Significance of 'Patusan' Episode in the Novel Lord Jim

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Jim's Accomplishments in Patusan

      When Jim was sent to Patusan by Stein, for rehabilitation, he felt great spiritual contentment there. He tried his best to start life on a clean slate. When he arrived at Patusan, he had to cross several deadly hurdles to reach Doramin whom he was sent to. There were three hostile parties in Patusan. Their antagonistic attitude to one another often manifested in bloodshed, violence, robbery; riot etc. The chiefs of these parties were: Doramin, Sherif Ali and Rajah Allang. Rajah Allang and his men imprisoned Jim but, through ingenuity and energy, Jim succeeded in rushing away from there and, ultimately, fell into the lap of Doramin who received him with great hospitality and enthusiasm. Now he led a campaign against Sherif Ali. He placed the old cannons of Doramin on the top of the hill and attacked Sherif Ali's headquarters. This successful campaign made him a distinguished personality. People began to believe that Jim had some supernatural powers. Thus they started worshipping him. Doramin's son, Dain Waris became most intimate to Jim and he reposed his full confidence and trust in him. Jim, thus, reached the highest rank of love, trust and respect. To Marlow, it seemed that he had mastered his fate. Jim, in Patusan, told Marlow: "Look at those houses; there's not one where I'm not trusted...Leave! No. On my word, I must feel-every day, every time I open my eyes-that I am trusted-that nobody has a right-don't you know? Leave! What for? To get what?"

Jim's Love Affair

      Jim's romantic nature is evident not only from his adventures and enterprises, but also could be seen in his love with a girl, Jewel. Jewel was the step-daughter of Cornelius whom Jim had replaced in Patusan. His love for Jewel was very intense, passionate, ardent and pure but Jewel always felt an inexplicable insecurity in her love because Lord Jim she believed in the fact that every westerner, one day; would go back to his country and did not stay life long at the place where they were sent. She had been always assured by Jim that he would never forsake her. This was not a rhetorical expression of Jim's love but he seriously meant that. Marlow also believed in the truth that nobody would be able to separate Jim from Jewel. If Jim had lived, indeed, he would have continued to stand by Jewel life long.

The Villains-Cornelius and Brown

      Cornelius was jealous of Jim, rather he was hostile towards him because Jim had robbed him of his job, and later on, his stepdaughter. He tried to extract some money from Jim but all was in vain. He told Marlow that Jim had snatched away his daughter from him. He wanted Jim to give some money because he would have to look after Jewel when Jim would go back to his country. But Jim had never taken Cornelius seriously. Now Cornelius was looking for an opportunity to defame Jim. When Brown, an invader and a fugitive, reached Patusan, Cornelius instigated him against Jim. He tempted Brown to replace Jim and, for this, he had to ruin Jim. Brown was an ambitious man and he was stirred by this temptation. He, thus, violated the code of honor and 'moral'. He made an attack on Dain Waris and Bugis community when they agreed to let him retreat harmlessly. Thus, Dain Waris was shot dead. Jim's prestige and name crumbled into pieces and he turned into an enemy for Patusan people. Though Cornelius was not spared, and was killed by Tamb Itam, yet he had succeeded in his plan.

      Doramin felt heart-broken when the dead body of Dain Waris was put in front of him. Everybody turned hostile to Jim perceiving him as being entirely responsible for the death of Dain Waris. Jim had never anticipated his fellow Englishman to betray him like that.

      Brown's mention of something 'fishy' in Jim's life reminded him (Jim) of his misconduct during 'Patna's' accident and all the guilt, disgrace and humiliation came back. Thus he turned very soft and lenient to Brown and persuaded everybody to let him, with his fellows, retreat harmlessly. But Brown was instigated by Cornelius and made an attack on the Patusan people.

Jim's Heroic Death

      When everybody was full of fury against Jim, Iamb Itam advised Jim to escape; and Jewel told him to fight against them. But Jim found nothing to fight for. His world had crumbled down. Jewel tried her best to remind Jim of his promise that he would never leave her but Jim paid no attention to her. He has resolved to confess everything in front of Doramin. He was not disturbed by Jewel's tears. He left everybody and went in front of Doramin. Doramin, without any hesitation, raised his hand and fired at Jim. Jim was lying dead there. We must not misunderstand Jim's death as an act of foolishness or a coward's death. Jim's conscience had not permitted him to escape from danger, nor did he want to disown the responsibility of Dain Waris's murder. He wanted to follow the dictates of the conscience and thus, being a romantic, daringly and fearlessly confronted Doramin and embraced death.

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