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

Research of the main representatives of prose XX of century. Consideration of similarity and distinction genres of leading writers Conrad and Somerset. The analysis of products "Human bondage" and "Human heart" as symbols of a wave of human development.

Content

INTRODUCTION

PART I. ENGLISH NARRATIVE IN THE CONTEXT OF THE EDWARDIAN LITERATURE

1.1 The main representatives of the prose writing in the first half of the twentieth century

1.2 The similarity and difference of themes and genres of the leading literature representatives

Conclusion to part I

PART II. HUMANITY AS THE MAIN PHILOSOPHICAL AND LITERARY PROBLEM IN THE WORK OF THE WRITERS BFORE THE FIRST HALF OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

2.1 The Moral Sense in Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim

2.2 "Human Bondage" and it’s moral duality

Conclusion to part II

GENERAL CONCLUSION

BIBLIOGRAPHY


INTRODUCTION

William Somerset Maugham (pronounced 'mawm'), CH (25 January 1874 – 16 December 1965) was an English playwright, novelist and short story writer. He was one of the most popular authors of his era, and reputedly the highest paid of his profession during the 1930s.

Joseph Conrad (December 3, 1857 – August 3, 1924) was a Polish-born British novelist, one of the most important and respected writers of the late nineteenth- and early twentieth centuries. Conrad's works emerge out of the confluence of three literary currents prominent in the Europe of Conrad's time: Romanticism, particularly in the works of Polish novelist Henryk Sienkiewicz; realism, which flowered in Russia in the works of Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky; and modernism, which emerged as the dominant literary aesthetic of the twentieth century.

Conrad's works draw on the symbolism of the Romantics and the psychological acuity of the realist and modernist schools. Despite these affinities, Conrad defies easy categorization. Conrad saw in Western colonialism the failure of the "civilized world" to fulfill its moral responsibilities. He witnessed and then documented through his fiction how the "white man's burden," or the West's responsibility to the rest of the world, became clouded by selfish ambition through its quest for colonial domination.

Born and raised in Poland, Conrad spent part of his youth in France and the majority of his early life at sea; only in his mid-thirties would he settle down, in England, to start a career as a writer, writing not in Polish or French, but in English, his adopted third language. Like the Russian émigré Vladamir Nabokov, Conrad is regarded as a master prose stylist among authors in the English literary canon. His knowledge of languages and cultures, gleaned not only from his European experiences but also from his decades spent as a sailor at sea, can be seen in the haunting style of his prose and the enormity of the themes which he constantly brings to the surface. His works inspired writers throughout the twentieth century.

Our work is devoted to the analysis of the novels by William Somerset Maugham and Joseph Conrad. The plots of there novel generally revolve around the subject of marriage and lay emphasis especially on its tremendous importance in the lives of the nineteen century women.

While making our research we used the works of such linguists as Vinokur G.O., Suvorov S.P., Arnold I.V. and many others. During our work we used the works on the translation theory of such linguists as Levitskaya T.R., Fiterman A.M., Komissarov V.N., Alimov V.V., Shveytser A.D., Garbovskiy N.K., Dmitrieva L.F., Galperin I.R., Arnold I.V., Yakusheva I.V., van Deik, Kolshanskiy and others. We used also the articles from the the periodical editions.

The aim of our work is to reveal W. Somerset Saugham’s "Of Human Bondage" and Joseph Conrad's "Lord Jim": plot structure and character analysis.

The hypothesis: in our investigation we suppose to prove that the literature can reflect humanity problems such as problem of morality and human relationships on example of W. Somerset’s and J. Conrad’s creativity.

The aim and hypothesis have defined the next tasks:

- to research the main representatives of the prose writing in the first half of the twentieth century;

- to investigate the similarity and difference of themes and genres of the leading literature representatives;

- to research The problem of humanity in the work as a leading Inclination of W. Somerset and J. Conrad;

- The Moral Sense in Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim;

- Human Bondage" and it’s moral duelety and "Human heart" in the symbol of new wave of human evolution.

Object of research in the given work is W. Somerset Saugham’s and Joseph Conrad's creativity.

Subject is W. Somerset Saugham’s "Of Human Bondage" and Joseph Conrad's "Lord Jim": plot structure and character analysis.

Concerning the aim and the tasks we have used such method as a descriptive one, the method of the experience, the contextual method and the comparative method. These methods weren’t used as the isolated methods, they were used in their complex to satisfy the aim and the task in the best way.


