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Lord Jim; chapters, 6-10 
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Post Lord Jim; chapters, 6-10
LORD JIM
Joseph Conrad

Chapters; 6-10



Sat Nov 24, 2012 9:07 pm
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Post Re: Lord Jim; chapters, 6-10
Chapters 6 - 10 can acutally be summarized pretty quickly. The deal with the events on board the Patna, and Jim's 'fall from grace.' While we are now definitely provided with Marlow as the narrator, Conrad still slips into the omniscient (sp?) narrator mode. It is hard to believe that Jim and other sources (if any) were able to provide such a minute by minute description of events. I have personally been involved in a few crises, and afterward found my memories of the events quite fuzzy. But I still enjoyed the character descriptions and setting he sets forth.


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Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:29 pm
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Post Re: Lord Jim; chapters, 6-10
Cattleman wrote:
Chapters 6 - 10 can acutally be summarized pretty quickly. The deal with the events on board the Patna, and Jim's 'fall from grace.' While we are now definitely provided with Marlow as the narrator, Conrad still slips into the omniscient (sp?) narrator mode. It is hard to believe that Jim and other sources (if any) were able to provide such a minute by minute description of events. I have personally been involved in a few crises, and afterward found my memories of the events quite fuzzy. But I still enjoyed the character descriptions and setting he sets forth.

Have only read Chapter 6, about Captain Brierly, the superstar captain who killed himself shortly after the Patna inquiry, over which he presided. Are we to infer that Brierly came to some realization about himself from witnessing Jim's ordeal on the witness stand? In his conversation with Marlow, he seems rather to despise Jim for what he did, because it might reflect badly on the seaman's profession. Maybe Brierly's suicide is unconnected with Jim, but if it is, it's hard to explain why Conrad would put in this red herring.

We see in the chapter that Jim is extraordinarily self-conscious about his misdeed. He misinterprets a random remark about a stray dog in the crowd ("look at that wretched cur!") as being said by Marlow about Jim. This mistake at least provides the opening for Marlow to be introduced to Jim and to learn so much about him.

That's a good point about Marlow's scope of knowledge about Jim. He couldn't in reality have plumbed him or others to the depths he describes. We just have to accept that as a convention of this type of narration. I recall when I read Bram Stoker's Dracula I had a similar thought about the narrative realism. The story is told entirely by letters, with events sometimes being described in the letters as the events unfold. Obviously impossible, but we suspend disbelief.



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Sat Dec 08, 2012 11:59 am
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Post Re: Lord Jim; chapters, 6-10
The build-up of Captain Brierly as a 'superstar' makes me think Conrad had a specific reason for his suicide that is meaningful to the theme. Perhaps matters were revealed within the inquiry that are connected to Brierly. I suppose that someone who is up on such a pedestal is vulnerable to falling hard, especially when that pedestal includes a high degree of self-worship. I was surprised at Jim's aggressive confrontation of Marlow, I really didn't expect it. I think Conrad does a great job of conveying a threatening situation, I could feel the threat posed by Jim. This sort of behavior may be normal for Jim or symptomatic of his 'fall from grace' and general defensiveness.

Speaking of suicide, certainly a strange and tragic event this week with the suicide of the British royal family's nurse. Makes me wonder about contributing factors .. for example, in this case, the viral exposure on the internet and social media of the conversation between the DJ's and the nurse and the subsequent playing up of the whole thing by the DJ's on social media.



Sat Dec 08, 2012 6:36 pm
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Post Re: Lord Jim; chapters, 6-10
Then it was a suicide? That was the assumption, but I hadn't heard that confirmed. I don't know if the royals did anything directly for that poor nurse--I mean to actually talk to her and tell her that it's okay. If they didn't, I bet they wish they had, because it might have made her feel better about being gullible--which should never be thought of as a mortal sin.

Back to Brierly: could Conrad mean to be setting up a contrast between that vainglorious man and Jim? Brierly wants Marlow to tell Jim to abscond and spare everyone the embarrassment of the hearing. Jim could easily have done that, it is implied, but he stays and submits to what he tells Marlow is an excruciatingly painful process. The conclusion would be that Brierly would certainly have killed himself if he made the mistake Jim made. We can't imagine that whatever Brierly did kill himself for, it could have been more serious than Jim's offense. So Jim submitting to the hearing, when he has no chance of remaining in the service, might be a sign of character and bravery.



