Humanity in J. Conrad's and W. Somerset's creativity

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orn falls into a dream like a man who falls into the sea. . . . The way is to the destructive element submit yourself, and with the exertions of your hands and feet in the water make the deep, deep sea keep you up."

Marlows meeting with Stein provides for a philosophical probing of some of the fundamental ideas and life-issues Conrad presents in Lord Jim. The human condition, no less than the kingdom of nature, is the province of his explorations. His musings on the mysteries of existence ultimately have the aim of enlarging our understanding of Jims character and soul [12, 128]. These musings also have the effect of heightening Jims struggles to find his true moral identity. Inevitably, abstraction and ambiguity are inherent elements in Steins metaphysics, so to speak, even as his persona and physical surroundings merge to project a kind of mystery; his spacious apartment, Marlow recalls, "melted into shapeless gloom like a cavern." Indeed Marlows visit to Stein is like a visit to a medical diagnostician who possesses holistic powers of discernment"our conference resembled so much a medical consultationStein of learned aspect sitting in an arm-chair before his desk. . . ." Steins ruminations, hence, have at times an oracular dimension, as ". . . his voice . . . seemed to roll voluminous and gravemellowed by distance." It is in this solemn atmosphere, and with subdued tones, that Stein delivers his chief pronouncement on Jim: "He is romanticromantic, he repeated. And that is very badvery bad. . . . Very good, too, he added."

The encounter with Stein assumes, almost at the mid-point of the novel, episodic significance in Jims moral destiny, and in the final journey of a soul in torment. Steins observations, insightful as they are, hardly penetrate the depths of Jims soul, its conditions and circumstances, which defy rational analysis and formulaic prescriptions. The soul has its own life, along with but also beyond the outer life Stein images. It must answer to new demands, undertake new functions, face new situationsand experience new trials. The dark night of the soul is at hand, inexorably, as Jim retreats to Patusan, one of the Malay islands, known to officials in Batavia for "its irregularities and aberrations." It is as if Jim had now been sent "into a star of the fifth magnitude." Behind him he leaves his "earthly failings." "Let him creep twenty feet underground and stay there," to recall Brierlys words. In Patusan, at a point of the river forty miles from the sea, Jim will relieve a Portuguese by the name of Cornelius, Stein & Co.s manager there. It is as if Stein and Marlow had schemed to "tumble" him into another world, "to get him out of the way; out of his own way." "Disposed" of, Jim thus enters spiritual exile, alone and friendless, a straggler, a hermit in the wilderness of Patusan, where "all sound and all movements in the world seemed to come to an end."

The year in which Jim, now close to thirty years of age, arrives in Patusan is 1886. The political situation there is unstable"utter insecurity for life and property was the normal condition." Dirt, stench, and mud-stained natives are the conditions with which Jim must deal. In the midst of all of this rot, Jim, in white apparel, "appeared like a creature not only of another kind but of another essence." In Patusan, he soon becomes known as Lord Jim (Tuan Jim), and his work gives him "the certitude of rehabilitation." Patusan, as such, heralds Jims unceasing attempt to start with a clean slate. But in Patusan, as on the Patna, Jim is in extreme peril, for he has to grapple with fiercely opposing native factions: the forces of Doramin, Steins old friend, chief of the second power in Patusan, and those of Rajah Allang, a brutish chief, constantly locked in quarrels over trade, leading to bloody outbreaks and casualties. Jims chief goal was "to conciliate imbecile jealousies, and argue away all sorts of senseless mistrusts." Doramin and his "distinguished son," Dain Waris, believe in Jims "audacious plan." But will he succeed, or will he repeat past failures? Is Chester, to recall his earlier verdict on Jim, going to be right: "He is no earthly good for anything." And will Jim, once and for all, exorcise the "unclean spirits" in himself, with the decisiveness needed for atonement? These are convergent questions that badger Jim in the last three years of his life.

