Lord Jim: Chapter 8 - Summary & Analysis

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Jim's Refusal to Help his Fellow-Officers in Saving their Own Life


      Marlow says that when Jim stood still at the thought of the immense water engulfing 'Patna', somebody pulled his coat from below. It was a pilgrim who was thirsty and wanted water. Jim rushed to get water for him. Then he saw that the skipper, along with other officers, was trying to lower a boat into the sea. He asked the skipper to save 'Patna', the skipper replied he was trying to save the white men's life. All alone, Jim found it impossible to save the ship. He wanted to help the pilgrims during this crisis and fulfill his dream of heroic deeds but he couldn't do anything. Meanwhile, when the fellow officers were involved desperately in lowering the boat, it got stuck.

      The Chief Engineer rushed to Jim and asked his help in lowering the stuck boat, but Jim pushed him away and gave him a blow when that engineer caught hold of him around the neck. The Chief engineer called him an "infernal coward" because he was not trying to save himself and the other fellow officers lives.


      This chapter presents a deeper probe into Jim's soul and makes the reader sympathize with Jim. Marlow thinks that it was Jim's imagination that paralyzed him.

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