Sun Dec 09, 2012 8:26 am
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Post Re: Lord Jim; chapters, 6-10
DWill wrote:
So Jim submitting to the hearing, when he has no chance of remaining in the service, might be a sign of character and bravery.
It could be - or perhaps Jim feels either guilt or cowardice .. I suspect the latter. Jim might be trying to expunge the feeling that he did not act bravely on the Patna and he is now acting bravely by facing the inquiry, perhaps to prove to himself and others that he is not a coward.As I read these chapters I thought about people's behavior in the face of mortal threat and imminent death, wrapped up with the responsibility for the imminent death of hundreds of others who have no clue what is happening. Difficult to say how one would behave in these circumstances without actually going through it.



Thu Dec 13, 2012 1:26 am
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Post Re: Lord Jim; chapters, 6-10
I think it is largely guilt and remorse that causes Jim to submit to the hearing. Remember, much of the early part of the book deals with Jim's romantic dreams of adventure, heroism and self-sacrifice. To discover, in the midst of a genuine crisis, that he is subject to the same fears and foibles as ordinary men has to be a blow to his ego. And then to find out... well, I am getting ahead of the book. Read Chapters 11-15 to learn more.


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Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:09 am
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Post Re: Lord Jim; chapters, 6-10
You'd have to admit, though, that compared to the rest of the merry crew Jim escaped with, he looks relatively honorable for not shirking the judgment of the court. I think of his behavior as exemplifying what Marlow means when he calls Jim "one of us," meaning that he ascribes to a certain code of Englishness. Marlow's reactions to Jim are fascinating. While he's horrified by what Jim did, as he must be as as seaman, and therefore wants to maintain a distance from him, he is also drawn to Jim despite the "danger" that he represents for Marlow, the danger of letting his admiration run away with his better judgment.

I agree with giselle that we sympathize with Jim because none of us really knows how we would behave in a crisis such as Jim faces. Also I think we've all experienced the feeling of being tricked by fate, though probably not as badly as Jim was tricked. There were several circumstances that combined to seal Jim's fate, such as the 3rd engineer keeling over and therefore not filling the fourth seat in the boat. Instead, the other three call up to the engineer to jump, not being able to see that they're calling to Jim, and Jim jumps! Then, at a point when he could still have redeemed himself by swimming back to the boat, the lights on the boat "go out," a certain sign that the ship has gone down. As far as the jump itself is concerned, Jim's rationalizing makes a degree of sense. He would in any case have grabbed onto any stray bit of wood when the ship went down, so what is the real difference in being in the boat? We have to understand that the ship sinking was an absolute certainty not only to Jim but to the rest of the crew. The way Conrad creates the mindset that compels everyone to react out of fear (even Jim) is realistically and powerfully done



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Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:40 pm
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Post Re: Lord Jim; chapters, 6-10
DWill. I agree that compared to the Captain and the engineers (on the Patna), Jim is a much superior man. But remember, he is not comparing himself to them, except perhaps for his willingnesss to face the Board of Inquiry, rather than run; he is comparing his real life performance to his (formerly) heroic self-image.


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Fri Dec 14, 2012 9:18 pm
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Post Re: Lord Jim; chapters, 6-10
In comparing Jim to the other crew members of the Patna, I forgot to mention the Lascar helmsmen. They were interesting characters, though almost seemed to be regarded as 'sceneery' rather than characters. While the captain and the engineers are frantically trying to launch a lifeboat, they remain at their post. Are they heroic? No one, including Marlow, seems to think so; it is almost as if they are automatorns, remaining at the helm because no one has relieved them or given them other orders. Does anyone else have any thoughts on this???