During the Patusan sequence, Jim attains much power and influence: "He dominated the forest, the secular gloom, the old mankind." As a result of Jims leadership, old Doramins followers rout their sundry enemies, led not only by the Rajah but also by the vagabond Sherif Ali, an Arab half-breed whose wild men terrorized the land. Jim becomes a legend that gives him even supernatural powers. Lord Jims word was now "the one truth of every passing day." Certainly, from the standpoint of heroic feats and sheer physical courage and example, Jim was to travel a long way from Patna to Patusan. Here his fame is "Immense! . . . the seal of success upon his words, the conquered ground for the soles of his feet, the blind trust of men, the belief in himself snatched from the fire, the solitude of his achievement." If his part in the Patna affair led to the derision that pursued him in his flights to nowhere, fame and adoration now define his newly-won greatness. The tarnished first mate of the Patna in the Indian Ocean is now the illustrious Lord Jim of the forests of Patusan.

The difficult situations that Jim must now confront in Patusan demand responsible actions, which Conrad portrays with all their Concrete complexities and tensions. There is no pause in Jims constant gestures wrestle with responsibilities, whether to the pilgrims on the Patna or the natives in Patusan. The moral pressures on him never ease, requiring of Jim concrete gestures that measure his moral worth. Incessantly he takes moral soundings of himself and of the outer life [15, 211]. The stillness and silences of the physical world have a way of accentuating Jims inner anguish. He is profoundly aware that some "floating derelict" is waiting stealthily to strike at the roots of order, whether of man or of society.

In the course of relating the events in Patusan, where he was visiting Jim, Marlow speaks of Jims love for a Eurasian girl, Jewel, who becomes his mistress. Cornelius, the "awful Malacca Portu- guese," is Jewels legal guardian, having married her late mother after her separation from the father of the girl. A "mean, cowardly scoundrel," Cornelius is another repulsive beetle in Jims life. The enemies from without, like the enemy from within, seem to pursue Jim relentlessly. In Patusan, thus, Cornelius, resentful of being replaced as Steins representative in the trading post, hates Jim, never stops slandering him, wants him out of the way: "He knows nothing, honourable sirnothing whatever. Who is he? What does he want herethe big thief? . . . He is a big fool. . . . Hes no more than a little child herelike a little childa little child." Cornelius asks Marlow to intercede with Jim in his favor, so that he might be awarded some "moderate provisionsuitable present," since "he regarded himself as entitled to some money, in exchange for the girl." But Marlow is not fazed by Corneliuss imprecations: "He couldnt possibly matter . . . since I had made up my mind that Jim, for whom alone I cared, had at last mastered his fate. . . ." Nor is Jim himself troubled by Corneliuss unseemly presence and the possible danger he presents: "It did not matter who suspected him, who trusted him, who loved him, who hated him. . . . I came here to set my back against the wall, and I am going to stay here," Jim insists to Marlow [15, 213].

The concluding movement of the novel, a kind of andante, conveys a "sense of ending." Marlows long narrative, in fact, is now coming to an end, confluent with his "last talk" with Jim and his own imminent departure from Patusan. The language belongs to the end-time, and is pervaded by deepening sorrow and pity, and by an implicit recognition "of the implacable destiny of which we are the victimsand the tools." A poetry of lamentation takes hold of these pages, and the language is brooding, ominous, recondite. Concurrently, the figure of Cornelius weaves in and out and gives "an inexpressible effect of stealthiness, of dark and secret slinking. . . . His slow, laborious walk resembled the creeping of a repulsive beetle. . . . " We realize that Marlow and Jim will never meet again, as we witness a twilight scene of departure. Having accompanied Marlow as far as the mouth of the river, Jim now watches the schooner taking Marlow to the other world "fall off and gather headway." Marlow sees Jims figure slowly disappearing, "no bigger than a childthen only a speck, a tiny white speck . . . in a darkened world."

At the end of the novel, Jim finds himself a prisoner and ultimately a victim of treachery as he fights against invading outcasts and desperadoes who, for any price, kill living lifecutthroats led Mans moral by "the Scourge of God," "Gentleman Brown," a supreme incarnation of evil that Jim must confront. Conrad renders the power of evil in unalleviating ways, even as he sees mans moral poverty as an inescapable reality. Indeed, what makes Jims fate so overpowering is that he never stops struggling against the ruthless forces of destruction that embody Conrads vision of evil. What Jim has accomplished in Patusan by creating a more stable social community w