Lord Jim: Chapter 7 - Summary & Analysis

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Jim's Account of Life and More Light over 'Patna' Issue


      Marlow tells his friends that, under the influence of wine, Jim becomes frank and open in his talk to him, at dinner, in Malabar Hotel. Jim has, here, given a great account of his parentage, early life and also the 'Patna' affair. Marlow gets highly attracted to Jim's blue eyes, looking straight into his eyes. When Marlow asks him about the pain he faced during the inquiry, Jim replies it was as painful to him as life must be in hell. Then Marlow further asks why he didn't escape from the inquiry as the others did, Jim answers that his intention was not like them. Then he continues that this affair would have been published in every newspaper and it might have caused much pain to his father who is a clergy and who has great expectations from him. How could his son run away and not perform his duty merely to save his skin. He also reveals the difficulty of getting a job anywhere because his certificates have been cancelled and this news has become so popular among the people that it causes severe humiliation to him.

      Regarding the 'Patna' incident, Jim states that something had struck the ship and, at the thought of Patna sinking into the sea and seeing the leakage, four of the five officers escaped into a boat. After sometime, a passing steamer had rescued these officers and the skipper told them that 'Patna' had sunk into the sea. Inspite of finding something fishy in the skipper's information, they rescued all the four officers. They didn't try to probe into the matter. On 'Patna' seeing such a danger, Jim was almost paralyzed. He didn't find it sensible to awaken the 800 pilgrims because there were only seven lifeboats with a capacity of carrying only two hundred pilgrims. He thought if he would awaken them, there would be a mad rush on the 'Patna' and this would take no time for 'Patna' to sink. He told, at that time he was not scared of his death but was thinking about those eight hundred pilgrims. He was almost stuck to his place, feeling helpless.


      This chapter throws much light over Jim's psychology. Jim's parentage and early life is fully revealed and narrated by Marlow.

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