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MonkeyNotes-Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
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Chapter 16

Summary

Marlow jumps forward in time in this chapter to tell the reader that in the future Jim again becomes a man who is trusted, loved, and admired. He is allowed another chance, and he proves himself honorably. He performs a brave act that allows him to cancel out his guilt about the Patna.

Marlow is brought back to the present when Jim comes inside again. He seems ready to talk. After asking Marlow for a cigarette and hearing the noise of thunder, Jim breaks the ice by saying that the monsoon has come rather early. Jim then remarks that he must get "it" back again. Marlow understands that Jim is referring to his honor, but Jim does not want to talk about it. He flings down his cigarette and bids Marlow good-bye. Marlow urges him to stay for dinner, telling him that the storm outside is very bad.


Notes

This is an important chapter in the book. The storm that rages outside is a perfect objective correlative of Jim's emotional state. The chapter is important because it gathers many threads of the story. As Marlow studies the troubled and silent Jim, he feels a new sense of closeness and responsibility towards his young friend. He asks Jim how he will support himself in the future, but Jim refuses to think about such things or answer Marlow.

The humiliation that Jim feels over his loss of honor is seen clearly. Marlow understands Jim's guilt and his shamefulness for his treacherous act of desertion. He also understands that Jim will have trouble forgiving himself. As the young sailor displays his agony in a romantic, melancholy fashion, the storm that rages inside him is equivalent to the storm that rages outside. The darkness that pervades the chapter hints that Jim is groping in the dark for a new chance to regain his lost honor. Marlow flashes ahead to tell that Jim will meet with success in the future. He will be able to perform an act of bravery that helps him to forgive himself.

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