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Fri Dec 14, 2012 9:50 pm
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Post Re: Lord Jim; chapters, 6-10
Hmm...it may be too easy a reply, but I wouldn't be the first to cite the racism of the world Conrad depicts. The whites simply have more native intelligence. Conrad stated that any intelligent man would have known that the ship was doomed, so does the bravery of the Lascars come down to their not being aware of what's going on? It's not clear to me that they knew what the problem is, although they might. If they didn't, it wouldn't make sense for Conrad to call their staying at the helm remarkable, as he does here:
Quote:
Not the least wonder of these twenty minutes, to my mind, is the behaviour of the two helmsmen. They were amongst the native batch of all sorts brought over from Aden to give evidence at the inquiry. One of them, labouring under intense bashfulness, was very young, and with his smooth, yellow, cheery countenance looked even younger than he was. I remember perfectly Brierly asking him, through the interpreter, what he thought of it at the time, and the interpreter, after a short colloquy, turning to the court with an important air --

' "He says he thought nothing."

'The other, with patient blinking eyes, a blue cotton handkerchief, faded with much washing, bound with a smart twist over a lot of grey wisps, his face shrunk into grim hollows, his brown skin made darker by a mesh of wrinkles, explained that he had a knowledge of some evil thing befalling the ship, but there had been no order; he could not remember an order; why should he leave the helm? To some further questions he jerked back his spare shoulders, and declared it never came into his mind then that the white men were about to leave the ship through fear of death.

You're right that Marlow doesn't seem to acknowledge what these seamen did as brave; is that because they lack the kind of higher consciousness that whites are endowed with? "Automatons" might be an appropriate word for his view of them, too stupid to feel fear, assuming they know there is a problem with the ship?



Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:42 pm
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Post Re: Lord Jim; chapters, 6-10
It's interesting to me that the original meaning of the word "lascar" is soldier or guard or seaman. The Lascar helmsmen "soldiered on" through the crisis. Since they had not received other orders, they stayed at their post. And regardless what they actually thought, it's in character that they would dissemble in front of a court of white men with vastly more personal power than they themselves possessed in the social milieu of the time, and say that they thought nothing or that it never occurred to them that the white men were leaving the ship because of fear of death. My sense is that in the reckoning of the elderly helmsman, to acknowledge that the white men on the Patna ran away because of fear would have been to impugn the courage of all the white men in the court room, which could have been dangerous for him.

I was also interested to read that the Patna episode may have been based on a similar, real-life event.


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Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:44 pm
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Post Re: Lord Jim; chapters, 6-10
That's a perceptive and interesting reading, and it raises the question of whether I can assume Marlow's views to be essentially those of Conrad, as far as the superiority of whites is concerned. Maybe Marlow as he describes the demeanor of the Lascars doesn't comprehend their real thinking in that situation.



Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:06 am
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Post Re: Lord Jim; chapters, 6-10
DWill wrote:
You're right that Marlow doesn't seem to acknowledge what these seamen did as brave; is that because they lack the kind of higher consciousness that whites are endowed with? "Automatons" might be an appropriate word for his view of them, too stupid to feel fear, assuming they know there is a problem with the ship?

I saw traces of racism in the way Conrad depicted the helmsman, well, maybe more than traces. But moreover I saw the helmsman having an overriding sense of duty, loyalty and service, reminding me of Stevens the butler in Remains of the Day, one of my favorite novels. Perhaps because of racist beliefs that prevailed at the time, the helmsman would have been trained and inculcated into the mindset of duty, loyalty and service to the white ship's crew and captain but only partly because of race - I think that in any case, race aside, the ship's helmsman would have been trained to do their duty to the bitter end and so Conrad's depiction is quite believable.



Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:53 pm
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Post Re: Lord Jim; chapters, 6-10
Just checking in about LJ. Maybe the Christmas season has slowed everyone down. I'm ready to talk more about the book and have finished reading it. In case you've found yourself bogging down in the middle part, the end is worth getting to. I find that with this type of book--not much plot in relation to its length--I have to have more concentration available, because it's not generally a book that makes you want to turn the pages to find out what happens. It's really as much about Marlow's mind as it is about Jim. Marlow may come across as a bit obsessive in his need to describe the states of his mind. Conrad doesn't get into the heads of the other characters because he doesn't take on omniscience.



Wed Dec 26, 2012 5:53 pm
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