Journey to the Center of the Earth

Journey to the Center of the Earth Literary Elements


Fiction (Classic; Science Fiction)

Setting and Context

1863; Germany, Iceland, and various regions beneath Europe

Narrator and Point of View

Axel, first person

Tone and Mood

Tone: Awestruck, fretful, excitable, incredulous
Mood: Thrilling, suspenseful, jubilant, dramatic

Protagonist and Antagonist

Protagonist: Axel, Lidenbrock; Antagonist: None

Major Conflict

Whether or not Lidenbrock and Axel will be able to follow Saknussemm's instructions and make it to the center of the Earth.


When Lidenbrock and Axel find the knife and markings of Saknussemm, information which alerts them that they are still on the right track to the center of the Earth. This revelation leads them to then blow up the opening of the gallery and shoot back up to the surface, without of course making it to the center.


-Axel says that he believes that something terrible is about to happen, and not long after he cracks the code and discovers the message regarding the journey to the center of the Earth (18).


-"So he's coming with us..." " the centre of the Earth" (Axel and Lidenbrock talking about their hired guide, whose role is vastly more important than simply coming along, 57).
-"It looks as though we are going to have some bad weather" (Axel right before the monstrous storm begins, 165).


-Galileo, hiding the revelation of Saturn's two satellites in the ring through an anagram (13).
-Oedipus and the riddle of the Sphinx (18).
-Hamlet, prince of Denmark (45).
-Lilliput from Gulliver's Travels, used to discuss the sparse foliage in Reykjavik (49).




-Lidenbrock asserts that the journey is downhill all the way because the adventurers are going to the center of the Earth. Of course, the journey cannot be structured in this manner because they must come up again if it is to be round-trip.



Metonymy and Synecdoche



-" often I had been jealous of the fate of the unfeeling stones that she had manipulated with her graceful hands!" (15).
-"Soon our schooner was lashed by the waves of the Atlantic; she had to tack against the north wind, and reached the Faroes only with some difficulty" (46).
-"We crossed thin pastures that made great efforts to be green: but yellow had more success" (61).
-"Until now things had been more tiring than difficult; but henceforth problems were literally going to spring forth under our feet" (86).