Mankind's power to overcome adversities | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 18, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:50 AM, July 18, 2016

Classics Corner

Mankind's power to overcome adversities


The novel “Mysterious Island” by Jules Verne is an adventure fiction which mixes mystery with mankind's power to overcome hostile circumstances. It was first published in 1874 written in a classical narrative form. This is really exhilarating for me to review this book after 150 years of its publication. Certainly, its writer Jules Verne has been successful that people still remember his works with honour which are still alive and unquestionably entertaining.     

“Mysterious Island” indeed explores and spreads the pleasure of imagination in the minds of readers. If readers want to have a ride on a balloon over the oceans and fall on an unknown, remote island thousands of miles away from home, they will find this book thrilling enough!

During the American Civil War two men Engineer Cyrus Harding and journalist Gideon Spilett imprisoned for working against slavery escape from Richmond by an air balloon with three helpful followers and a dog and crash down on an undiscovered island in south pacific. They name the island after President Lincoln. As the novel progresses they explore and develop their needs with the great intelligence of Captain Harding and with the help of an unforeseen force. They find this unforeseen force following them since their arrival and save them from troubles. This phenomenon remains a mystery to them until Captain Nemo dramatically appears with his submarine Nautilus towards the end.

This book gives the readers a glimpse of development of human civilization and struggle of mankind with adverse nature. The logical scientific explanation behind every creation of Captain Harding from lighting fire to making dynamites is surprising and sounds close to reality which includes educative elements in the story. The scenario of nature and natural disasters Jules Verne portrays through his narrative quality is an evidence of his masterful storytelling expertise. The islanders fight with Orangutans, pirates, wild animals and these things make the novel more adventurous and interesting.

From saving Captain Harding to providing quinine for Herbert, the islanders get the help of an unforeseen force which keeps the readers guessing till the end. The ending part reveals all mysteries and islanders meet the mysterious old man Captain Nemo under the sea in Nautilus. Captain Nemo had earlier appeared in Verne's 20000 Leagues Under the Sea. At the end of the book, the islanders are rescued by another ship.

The determination inside Captain Harding's mind reflects the potentiality of human beings that they can do anything they dream of if they can explore their hidden power. Moreover, this novel bears a theme of colonialism through the occupation of the island by Captain Harding and his companions. Captain Nemo is the prime attraction of the book who spends an isolated life in his submarine equipped with sophisticated features. The wonderful blend of technology, primitiveness and mankind's unique  power is another striking angle of this novel.


The reviewer is a student at the Department of Media and Communication, Independent University, Bangladesh. 

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