Social Sensitivity

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea in many ways anticipated the submarine warfare that was developed in World War I and refined during World War II. The exploits of the Nautilus encourage the reader to examine how technological advances always seem to be two-edged; technology can be used to create and to destroy. Of more immediate social significance, perhaps, are the ideas Verne presents about ecology, the balance and interdependence of all things within the natural order. Verne expresses confidence that a thorough scientific understanding of nature will allow humankind to live in harmony with the environment and harvest its abundance without depleting the earth’s resources. These ideas are currently debated in issues that range from industrial pollution to destruction of the Amazonian rain forests.

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