Lord Jim


Lord Jim Essay, Research Paper

Summer Reading Project

Lord Jim

The main character of Lord Jim is none other then, Jim. He is also referred to as Lord Jim and Tuan Jim. Jim’s main goal in life is to be understood by someone, anyone at all. Jim does a lot of day dreaming. His dreams consist of a hero (him) performing some kind of a heroic act. But despite all the day dreaming, he never does perform his Heroic deed. When Jim had the chance to perform his first heroic deed, he failed. He was on a ship, transporting pilgrims, but when the ship was hit by an object in the water, he and the other shipmates fled for their own lives. Jim is about thirty years old, and he can t ever forget or run away from his failure on his first sailing assignment. Jim does receive his greatness by becoming the Trade manager on a remote-trading island. There he finds his lover, his best friend, and settles a war between the people of the island and their so-called leader. But despite all the good that has happened for him, he is confronted with another situation when a sort of pirate arrives at the Island. He, himself, stays inactive in the fight between his people and the pirate, so he sends his best friend to do the fighting. His friend fails and is later killed because of a mis-comunication. Jim takes responsibility for his death, and is in turn killed by his friend s father.

Marlow is an interesting character in the book. He is the narrator of the whole story. Like Jim, He can not escape his past mistake from the Pitna (first sailing assignment). Marlow cannot escape meeting people who have something to do with Jim. Marlow first sees Jim at a trial for Jim and his shipmates. He is interested in Jim and his story. Marlow has pity on Jim and tries to help him jump back from his bad luck with the Pitna. Marlow does not get all of his information directly from observing Jim, but rather from word of mouth, and from people who have been involved with Jim, and his circumstances.

Stein is a trading post kingpin. His origins are from Germany, but was forced to leave because of his involvement in revolutionary activities. Stein sends Jim to the island Patusan, to take control of the situation. With the island in turmoil, it is not good for business. Like Marlow, Stein has pity on Jim because of his past bad luck. Stein also collects butterflies and beetles, and so uses them in his analogies for everything.

Next is Doramin. He is the chief of the Bugis, and is an old wise man. He personally knows Stein because they both were war-comrades . Doramin saves Jim after Rajah Allang captures him. Doramin is also Dain Waris father, and kills Jim because of his bad judgement that got Dain Waris killed.

Dain Waris is Jim s best friend and second in command in Patusan. Also he is the son of Doramin, chief of the Bugis. He leads the initial attack on Gentlemen Brown when he (Brown) firsts arrives on the island. He fails in his attempt to get Mr. Brown to leave the island. Later on while he and his men are waiting for Brown to pass by to make sure that they leave the island. He is attacked from behind by Brown and is shot in the forehead and killed. Jim goes to Doramin to offer himself as a sacrifice, because of Dain s death.

Now lets talk about Jim s lover, Jewel. She meets him when he takes the job as trading post manager. Jewel has a fear that whoever she falls in love with will leave her. Because that is her and her mothers past history with men, she makes Jim promise that he will never ever leave her. After Dain s death she encourages Jim to fight for his life, because she doesn t want him to leave her, but Jim tells her that he would not be worth having unless he did leave her. So he goes and makes amends by being killed by Dain s father, Doramin. Jewel is heart broken and leaves the island because she no longer has Jim to protect her.

Last but not least is the bad guy of the story, Gentleman Brown. He is a pirate who has had problems with the Spanish Government. He flees to Patusan hoping to steal provisions. Although he has been forewarned against stealing from the Bugis, he arrives at the island and tries to steal from them. He is first confronted by Dain Waris and his men. Gentleman Brown negotiates for his life with Jim, and because he is also a white man, he is able to leave the island without any harm to him or his men. As he is leaving, he comes across false information that leads him to believe that Jim will attack him while he is leaving. He takes a detoured route and comes up behind Dain Waris and his men, and surprise attacks them and kills Dain Waris. He escapes from the island only to be caught by the Spanish government. He bribes his way out of jail only to die a long and painful death soon afterwards. On his deathbed he tells Marlow what happened at Patusan, but does not reveal how Jim died.


