Critically Examine the Death of Jim in Lord Jim

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Brown's Betrayal of Jim's Trust

      When Jim reaches Patusan, he succeeds in rehabilitating himself there. He achieves a rank almost worthy of worship. Everybody loves him, pays respect to him and trusts him. But Jim cannot enjoy it for very long. Once, when he was in the interior of the country, Brown, the invader and an illegal element, arrives there with a group of men. He is instigated by Cornelius who is very much hostile towards Jim. Brown's own devilish nature, coupled with the instigation of Cornelius, makes him betray the trust of Jim. Though Jim has allowed him to retreat harmlessly, provided with enough food, he attacks the men of Dain Waris who were hidden there to face Brown, but they were forbidden, by Jim, to attack. Brown, with the help of Cornelius, unexpectedly makes an attack from the narrow channel on Dain Waris and the men of Bugis community In this attack, everyone scatters hither and thither and Dain Waris is shot dead. The death of Dain Waris results in the excessive hostility, of Bugis community and Doramin, towards Jim. Everybody thinks Jim responsible for the death of Dain Waris because he had allowed Brown to retreat with the trust that his men would not harm the natives. When the news of Brown's attack reaches Jim through Tamb Itam, he realizes that he has misjudged the character of Brown and thus committed a blunder.

Doramin's Bereavement Over the Death of Dain Waris

      When the dead body of Dain Waris is placed in front of Doramin, he stares at his son's dead body for a few seconds and then bursts into a shriek of anger and pain. It resounds like the roar of a wounded bull. It fills the heart of everybody with great fear. At this fierce cry, all the women of the household shriek together and begin to lament over the death of Dain Waris.

Jim avoids Fight

      When Tamb Itam interprets the news of the town to Jim, that almost everybody is weeping and full of anger, he indicates the probability of attack on Jim by the men of Bugis community. Jim asks what is there to fight for, Tamb Itam replies he has to fight for his life which is in danger. At this, Jim says that he has no life to defend. Iamb Itam coaxes him to escape from the country but Jim gives no reply to him. Nobody was able to guess the motives of Jim. When Jewel meets him, she also urges him to fight but Jim finds nothing to fight for. He wants to prove his power in an extraordinary manner. He steps into the courtyard and Jewel follows him. He orders his men to open the gates and go away to their residences. When they ask how long they shall remain away, Jim replies that for the whole life. This shows that he had no intention to fight against anybody.

The Rumour Among Patusan Public

      Everybody's heart is filled with fear and doubt. A rumor spreads among them that the intruders will be back very soon in large numbers and will kill everybody. Thus everybody seems in an awful premonition, full of fear and apprehension.

The State of Jewel, Jim and Tamb Itam

      In the evening, Jim turns to Tamb Itam and says, "Time to finish this." He means that now the time has come to end all the suspense and carry out the plan that he has formed in himself. Jewel asks him whether he would fight. He says there is nothing to fight for. Then, she asks him if he would try to escape, Jim says that there is no place and possibility of escape; she then asks if he is inclined to face Doramin and the consequences of Dain Waris's death, Jim replies that he has resolved to do that. Jewel shouts at this: "You are mad or false." She fails to understand his mind because it is quite clear that Doramin would avenge his son's death. She, then, tries to make Jim recall the promise that he would never leave her or Patusan but Jim says that he is not worth living. What he means is that his world is crumbled down and he has lost his reputation and prestige, in Patusan. Now, Jim moves to surrender himself in front of Doramin and Jewel starts laughing in an insane manner. She stops laughing suddenly and asks him again to defend himself. This time Jim replies that nothing can touch him. Jewel runs after him and, flinging herself against his chest, and arms around his neck, she begins to sob on his shoulder. She tells him that he belongs to her and she would not let him go; but finally she fails to prevent Jim.

The Tragic end of Jim

      That evening, the sky appears very angry and a cyclone passes within sixty miles of the coast. Jim is going to Doramin and after sometime, he confronts him. Doramin raises his hand and fires at him, killing Jim.

Critical Comments

      Nowhere has it been made clear what Jim expected out of Doramin. When he says to Jewel that nothing can touch him, he seems to form an opinion that Doramin would forgive him for his great services which he has rendered to the Bugis community. But, after living with the Bugis for three years, he could have very well understood that the father of a murdered son would not spare the life of a man who is responsible for the murder of his son.

To Sum Up

      Jim's death is a perfect and praiseworthy end of the novel, though it is surely a tragic end.

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