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    The Importance of Scientific Education Essay

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    “We may brave human laws, but we cannot resist natural ones.’ Jules Verne would spend his life, however, imagining worlds where all natural laws were broken. His works, writings, and short stories contained tales of adventure like no man before him. Thanks to his extensive writing and playwright career spanning over fifty years, science fiction has become the epitome of written imagination and spurred numerous movies, television shows, and other forms of media that we enjoy today. Through his writings, Verne takes his readers through a labyrinth of dark underground tunnels to the center of the Earth, in a deep-sea expedition fighting off a giant squid, and in rocket ship blasting off Moon.

    These stories were not mere speculations and blasphemous attempts at fictional stories with a ‘hint’ of science. They were the exact opposite- Verne explained every phenomenon of even the slightest fictional sense. The following is a short excerpt from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, in which the captain of a seemingly impossible submarine explains (in detail) part of how it navigates the seas: Then, when the Nautilus is afloat under these circumstances, one-tenth is out of the water. Now, if I have made reservoirs of a size equal to this tenth, or capable of holding 150 tons, and if I fill them with water, the boat, weighing then 1,507 tons, will be completely immersed. That would happen, professor. These reservoirs are in the lower part of the Nautilus.

    I turn on taps, and they fill, and the vessel sinks that had just been level with the surface. (Verne 549-550) As the excerpt shows, he was deeply invested in keeping his stories realistic. His love for science and its relationship with imagination that drove him have such as unique style that is loved and cherished today. The bustling port city of Nantes served as an ironic statement to Jules Verne’s conservative, uniform lifestyle that his family imposed on him. Born on February 28, 1828, Verne was brought up by a prosperous attorney father, Pierre, and his mother, Sophie. As a child, Verne heard tales of far-off lands and expeditions from sailors who would stop at the docks. Even so, Pierre intended for his son to share his profession, and sent him to Paris to extend his studies.

    It was not a career in law that he would find in Paris, but rather a dominant culture of writers, playwrights, and artists. Secretly, he began preparing for a career as an author, even becoming friends with Victor Hugo, Georgia Sand, and Alexandre Dumas. They encouraged him to pursue his passion; much to his dismay, however, it would be long before his career took off (Verne VII). After marrying a widow named Honorine de Viane Morel, he temporarily found work as a stockbroker to support her. Encouraged by his wife’s brother, who was also a stockbroker, he embraced the profession and made his living at the Paris Exchange (Stableford). Although quite successful, Verne despised the work and was eager to move on with his writing career. Having established a means of further financial support, the couple would later go on to have their only son, Michel.

    Verne and his wife soon made the first of many trips outside of France, this particular trip being to the British Isles. This eventually spurred him to write Backwards to Britain (“Jules Verne”). While this was not published until his death, it served as the beginning of a series that would be inspired by all of his travels around the world. Because of this, his stories have a remarkably realistic feel to it, as they had been journal accounts of some heroic traveler. It was not until 1862, when he met Pierre-Jules Hetzel, that his career gained traction in the literary world. Hetzel was one of the leading publishers in Paris at that time, having already published the works of his famous friends. He took an interest in Verne’s combination of fiction and scientific education, eventually publishing his book, Five Weeks in a Balloon.

    This would be the first of a collection of tales that would later be called his Voyages Extraordinaires. Under this new mentor and essential father figure, Verne rapidly gained popularity and a steady living. Hetzel guided the young author in the competitive publishing world, and would be essential to his starting success; however, he also provided the aspiring author with a fair amount of criticism. Hetzel even went as far as to reject a finished novel for being too forward-thinking on the risks of technology (“Jules Verne”). Since he was the one to bring him into his newfound fame and wealth, Verne did not question much of what his publisher told him. Despite his quoted generosity, the publisher was holding Verne back as an author with decidedly controversial views. Also, Hetzel made an estimated five times more than him for every book published; this unfairness argues that the continuous nature of the partnership was a colossal mistake on Verne’s part (Stableford).

    As Verne gradually became the face of the European fiction writer, he steadily tried to escape it all. Verne was a shy person, even as a child, and in fact, one of the reasons he began writing was to escape his overwhelming life. While his wife revelled in the explosive fame, his introverted personality traits would prove to be exceedingly difficult to balance with his career. As a result, he bought a ship and sailed all around the world with his wife. These trips allowed him to relax outside of the busy city life, while also providing him with time to imagine his next adventure. The stress of writing multiple novels within a year’s timespan and handling the fame eventually gave him a facial paralysis that would have to be relieved through electric shock treatment. Unfortunately, his arguably darker years would be yet to come, with his changing ideologies and feelings deeply affecting his works. The next few years would be a blur of hit novels, such as Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, Around the Moon, and Around the World in Eighty Days (later appearing outside of Hetzel’s literary magazine).

    Verne’s career slowly took a turn for the worse, and slowly his deteriorating life resulted in a decline of the once popular novels with brilliant professors and brave explorers. His son, Michel grew up as a delinquent, living a rebellious lifestyle and distancing himself from parents. As a father, he most likely faced a challenging dilemma of whether to let Michel roam free as he would have wanted as a child or to ensure his son a straight and lawful career. His son buried himself in debts, married against his father’s wishes, among other things. Regardless, Brian Stableford states, ‘When he finally settled down, however, he and his father were reconciled.

    Michel’s third son, Jean Jules-Verne, eventually became one of Verne’s biographers’ (Stableford). This, was, unfortunately, of few positive conclusions to a problem in his life. An attempted take on his life by his nephew Gaston not only injured the esteemed writer’s foot and gave him a limp, but also scarred the family image. Despite pursuing local politics towards the end of his life, Verne continued more and more into decline, both in popularity and health. As with most authors, his works reflected his troubled life. While in the past he had strongly advocated for the use and spread of new inventions and technologies, his late works displayed a slightly different viewpoint. Books such as Propellor Island and Master of the World gave a pessimistic argument against technology, bringing to light the dangers which he predicted. Unfortunately, his last few books would only sell around ten thousand copies while he was still alive, and the world did not yet get to hear about the astounding, even ground-breaking thoughts that Verne had for his time. Verne’s determination and sheer grit through hard times proved to be beneficial time and time again. While most would give up in a declining career and with failing health, he continued writing.

    In this way, he was able to live the last few years of life in serenity, allowing to continue following his passion. Jules Verne finally passed away at his residence in the city of Amiens. The year was 1905, but his legacy was far from over. Thanks to the great dedication of his family members, as well as determined Verne historians, his works would be translated and spread around the world. Although he had died nowhere as famous and wealthy as he was during the peak of his career, Verne left behind a remarkable number of contributions. With nearly 100 novels, short stories, and plays, translated into 148 different languages, he is one of the most widespread authors of all time (even exceeding Shakespeare).

    He predicted not only numerous future technological advancements, but also influenced top scientists and inventors of the modern era, such as Robert Goddard (Father of Rocketry), Edwin Hubble (renowned astronomer), Igor Sikorsky (Inventor of Helicopter), and Simon Lake (submarine designer). Despite his amazing feats of writing, technological prediction, and lasting legacy, Verne still humbly said that ‘I have invented nothing’ (Sherard) and that he only wished to depict the Earth in all its adventurous glory. He most certainly succeeded.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    The Importance of Scientific Education Essay. (2019, Feb 15). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/the-importance-of-scientific-education-essay-110101/

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