There are many possible themes in the book Lord Jim. The most present theme is Jim s stuggle against himself and the choices he has made. He dreams and longs to be known as a hero, but the time he spends dreaming he loses the opportunity to make his dreams come true. For example, while on the Patna, he misses his opportunity to make the right choice of staying on the ship and saving the Pilgrim s lives. His failure in doing so follows him wherever he goes. He fears anyone that knows of his failure and so, while at any job whenever someone comes into port that knows of his dark past he immediately quits and leaves so that he does not have to face reality. Instead of confronting and facing up to his mistake, he runs and contemplates over it, which only makes matters worse. When he thinks about the past, the future is not in perspective, and the correct choices that need to be made to provide a better future are pushed aside and not paid attention to. This theme ends up killing Jim at the end of the book. While he is facing the future and trying to decide on the plan of action that is best to take against Brown, he is still struggling over his dark failure. He makes a bad choice and as a result gets his best friend killed. So for the first time in his life he makes the correct decision because he is no longer thinking about his past, but about his friend s death, and in doing so makes the correct choice to take responsibility for and faces it. Even though the choice he makes kills him, he ownes up to his mistake instead of running from it.

A New Ending

This new twist to the story begins right before the part of when Jim sends Tamb Itam to notify Dain of the new information:

Jim takes the advice of Jewel and does not take active command of the army. While Jim is looking over a map, he receives word from Doramin that he agrees, and will allow Brown to pass and leave unharmed. Unable to find Tamb Itam he decides to go and tell Dain Waris of the news. But, in his quick exit he forgets the silver ring in his tent. When he arrives at Dain s camp he is tells him to allow Brown to pass by unharmed. Dain relieves his men, all except three of them. Those three are positioned in trees so that Dain and Jim can be notified of Brown s arrival. Jim quickly decides to have all weapons hidden and put away.

When the surprise attack comes from Brown many men are killed. Dain is shot in the leg and Jim remains unharmed since he stays inside the main tent. He stays there because of his promise to Jewel to stay inactive. He is brought out, tied, and is questioned as to why he went back on his word. When he responds, Gentlemen Brown does not believe him. But because he is a romantic and compassionate man, he decides to free Jim and Dain Waris. Brown s reasoning behind this is that he knows that now nothing can stop him from taking over the island, especially with the help of the Rajah Alling. He warns Jim that if he comes across him again that he will kill him. It is at that moment that he realizes that he left his ring back a the compound. With that ring comes power. If Brown gets his hands on it there is no telling what he could do. He tells Dain to give him his weapon and to head back to the compound as fast as possible. He also gives him the instructions to try and contact the Spanish Government and tell them that Gentlemen Brown is here. While Dain heads back to the compound, Jim sneaks up on Brown and is able to get one shot off to try and kill him. He halfway succeeds. He hits Brown in the side but Brown is still alive. His wound is a fatal one and he commands his men to chase after Jim and kill him. Jim flees back to the compound of his men while the pirates are hot on his trail. Jim reaches the post just in time and is able to be protected inside its walls. While his men fight the pirates, he finds the silver ring from Stein and places it on his finger. He has taken back his promise to stay inactive in the fight. He takes up his weapons, and heads out to fight. When he opens the gates he realizes that the men are at a stand still. When the men separate, out of the crowd appears Brown, being carried by two of his officers. He is placed before Jim and has an interesting discussion. Brown tells Jim the whole entire setup, and to be careful of the Rajah.. Just as he dies he says forget about your past, you have a bright future here. Fight for it, and live for it. Don t let anyone tell you different. Then with his last breath he says the people are needy, they need a King, Take the throne Lord . And at that point he dies. Jim thinks about what has just taken place, about the past, and the future. He realizes what Brown has told him is true. From that day forward, the island of Patusan was never the same. Nor would it be as long as LORD JIM ruled over his people and protected them.

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