Marlow Becomes Jim’s Ally

  • Bernard J. Paris


Jim is driven to tell Marlow his story, in a narration that occupies most of six chapters, because he has an overwhelming need to escape an unbearable state of moral and emotional isolation and to obtain consensual validation of his version of events and of himself. He is not allowed to present his side at the Inquiry, and he cannot go home because he could never face his father, a parson who believes “there is only one … conduct of life” (ch. 36): “I could never explain. He wouldn’t understand” (ch. 7). Jim is looking for someone who will be able to enter into the special circumstances of his case and believe that his moral identity has not been forever defined by his jump. As Marlow says, he is looking for “an ally, a helper, an accomplice” (ch. 8).


Moral Identity Clean Slate Fellow Officer Consensual Validation Moral Atmosphere 
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© Bernard J. Paris 2005

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  • Bernard J. Paris

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