Lord Jim: a Great Heroic Figure in the History of English Novel

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A Visionary with High Aspirations

      Jim descended from a priest family; he was one among five members. Due to his fascination for sea, he was sent to a training ship for officers of the mercantile marine. He started his career with high aspirations. Jim was of a great romantic temperament, always dreaming about himself as a hero, achieving unattainable targets, saving people from the quelling mutinies of the sea; confronting savages and pirates etc. When Marlow saw him, he was much impressed with Jim's personality. At the same time, he observed Jim as an honest and courageous being in whom one could repose his full trust. It was Jim's obsession with his dream that he missed the opportunity to prove his heroic skill during the training period.

Jim's Impulsive Act was Followed by the Sense of Guilt and Humiliation

      When 'Patna' collided, Jim, after a good deal of hesitation, and getting nothing to save 'Patna’, followed the other white officers and plunged into the life-boat to escape. The distinction lies in the fact that even after jumping, Jim could not get rid of the thought of pilgrims sailing on 'Patna'. He was not at ease but greatly troubled and distressed to leave the ship to its fate. On the other hand, rest of the white-officers were quite happy and least concerned with the lives of the eight hundred pilgrims and 'Patna'. Jim was perpetually haunted by a sense of guilt, and it was his extreme consciousness of guilt, that led him to the court for trial while the other officers absented themselves from the court. Consequently, Jim faced much humiliation and public disgrace for indulging in an act of cowardice. Court's verdict of the revoking of their certificates further aggravated his plight. Thus Jim proved a failure when he escaped from the constant chase of the feeling of guilt, disgrace and humiliation; and this was the root cause that he could not stick to one place and kept on changing places and jobs that Marlow had procured for him. Marlow was much sympathetic and helpful towards Jim. He was his great well-wisher and arranged so many jobs for Jim but Jim left them one after another due to the fear of the disclosure of stigma attached to his name.

Jim was Provided Psychological Aid by Stein

      Stein, a German merchant and most trustworthy among Marlow's friends, heard about Jim patiently and after judging Jim as a romantic, he suggested Marlow to send him to Patusan, his trading post, because this was a very distant and remote country, far from the European civilized environment. He said to Marlow that Jim was spiritually tormented because he failed to enliven his dream: Thus for the romantic man, it was good to leave him in the hands of destructive elements, where he would try to keep himself up through his own endeavors. Thus Jim should be sent to Patusan for rehabilitation and making his dream come true.

Jim's Noble Characteristics as Reflected in his Achievements at Patusan

      After crossing several hurdles, Jim reached Doramin. In Patusan, there were three parties, very much hostile to one another. First, Jim waged a war against Sherif Ali with the help of Doramin, Dain Waris and the people of Bugis community. By his devotion, gusto, intellect and energy, he succeeded to place the old cannons of Doramin at the top of the hill and led a campaign against Sherif Ali. Thus, he won the public's trust, love and respect. He achieved such a high rank that people saw him as someone who possessed supernatural powers. He became the virtual ruler of Patusan because other parties got scared of his strength and popularity. Jim was at the zenith of his career. It seemed to Marlow that he had ''mastered his fate" there. Jim was much served and loved by a Malay, Tamb Itam, and a half-breed girl, Jewel. Both were extremely devoted and faithful to him.

Jim's Tragic Flaw and Catastrophe

      An unscrupulous, notorious, ruffian invader, Brown arrived at Patusan as a refugee and was tempted to be the ruler of the country. He, madvertently, invoked the sense of dormant guilt and disgrace in Jim, and Jim became very lenient towards him. He decided to let him retreat harmlessly provided with enough food and other necessities. He trusted Brown who deceived him. He made a sudden attack on Dain Waris and his men. Dain Waris was shot dead during the battle. Thus Doramin and whole Bugis community turned hostile to him. Jim, being very sensitive, conscious and romantic, decided to surrender himself to Doramin, confessing all the responsibility of Dain Waris’s murder. Though Iamb Itam advised him to escape and Jewel told him to fight, yet Jim, inspired by the idea of fidelity, went in front of Doramin and embraced a heroic death.

Multiple Views Regarding Jim's Personality

      Few men consider Jim a dishonest and disloyal man because he forsook Jewel to enliven his romantic dream. For Marlow, he remained an enigma. For Chester, he was very sensitive who took everything to his heart. For Stein, he was a romantic. For the reader, Jim was an idealist, most sensible personality who kept aside everything in order to enliven his idea of fidelity.

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