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MonkeyNotes-Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
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Chapter 23

Summary

Jim is very impressed with Stein and stays with him until the next morning. He is even more excited about the opportunity than before; he feels certain that Patusan offers him the chance he has been waiting for. Jim has in his pocket a letter for Cornelius and around his neck the silver ring for Doramin, which will ensure Jim's own protection

Since Jim is to sail in about two hours, Marlow helps him pack and get ready. He gives Jim a revolver and a box of cartridges to take to Patusan. When Jim sets off for his boat, Marlow hurries after him and goes on board with his friend. The ships' captain is crazy. He refuses to take Jim up the river in Patusan for he feels the island is too dangerous, "a cage of beasts" who are ravenous; instead, he will drop his charge at the mouth of the river, and he must make his own way from there. In reaction, Jim can only smile; the adventure challenges him.

Marlow advises Jim to look the island over and then decide whether he wants to come back. Jim is of the opinion that he will never return to England, for he is through with "civilized" life. He has been dreaming and waiting for an opportunity like Patusan offers. In such an alien place, his past should never haunt him again.

When it is time for the ship to depart, both Jim and Marlow are clearly emotional; there is a "moment of real and profound intimacy" between the two. They hide it by shaking hands. Then Marlow calls his friend "dear boy" and wishes him well. As the ship leaves, the young sailor calls back to Marlow, who is now on shore; the romantic Jim shouts, "You shall hear of me."


Notes

The chapter gives Jim the chance to realize his dream of leaving his past behind. In remote Patusan, no one will know about the Patna. The mystery and strangeness of the island appeal to Jim's romantic side; he is eager to "jump into the unknown" (recalling his jump off the Patna) and is certain he will prove himself worthy of any challenge. As his ship pulls out, Jim shouts to Marlow that "you shall hear of me." He obviously plans to make a name for himself in Patusan.

It is important to note that Conrad gives many negative hints about Patusan. Marlow cannot understand why Jim is so overjoyed about going to the remote, alien island. Marlow, who is much more practical than the romantic Jim, gives him a gun and cartridges for his protection.

The captain of Jim's ship presents a really negative picture of the island. He refuses to take his passenger upriver in Patusan, for he says it is much too dangerous. Jim will be dropped at the river's mouth to make his own way inland. The captain tells Marlow that Jim is as much a dead man.

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