Life is a long journey full of ups and downs. All humanity wishes to live a comfortable life without stress, disease and other negative factors that make life difficult and at times even unbearable. In reality, life often deals us with tough situations that we have to make our way through to accomplish our dreams. What helps us in these tough times is constant encouragement and this comes in handy especially when one realizes that the issue one has at hand is not the first of its kind and others have and will keep going through the same. This advice and encouragement can come from friends, family or even from written literature.
One of the most famous writers of fiction is unarguably Jules Verne and one of his famous novels is Around the world in 80 days. We know today for sure the size of the earth and the many obstacles one is bound to encounter while undertaking a trip around the world. This novel goes on to tell the story of Phileas Fogg, a stern and disciplined man who claims that he thinks that it is possible to go around the world in eighty days. Despite of all the criticism he receives from those he shares his seemingly impossible idea, he is challenged to accomplish this feat himself and decides to take up the challenge. Thus the major theme is the possibility and probability of actually going around the globe in eighty days. Considering the time the novel was written, there was not much in terms of technological knowhow to enable one to even imagine taking on such a humongous challenging expedition.
Fogg does plan and undertakes the journey and despite all odds manages to prove that it is possible. All Fogg had to do was understand his ship and the feeble machines he had at his disposal, for which he did, and all would turn out fine for him and his men. Speed and accuracy were ideals of the nineteenth century, an age where the little technology they had then promised everything, we get from the story a lot of obstacles that Fogg had to get through though. It is worth to note that there is nowhere in his journey that he encounters urban squalor, industrial pollution, and exploitation, that are normally caused by industrialization. Man seems to be in control of the machines he uses, just as Phileas Fogg uses them to overcome all obstacles.
Another one of Jules books is Journey to the Center of the Earth. This is a novel that tells the story of Professor Liedenbrock who embarks on a long journey regardless of the eminent risks involved, to find the centre of the earth. This idea comes to him when he finds some old book with Icelandic writing that he goes on to translate and says is a secret map and directions to the centre of the earth. He is so sure of it and goes on to include his young nephew Henry in his pursuit thus also endangering his life too. We all know that such a journey would be completely implausible since the world is not actually hollow, and you cannot journey to its center. The theme of Journey to the Center of the Earth, in my opinion, is sacrifice for success. Professor Von Hardwigg risks, not only his life but his nephew Henry and his guide Hans' lives as well to go down in history as the scientist who discovered the center of the Earth.
He uses primitive methods and techniques in his journey that often led to scary incidents like losing contact with his nephew and lack of clean drinking water. Nevertheless, he does not quaver in his quest and goes on to successfully find the centre of the earth and travel safely back to his home country. What the author tries to get across with these main characters in both books is the point that the impossible can be possible if you put yourself up to the challenge and ignore the cynical naysayers. Both of these stories are fictional but one can learn so much from them. Determination and accomplishment, having faith and perseverance despite the odds are other themes that these books have in common and which are well presented to the reader. Readers will have nothing but utter admiration for both main characters for their determination and self confidence in standing by what they believed in and which in the end does come to pass.
H.G Wells was a science fiction writer credited with the novels The time Machine and The War of the Worlds. In the time machine, a story is told of an English scientist and gentleman inventor living in Richmond, Surrey, identified simply as the Time Traveller throughout the novel. The time traveler has seemingly figured a way of travelling through time and tells his dinner guests that time is simply the fourth dimension. He has further developed a tabletop model machine for travelling through time. He reveals to his guests that he has managed to build a machine capable of carrying a person through time and promises to return the following week at dinner again to reveal his encounter after his travel. The time traveler does go on an expedition and his findings can teach us a lot today about the world we live in. The Time Machine" is primarily a social critique of H.G. Wells's Victorian England projected into the distant future and which emphasizes that capitalism was one of the great ills of modern England and the world at large.
The Time Machine’s major theme that capitalism is dangerous, and harmful to people, is evident from the connection, made outright by the Time Traveller, between the Morlocks and late 19th century laborers and the Eloi and the London aristocracy. The story teaches us that for as long as power rests on the mistreatment of other human beings, and on the distancing of workers from the end products of their labor, then the power is uncertain despite of the aristocrats being in control at the turn of the 20th Century. Most of us today go on our daily endeavors oblivious of the changes that the world is going through. We take it for granted that the world will keep on progressing in our favor and that improvements in society and culture are a given thing.
In some way this novel and its story might be considered optimistic, especially in the realistic portrayal of what might be possible to do with science, but it also is extremely pessimistic, offering a warning of the unfettered and unthinking trust in the progress, scientific and otherwise. Human emotion is also a theme expressed in this story. The relationship between Weena and The Time Traveler is a good example of how only emotion and sympathy can manage to survive throughout time. The Time Traveler finds Weena the most friendly of all the Eloi since she seems to be the most human for she has affection for The Time Traveler. In return Weena sympathizes with him for the unfortunate position that he finds himself in and that is why she tries to be friendly just to make him feel better. The two become real friends in spite of their obvious differences.
