International Journal of Business and Social Science

ISSN 2219-1933 (Print), 2219-6021 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijbss

The Lone Exile in Conrad’s Lord Jim
Yang, Yu-Miao; Hsieh, Chu-Hua; Tien, Ching-Yi

“When your ship fails you, your whole world seems to fail you; the world that made you, restrained you, took care of you. It is as if the souls of men floating on an abyss and in touch with immensity had been set free for any excess of heroism, absurdity, or abomination,” said Marlow in Lord Jim. The fateful abandonment of the ship Patna shattered Jim‟s reputation as a seaman. In Marlow, the narrator‟s eyes, Jim remained „one of us‟ - the brother we would love to have, the youth we would love to have been - despite his apparent failing when disaster struck. The heroic and conscientious decision to face the trial plunged Jim to moral wilderness. His public profile became sullied by the legal fact-finding and the stricture of shared code simply could not admit the fear and courage in the youth. The enforced silence shadowed every move Jim made henceforth so he forwent his second chance time after time. This paper seeks to present Joseph Conrad‟s take on the tension between intrinsic perfectionism decreed by moral code and the human being‟s dubious ability to act on the exalted idealism. This paper will argue that Conrad beautifully construed Jim‟s dignified silence by creating scenes full of viewpoints, judgments, noises and despair. The classic themes of fall and suffering find their expression in this elongated novel that sits gloriously alongside Conrad‟s Heart of Darkness and Almayer‟s Folly.

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