to start sinking. Quint plunges another harpoon into the shark’s belly. With that it falls back into the water, but sadly Quint’s foot gets entangled in the rope of the harpoon, and he is dragged underwater to his death. Brody, now floating on a seat cushion, spots the shark swimming towards him and since he has no choice now he prepares for his death. However, just as the shark gets within a few feet of him, it succumbs to its many wounds, and rolls over in the water and dies before it can kill Brody. The deadly fish sinks down, and goes out of sight, dragging Quint’s still entangled body behind it. The lone survivor of the ordeal, Brody now paddles back to the shore on his makeshift float.

     It’s an excellent book both in terms of storyline, adventure, speed and even the narration. Where, the author has quite vividly described the action scenes in perfect vocabulary, which is not easy, on the contrary extremely painstaking. It leaves a spine chilling impact on you. You begin to hate sharks … at least for some time. I would give the book eight out of ten.

Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****