The War of the Worlds is a science fiction novel that describes the experiences of an unnamed narrator who travels through the suburbs of London as and witnesses England being invaded by Martians. There is a lot of destruction and a lot of humans are killed by the seemingly harmless Martians who at first glance seemed to pose no threat to the human kind. This novel shows us through its fictionist setting, what we as the human race can become. Evolution is a principal theme in this novel. The Martians are what humanity could become; they are portrayed as super intellects with bodies that have shrunken with disuse but still are terrible war-machines inside that are fearsome masters of technology. They blast whole towns out of existence and go on to destroy and kill sometimes without purpose, just for the joy of exercising their nearly invincible power. Outside of their machines, they are pathetic and utterly helpless. At his time, Wells was a cautionary visionary in an era when Western civilization reveled in its technological conquest of nature. Today most of us rely so much on the modern machinery and technology at our disposal to do most of our work and assist us in making our work easier at work, home or anywhere we go.
This novel directly contradicts the assumption that all technological progress makes life better. The Martians see themselves as being very superior to nature that they are not bound by the rules of morality and ethical behavior thus engage in wanton destruction of property and killings of human beings. Ironically it is the same contempt for other living things that brings about their own destruction. They treat humans like beasts and ruthlessly pursue them like hunters on killing sprees. As a humanity, our arrogance by implication might just lead tour own destruction by the forces of nature. We feel like we have all the answers to all that happens around us. The story says that the first alien craft landed and people thought it was harmless only to bring on a lot of death and chaos. We as humans go on to ignore the small things that keep happening around us like new diseases and outbreaks and new microbial or sea creature species being discovered thinking that we have them all figured out. It might at one time come as a surprise to us to find that these seemingly small creatures end up becoming our doom.
The narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is an adolescent obsessed with saving children from the dirtiness he sees within the adult world. The novel deals with the theme of innocence in many forms, often focusing mainly on the sexual. Because the narrator sees sex as dirty, he feels the need to shield all the children and himself from it, instead of actually accepting it as a natural step to becoming an adult. There is focus on the theme of mortality and its traumatic effects that first-hand experiences with death can have on an individual. Seventeen-year-old Holden Caulfield who is the narrator, is said to have lost a younger brother to leukemia four years before the story is told. He also witnessed a young boy's suicide at prep school. These events leave him, and the story he goes on to narrate plagued with nearly constant thoughts of death and mortality.
The Catcher in the Rye is riddled with symbols of death and disappearance, which Holden as most of us in the real world do, focuses on to avoid interacting with the real and living world around him thus hiding under this dark shadow. This novel presents a clear distinction between the world that children live in and that of adults. Children are described to be genuine, caring, and kindhearted, whereas adults are phony, self-centered, and generally uncaring or mindful of others. Since the story of told from the point-of-view of a seemingly disillusioned seventeen-year-old, we are left with the challenge of figuring out the bias inherent in this perspective. The novel examines the grey area between adolescence and the emotional roller coaster ride that is the process of transitioning from adolescence into adulthood. Sexuality is also a major concern for the narrator and protagonist Holden Caulfield, who presents the point of view that sexuality, is totally degrading for a woman, and therefore cannot reconcile expressing sexual feelings toward a woman that he respects. There is also mention of possible childhood molestation, and the ways in which such events affect young adults as they try to understand their own sexuality and development.
In Kate Chopin’s novel, The awakening, we are introduced to Edna Pontellier and the changes that occur in her lifestyle and overall perception of life after a summer romance. At the start of the story, Edna is a young mother of two and the wife of a successful New Orleans businessman who while vacationing at a seaside resort with her family, becomes acquainted with Robert Lebrun, a younger man who pays her special attention. Several moonlit walks and intimate conversations with Robert spark feelings that Edna has long forgotten and when she returns to the city and her ordinary life, she just cannot seem to forget. Edna finally throws off the trappings of her old life that revolved around her devotion to family, constant attention to societal expectations, and adherence to tradition and goes ahead to explore independence in love, life, and sexual fulfillment. The main theme in this story is love that is expressed in Robert's constant devotion to Edna though Edna doesn't realize that she loves him until he leaves for Mexico. At one time Leonce had clearly loved Edna, though Edna fell out of love with him.
The theme of flesh and spirit is portrayed in Edna's rediscovery of feelings that she had long repressed and which are rekindled in her search for freedom, self-expression, and love. Her relationship with Robert Lebrun awakens all the physical needs she had already forgotten and prompts Edna to think about her life. For the first time, she begins to open up to others since she had been enclosed in somewhat of a shell in her duties as a mother and a wife and only talked to her husband about adult issues. She shares some rather personal and confidential issues about her and her love life with Robert Lebrun and Adèle Ratignolle and allows herself to be taken in by Mlle and the conversations that come with the adult talk. Letting herself loose also involved her listening and enjoying Reisz's music which also went on to bring back past memories. She goes on to have an interest in swimming and learns to swim, thus further igniting and experiencing the power of the connection between her mind and body. Finally she goes on to acknowledge her true feelings toward Robert and goes on to enjoy the perks that come with her new life.
Other themes in this story include issues related to women's search for selfhood, for self-discovery or identity. Women are the building blocks of the family unit and they should as such be treated with respect and honor. In the past their lives were dictated by traditions and had to behave in a particular way but this story shows us that if we do not treat the women in our lives with dignity and love them unconditionally, then they can leave and go on to other men who will give them the love and attention that they deserve. It is a very daring book that also touches on this very important theme that affects each and every one of us today. . Edna revolts against gender conformity and all the gender and social norms that limit what women can go on to achieve in life.