According to Marlow, Lord Jim is "one of us" - Justify

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      In the very beginning of the novel, Marlow feels an affinity when he sees Jim in the court, facing the trial. He describes Jim as "one of us". In the whole novel, Marlow remains faithful, sympathetic and friendly to Jim and the cause is his impression of Jim as "one of us". Marlow tries to get close to Jim and cultivate his friendship just because of the feeling of brotherhood, and this feeling continues to exist in him throughout the novel. There may be various interpretations of the phrase "one of us".

Marlow's Affection for a White Man (Jim)

      One apparent explanation is that Marlow likes Jim because he is a white man and an English that Marlow himself is. He feels an affection for Jim because he belongs to the same nationality and color. It is very obvious that, in foreign places, men of the same race attract each other a lot. Jim is one of those white officers who had deserted "Patna" at the moment of her collision. An inquiry is held because they had violated the code of honor. Only Jim is facing the trial and Marlow listens to his testimony in the court with much attention and interest. He gets highly impressed with Jim's earnestness, honesty; and forthrightness. He describes him as "one of us", because Jim is also a white man and an English. But if this is the right interpretation of the phrase, Marlow would have shown equal interest in other white officers of 'Patna' also.

Jim is a Man of Honour

      Another interpretation of this phrase, "one of us" is that Marlow regards Jim as a man of honor. Marlow himself is a man of honor. He gets attracted to Jim because Jim also possesses the same virtue. Here it should be made clear that all the Europeans are not men of honor. For example, the German captain of 'Patna' and the two engineers nowhere arouse our sense of honor. Though Jim, too, had deserted the ship but he jumped after a great mental turmoil, reflection and hesitation. After jumping into the life boat, he was worried for the lives of those eight hundred pilgrims sailing on 'Patna'. He felt much I regret over his act and was perpetually haunted by a sense of guilt. Thus his realization of guilt is the reason why he faces the trial. He does it to justify his point and not succumb to cowardice again. But the reaction and conduct of the other three officers is altogether very different. They did not feel any concern for the lives of the pilgrims. After reaching safely at the shore, they forgot everything. They did not feel any sense of guilt or violation of the code of honor They have even absented themselves from facing the trial. But Jim's life becomes a hell for him. He is spiritually tormented till the time he reaches a remote country, Patusan. In Patusan, he again reestablishes himself as a man of honor, but the swindler, Brown, deceives him and shoots the son of the chief, Doramin. Doramin, in anger and revenge, on seeing Jim before himself, fires at him and he dies there. Here again, we find a contrast between the two white men. Brown is without any sense of honor but Jim has a strong sense of honor.

Jim: A Symbol

      Perhaps, when Marlow uses the phrase "one of us", he means to say that Jim is a member of the human race and, therefore, he can claim our sympathy as any other, in the same situation, would. Jim is remorseful, repenting over his misconduct, thus he must be excused and treated leniently. Marlow disapproves the court's decision because it has only inquired into the superficial questions, regardless of the state in which Jim has neglected the code of honor.

      The phrase, "one of us", is applicable in all its perspectives. Jim is a member of the white race and a man of honor and sensibility. He is in contrast to the baseness of Cornelius and Brown. Being a human being, one is guilty of something or the other, in one's life. Some have reconciled to the pangs of a guilty conscience and learned to live with it, while some others, like Jim, have expressed it in order to get it out of their system. Thus, Jim is the representative of the human race that is guilty Marlow regards Jim a symbolic figure. Jim is a "universal" figure because no family name is attached to him.

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