Heroism In Lord Jim Essay

Length: 2 pages Sources: 1 Subject: Literature Type: Essay Paper: #10352507 Related Topics: Suicide, Self Identity
Excerpt from Essay :

Joseph Conrad's Lord Jim is a novel bookended by two deaths. In the beginning of the novel, Jim is able to save his own skin by abandoning the passengers on the Patna and escaping with the other crew members when it is erroneously believed that the ship is about to sink. Their actions are effective in the short-term in terms of securing Jim's safety even though the members of the crew are in flagrant disregard of virtually every established ethical system regarding how seamen are supposed to behave. When it is later revealed that Jim and the crew were misguided about the likelihood of the ship's failure and the Patna sails safely to shore, Jim's self-interested actions are revealed. Although understandable to some degree, Jim's actions are in violation of the personal code he has set for himself at the beginning of the novel. Jim wants to be a hero and respected by others. His flight underlines the fact that he is an ordinary man and this incident dogs him in all of his subsequent positions.

By leaving the Patna, Jim wins his life but loses his


Jim is only able become the man he wishes to become by dying at the end of the work, where he seems to willingly sacrifice himself in retribution for the death of his friend's son. Through this action, Jim attains a kind of glory: "But we can see him, an obscure conqueror of fame, tearing himself out of the arms of a jealous love at the sign, at the call of his exalted egoism. He goes away from a living woman to celebrate his pitiless wedding with a shadowy ideal of conduct. Is he satisfied -- quite, now, I wonder?" (Chapter 45). From the arms of the native woman he loves to death, Jim finally becomes the noble creature he aspired to at the novel's inception.

The concept of honor in the novel is also given a clearly racial tinge to it: the civilian passengers who are sacrificed on the Patna are Muslims and the community which Jim finally becomes a part of and establishes authority over at the end of the novel are non-white. It is clear that the reason that the Muslim pilgrims…

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Work Cited

Conrad, Joseph. Lord Jim. Project Gutenberg. 1917. 13 Nov 2014. Available:


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