Lord Jim

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A novel by J. Conrad, published 1900.

Jim is chief mate on board the Patna, an ill‐manned ship carrying a party of pilgrims in Eastern waters. He is young, idealistic, and a dreamer of heroic deeds. When the Patna threatens to sink and the cowardly officers escape in the few lifeboats, Jim despises them, but dazed by the horror of the moment he joins them. The Patna does not sink and the pilgrims are rescued. What happens to Jim thereafter is related by an observer, Marlow. Jim, alone among the crew, remains to face the court of enquiry. Condemned by the court, he tries to disappear. Through Marlow's intervention Jim is sent to a remote trading station in Patusan. His efforts create order and well‐being in a previously chaotic community and he wins the respect and affection of the people for whom he becomes Tuan—or Lord Jim. When Gentleman Brown and his gang of thieves arrive to plunder the village Jim begs the chiefs to spare them, pledging his own life against their departure. But Brown behaves treacherously and a massacre takes place. Jim feels he has only one course of action; rejecting the idea of flight he delivers himself up to Chief Doramin whose son was a victim of the massacre. Doramin shoots him and Jim willingly accepts this honourable death.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

Joseph Conrad (1857—1924) master mariner and author

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