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MonkeyNotes-Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
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Chapter 10

Summary

Lost in their own thoughts and fears, nobody in the lifeboat makes a sound or acknowledges Jim's presence. The skipper silently takes an oar and tries to steer the boat through the black night, but the sea is too rough and they are left to drift with the storm. Suddenly the engineer speaks out, declaring that he has seen the ship go down. Jim feels that he should jump from the lifeboat, swim to the sinking Patna, and rescue the eight hundred pilgrims.

As dawn begins to lighten the sky, Jim sees a light on the Patna and realizes the ship has not sunk. He feels miserable. The others also see Jim for the first time. In the darkness of the night, they have thought that George had jumped into the boat; when they realize that Jim has joined them, they are outraged, for he is not one of them. They stare at him, making Jim feel like an intruder. They threaten to kill him, for he has been a witness to their cowardice. They believe that he will testify against them. In order to protect himself, Jim grabs a tiller and threatens the others with it.

Jim is not glad to be alive; he is ashamed that he has jumped from the Patna. He even has thoughts of leaving the lifeboat and sits on its edge, as if tempting fate. The others in the lifeboat start talking normally, trying to rationalize their desertion. They also tell Jim that he is "one of them." Jim is enraged at their talk; he knows he can never be one of them. Unlike him, they planned their desertion; they chose to jump off the Patna. At times he has the urge to kill all of them and blames them for calling him into the lifeboat. He says, "It (his jumping) was their doing as plainly as if they had reached up with a boathook and pulled him over."

Finally, the light from the Patna can no longer be seen. Jim and the other crew members believe that the ship has finally sunk. Jim is greatly relieved.


Notes

Being in the lifeboat with the other crew is miserable for Jim. Although he is with them, he is not one of them. He feels he is better than they are, for he did not plan his desertion. In fact, he blames his jumping on them, for he heard them calling. It is also obvious that the others do not want Jim in the lifeboat with them and even threaten to kill him. Since he is not one of them, they fear he will testify against them and tell of their cowardice. Jim must defend himself with the tiller.

Jim is horrified when he first sees the light on the Patna, which reveals that he has been lying to himself about wanting to save the pilgrims. He is also greatly relieved when he can no longer see the light from the Patna and incorrectly assumes that the boat has gone down. Jim has an urge to swim back to the ship. He would like to make certain that the ship is really gone and that his 800 possible accusers are dead; he would also like to escape from the horrible crew in the lifeboat. Being with them is almost worse than death itself.

It is important to notice that Jim is still a dreamer in this chapter. Although he has jumped into a black hole, he still fools himself with unrealistic visions. He thinks about swimming back to the Patna, first to rescue the 800 pilgrims; later he thinks about swimming back to make certain that the ship has sunk and the pilgrims are all dead.

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