Marlow on Jim in Patusan

  • Bernard J. Paris


Before his visit to Patusan, Marlow perceives Jim as a man who aspires to exemplify a heroic ideal but who lacks the inborn strength that ought to belong to a man of his parentage. After his jump from the Patna, Jim employs a variety of artful dodges to deny the significance of his act and to protect his idealized conception of himself. Although Marlow sees through most of these dodges, there is something in him that wants to believe in Jim’s innocence, in Jim’s dream of glory, in man’s ability to master his fate. Thus, despite his conviction that Jim is guilty and done for, he cannot bring himself “to admit the finality” (ch. 14), and he keeps taking opinions on Jim’s case. The contrasting views of people like the French lieutenant, Chester, and Stein correspond to Marlow’s own inner conflicts, which distinguish him from the more single-minded characters.


Definite View North American Literature White Speck Epic Poet Omniscient Narrator 
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© Bernard J. Paris 2005

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  • Bernard J. Paris

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