Man's Future Lies in his ability to Harmonize the Claims: in Lord Jim

Also Read

"Man's future lies in his ability to harmonize the claims of the ideal and the factual. It is through this that he can be himself" How far is this dictum significant with regard to Jim's life?


      This dictum has a very important bearing upon Jim's life and career. It is not only significant in the case of Jim but in the life of everybody. A man is not expected to do anything or achieve anything in his life unless he carefully blends the factual and ideal, the physical and spiritual or, in other words, action with imagination. Imagination is the creative aspect of human being's character and action is the mechanical aspect. A man should be sufficiently imaginative to plan his life but he needs to be active also to put that imagination or idea into action. It is sure he has to exert himself in order to enliven his dream.

Conrad's views upon spiritual and physical aspect of man's life

      By the spiritual aspect of human being, Conrad means the theoretical part of one's life, and material or physical aspect refers to action and endeavor through which one achieves success in his life. To live successfully means the achievement of harmony in action and imagination. If one's ideas are highly romantic or speculative, he is likely to lose his right path in his action. He will not succeed to translate his ideas exactly into action, thus, for a successful life this harmony between thought and action is required.

Jim, Excessively Romantic

      As far as Jim and his career are concerned, his characteristic flaw is his excessive romanticism, sentiments and extreme sensibility towards his guilt. We do not regard Jim as a wrong doer and sinner when, at the eleventh hour, he jumps from 'Patna' in order to save his own life. When 'Patna' has collided, after a good deal of hesitation and mental conflict, Jim plunges into a boat, leaving behind eight hundred pilgrims to their destiny. But the moment he leaves 'Patna', his soul is perpetually haunted by the sense of guilt Though, for Jim, it was impossible to save the ship and its pilgrims, yet he unnecessarily troubles himself with extreme consciousness of his guilt which is not worthy to be called a guilt, it was his discretion and we know this saying very well that discretion is better than valor. Jim is perhaps suffering from egoism and individualism. This egotism and individualism robs him of the power of judgment and action, and this is the reason why he is considered by few critics a man of no action and a man of sheer romantic temperament. If Jim would not have been a dreamer he, could have never achieved much success in Patusan - he could have never won the heart of Patusanians. It is not right to say that Jim has become immortal after surrendering himself in front of Doramin who shot him dead, and it is far more erroneous to consider him that he dies to live like a martyr or a hero.


      There is no denying the fact that Jim is a great hero but he has also the tragic flaw of excessively pondering over something that does not require such attention. Due to this fatal drawback, he fails to understand Brown, Cornelius and Jewel also. Sense of individuality and egoism has so blinded him that he commits blunders at crucial moments and this has directed him towards his tragic end.

Previous Post Next Post