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MonkeyNotes-Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
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Chapter 45

Summary

Tamb'Itam paddles madly until he reaches the village. There he finds the people waiting to welcome Dain Waris. He hurries to the fort and along the way informs Jewel of what has happened. At the fort, he wakes Jim and tells him the news. Jim's first reaction is to pursue the criminals. Tamb'Itam urges him not to go, and Jim realizes that he does not stand a chance. He understands that he has lost everything; the Bugis had trusted him, but he has failed them.

Both Jewel and Tamb'Itam urge Jim to flee, but Jim refuses. Jewel then begs him to fight Brown, but he cannot do this either. He looks at Jewel and begs her forgiveness. She does not understand Jim's refusals and calls him a liar. She thinks he is deserting her, like all white men do. Jewel says she can never forgive him.

Dain Waris' body is carried to Doramin. He is totally stunned by his son's death. When someone points out the ring that Jim had sent him on his finger, Doramin lets out a roar of pain. As it grows dark, Doramin sits with a pair of pistols on his knees. Jim crosses the river and climbs the slope to Doramin's village, knowing that certain death is awaiting him. The crowds look at Jim in disbelief. Jim presents himself before Doramin and declares that he has come in sorrow and without arms. Doramin gets up and Stein's silver ring falls at his feet. Doramin then looks at Jim and fires a shot through his chest. Jim falls dead. Marlow says that he died as "one of us."


Notes:

The last chapter is full of controversy. Some critics feel that Jim's actions are equivalent to a suicide; others say his death is a triumph. In Jim's mind, he has no choice. He must present himself to Doramin, for he has pledged his life over Brown. In spite of the pleas of Jewel and Tamb'Itam, he must not jump away again; he cannot flee. On Patusan, he has conquered fear and shame; he refuses to live in guilt in again. He stands up to his principles and faces death bravely. Conrad presents Lord Jim as a tragic hero who has atoned for his past sin.

The climax of the novel comes in this final chapter of the book. Until the end, Conrad does not disclose that Jim is dead, thereby keeping the reader in suspense and totally involved in the story.

The Mood of the last chapter is totally tragic. Jewel cries out to Jim, begging him to flee or to fight. When he refuses, she calls him a liar and says she will never forgive him. Doramin cries out in pain over the dead body of his son. When Jim presents himself before Doramin, the ring which has given fame and honor to Jim rolls to the ground and symbolizes his tragic fall from grace with the Bugis. Though Jim falls from honor in the eyes of the natives, he dies a proud man. According to his principles, he has done the correct thing. He has not "jumped" again; therefore, he dies with self-esteem and in personal triumph. It is an appropriate romantic death, for a totally romantic character.

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