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MonkeyNotes-Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
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Chapter 31

Summary

Marlow continues his narrative about Jim, returning to the day that Jim went to visit Doramin and told him about his plans for routing Sherif Ali. On the way, Jim saw Sherif Ali's men strutting through the market place and boasting of their master's friendship with Tungku Allang. It appeared that they were planning to join hands against the Bugis, who were terrified about what might happen to them. Jim felt relieved that he was going to beat them to the battle and knew that he could convince the Bugis to come to his assistance. He spent a large portion of the day telling Doramin of his plans and gaining the Bugis' agreement.

When Jim returned to Cornelius' house in the evening, he was feeling almost lightheaded. He had been successful in convincing Doramin of his plan and now he knew its success depended totally upon him. He felt sure he would not fail.

During the night Jim was awakened by Jewel. She gave him his gun and told him about four of Sherif Ali's men who were waiting to kill him. At first Jim was irritated, feeling this was another false alarm; he was also irritated at Jewel for being so nervous. Jewel, however, was insistent. She led him to an empty store building. At first Jim saw nothing. Then he noticed a pair of glowing eyes coming towards him. A half-dressed native held out a knife to attack Jim, who waited until the appropriate moment to fire his gun. His shot was perfect, and the native fell dead. Jim felt calm, but was proud of his bravery.


Notes

This chapter brings out Jim's courage, as well as helplessness. He has the courage to fight danger without "jumping ship," but he is helplessly caught in the love affair with Jewel. She is devoted to him, guarding his life through the night. Her faithfulness, almost a reversal of the theme of white supremacy, sways Jim. He is overpowered by her, just as he is overpowered by Patusan.

One night Jewel wakes him and warns him about a plot to kill him. Jim takes up a gun and protects himself, killing one man. Jim's faith in himself is renewed and he shouts, "Nothing can touch me." Jim is beginning to overcome some of his guilt and shame; at the same time, he is beginning to succumb to white supremacy, considering himself superior to others and foreshadowing that he cannot forever remain Tuan Jim.

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