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Lord Jim


This compact novel, completed in 1900, as with so many of the great novels of the time, is at its baseline a book of the sea. An English boy in a simple town has dreams bigger than the outdoors and embarks at an early age into the sailor's life. The waters he travels reward him with the ability to explore the human spirit, while Joseph Conrad launches the story into both an exercise of his technical prowess and a delicately crafted picture of a character who reaches the status of a literary hero.

The hero of this book suffers from a guilty conscience brought on by cowardice. Nevertheless, as the story progresses, the reader can identify and sympathize with his very human actions in difficult circumstances and will him to find a way for absolution. The journey this man embarks on is actually courageous but fate is against him and whatever adventure befalls him and how many times his courage saves himself and others, the publicity of his past mistakes never dies until one day, thinking he is safe from further recriminations, he makes a promise...--Submitted by Anonymous.

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Recent Forum Posts on Lord Jim

Jim's friendship

I read Lord Jim long time ago when I was in college. It was a hard reading, but I loved the book. The discussion in this forum reminds me of the book. There is a part of Jim's friendship with Dain Waris, the kampung chief's son, right? I am interested in looking deeper into the relationship. I recalled it is interesting since it's between two different races, a Westener and an Asian. From postcolonial theory, is there any sign of 'otherness'? Or Jim is 'the other' in this case?:p

Can anyone help?

I admit that at my first attempt to read this book, I was completly confused by it, and had the most difficult time figuring out what the heck was going on and what was suppose to be happening, I think I only got to maybe the 3rd chapter before I was just like forget it and stopped reading, but I have been considering trying again. Though sometimes I wonder if I will regeret that choice. But well the things that had the most difficulty with initially, was first, tracking the story, as it seemed to be jumping all over the place, and I could not figure out what was happening now, what already happerend, and just what was going on. And this kept bugging me, but is Lord Jim suppose to be African American, or White? I could never figure that one out and kept going back and forth between the two.

Lord Jim

I read this book in my A.P. English class. We as a class felt that Conrad used way too much imagery and the detail went on and on. Jim is beyond flawed. Many of us felt he should have used the revolver on himself instead of the assassins. Jim just kept running from his fate, but in reality, Jim was running from himself. The readers know that he can not run from himself because he goes too.

Lord Jim

What was the name of the east asian island which differed by only one letter from the name of the boat that the hero deserts in a storm?


I wonder whether this book is really to be read in as optimistic a light as that in which some of your contributors appear to have understood it?

It seems to me that Conrad's novel is tragic in form, and that Jim is a flawed character, of the type which Aristotle famously defined as requisite to true tragedy.

What is interesting about Jim is that the flaw, in his case, lies in his romantic idealism.

He is, as the older, and more world-weary narrator emphasises, deeply romantic, highly imaginative, and extremely idealistic.

The reader is given to understand that the narrator, at least, regards these qualities, on which so much store is sometimes set, as being of at least doubtful value.

However natural they are to youth, they are, in themselves, not only an obstacle to a true understanding of the world, but treacherous to the exercise of practical virtue.

Jim is inarticulate, self-obsessed, easily duped, and ultimately destroyed by his tendency to refer everything around him to the way in which he perceives himself.

There is a tension in the book between the codes by which ordinary and unsung men live their lives of duty and self-sacrifice, and the ambitions of those who, in their own view at least, transcend the rules because they are born to a higher destiny. It seems to me that Conrad is sensitive to the strengths and limitations of both value systems, and that the current of the book takes the form of a debate in which the one is not necessarily preferred to the other.

It seems to me too that those who want to see Jim's ultimate fate as a vindication of his honour need to think about the price that more than one other person in the book ends up having to pay for it.

The moral may well be that romantic idealists are dangerous to themselves, and to those around them - a view that those raised on the virtues propounded by the Hollywood school of heroism may find hard to accept, but which those who have lived life in dangerous trades - and CXIX sea-faring was such a trade - may well regard as all but self-evident.

A bit of decency, humility and respect for others is perhaps the best we can really hope for in life - the tragedy is that the practice of these virtues is very much more difficult than at first appears.

No Subject

I like the character of Lord Jim because he is brave, idealist and a romantic. He dies for his ideals.

Lord Jim

I've been listening to Lord Jim on tape--quite a challenge. I agree that the book does start out strange and frustrating but grows more tractable and even memorable as it develops. Sometimes doing other things while listening to it distracts from significant details and profound insights. I am sorry for this but, nevertheless, glad for what I am gleaning from the book: thought-provoking glimpses into the contradictory realities of human nature.

No Subject

I have tried to read this books several times when I was younger, but I could not finished it. The subject of the book, about a man that has loose his honnor by an accident, is something that atract young people, because at this age all of us want to prove that we are a hero and not a coward. But the fact that sometimes the net of fate could come and destroy all of our dreams is something really scary. I have to face some shipwrecks on my life to turn my attention to this book again, but I had to begin with Heart of Darkness and Amy Foster. The first one is smaller in the number of pages (not in substance), and the follow is for a best start point. Both inspired good movies what could bring the subject more atractive. Well, Lord Jim is my lasting temptation, and I am trying to read it now. Although it has a good movie version, with Peter O Toole, that is for me one of his best acting, it is very difficult to find it on VCR format. I wish to watch it again to remind my first impression, that influence all my life. I promise that when I get the end of this word-by-word well-written book, I will come back again and will show you all my view.

Where is Patusan

Is Patusan even a real place? Was it ever a real place? I know sometimes Conrad changes names for the story's sake. Is this one of those times? I can not find it in Encarta Virtual Globe, which will list almost any little island, town, or provice that exists.
if you can help, please email me.

patna+ us. general...

i ve read some comments, and noticed that some said the island patusan differed from the name of the ship, the Patna, only by 2 letters.

and have you also noticed that these letters form the word "us"?

surely a reference to Jim, who is described by Marlow, the narrator, as "one of us".

can we suppose it s to make the reader think that even if jim goes far away in a remote island, he s still one of the seamen? (or one of the Men, simply?)

and this would contradict the verdict in court, which deprives jim from his seaman certificate.

i d like to have some discussions about the book. don t hesitate to email me!!

greetings from france!

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