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MonkeyNotes-Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
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Chapter 17

Summary

Because of the storm, Jim stays at Marlow's awhile. Marlow tries to encourage him, saying he has faith in his goodness and abilities. He also tells him that he has written a letter of recommendation for him and sent it to a man who is willing to give him a second chance. As the storm subsides, Jim leaps up with animation. Marlow's offer and words of encouragement have brightened the young sailor. He claims that Marlow has given him "a clean slate." Jim then turns and walks out, leaving Marlow sitting alone in the candlelit room.


Notes

This chapter is in strong contrast to the last one. In spite of his guilt and humiliation, Jim is still filled with pride. He refuses any offer of money; he will not take his past pay from the Patna and he will not accept monetary help from Marlow. When Marlow tells him that he has recommended him for a job, Jim becomes animated. He moves from somberness to gratitude, from desperation to confidence. With Marlow's help, Jim feels he may be able to face the future. Although the chapter ends on a note of hope for the young sailor, Marlow, who is wiser and older, is not as hopeful as Jim.

Conrad uses vivid images throughout the chapter to make the scene come alive. The "shadows huddled together in corners," the water- pipe was "shedding tears," and the flame of the candle was "flaring upright in the shape of a dagger." The inanimate object in the room seems to take on the pain that Jim is feeling.

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