PART I. ENGLISH NARRATIVE IN THE CONTEXT OF THE EDVARDIAN LITERATURE

1.1 The main representatives of the prose writing in the first half of the twentieth century

Literature in 20th century begins with a serie of movements, some of them contradictory between them, as Symbolism, Decadentism, Impressionism and, in Hispanic literature, Modernism, The Generation of '98 [21, 121]. During the two first decades , two literary conceptions are imposed to writers: Those writers for whom literary work is the expression of a cultural experience and fall in intellectualism; and writers who, in view of the chaos of the time and the dissatisfaction of bourgeois world, see literary work as an adventure, as an irrational experience. In the thirties, some historic and socioeconomic facts, affected literature. It will express the search, through the action, of ethical values. After the World War, writers will insist in the same attitudes: moral crisis and tecnical experimentation.

Coinciding the beginning of the new century with Queen Victoria's death in 1901, Britain seemed to start a new period that wasn't seen immediately, because the short reign of Edward VII (1901-1910) was the continuity of the previous period. English society was divided in social classes: wealth was held by a few people thanks for the Industrial Revolution. The poor were still poor, although by the Educative Act of 1870 some instruction was guaranteed. The first threats for Britain appeared with anglo-boer war to become evident in 1914 with the beginning of the First World War.

In ideas, changes were more spectacular. In the beginning of the century Einstein's relativity theory becomes true, and in 1905 Freud's new theories started to be renewal in human interpretation. Nothing could be like before, because art and ideas wished to advance quickly. Even in picture, for example, Cubism and Dadaism broke all imaginable visual molds: Modernism crystallized as a global result of all possible desires of change and renovation. In fact, every intellectual, political or artistic movement tries to broke with the past and fix new directions to follow. Modernism, not only wished to broke with the past, but also abolish them. However, it wasn't possible; in ideas world always exists something "already invented" where we resort to and in this way, Modernism had to create its own tradition, looking for affinities in the past history [21, 127].

In literature, it was the Ullyses (1922) by James Joyce the work that produced the true impact because of its new character and its perfect style and the scandol of its publication. The woman would have an important paper in the society and this would have an excellent representant in Virginia Woolf (1882-1941). She belongs to an artistic and intellectual circle in Bloomsbury. Woolf was a writer with a lot of sensibility and wrote a beautiful poetic prose in the shape of novels like Mrs Dalloway and To the Lighthouse.

Prose poetry is usually considered a form of poetry written in prose that breaks some of the normal rules associated with prose discourse, for heightened imagery or emotional effect. Arguments continue about whether prose poetry is actually a form of poetry or a form of prose, or a separate genre altogether. Most critics argue that prose poetry belongs in the genre of poetry because of its use of metaphorical language and attention to language.

Other critics argue that prose poetry falls into the genre of prose because prose poetry relies on prose's association with narrative and its reliance on readers' expectation of an objective presentation of truth in prose. Yet others argue that the prose poem gains its subversiveness through its fusion of poetic and prosaic elements.

As a specific form, prose poetry is generally assumed to have originated in 19th-century France.

At the time of the prose poem's emergence, French poetry was dominated by the Alexandrine, an extremely strict and demanding form that poets such as Aloysius Bertrand and Charles Baudelaire rebelled against. Further proponents of the prose poem included other French poets such as Arthur Rimbaud and Stéphane Mallarmé.

The prose poem continued to be written in France and found profound expression, in the mid-20th century, in the prose poems of Francis Ponge. At the end of the 19th century, British Decadent movement poets such as Oscar Wilde picked up the form because of its already subversive association. This actually hindered the dissemination of the form into English because many associated the Decadents with homosexuality, hence any form used by the Decadents was suspect.

Notable Modernist poet T. S. Eliot wrote vehemently against prose poems, though he did try his hand at one or two. He also added to the debate about what defines the genre, saying in his introduction to Djuna Barnes' highly poeticized 1936 novel Nightwood that this work may not be classed as "poetic prose" as it did not have the rhythm or "musical pattern" of verse. In contrast, a couple of other Modernist authors wrote prose poetry consistently, including Gertrude Stein and Sherwood Anderson. In actuality, Anderson considered his work to be short fictions—in the current term, "flash fiction." The distinction between flash fiction and prose poetry is at times very thin, almost indiscernible.

By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept by Canadian author Elizabeth Smart, written in 1945, is a relatively isolated example of English-language poetic prose in the mid-20th century. Then, for a while, prose poems died out, at least in English—until the early 1950s and '60s, when American poets such as Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Russell Edson, Charles Simic, Robert Bly and James Wright experimented with the form. Edson, indeed, worked principally in this form, and helped give the prose poem its current reputation for surrealist wit. Similarly, Simic won the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for his 1989 collection, The World Doesn't End.

At the same time, poets elsewhere were exploring the form in Spanish, Japanese and Russian. Octavio Paz worked in this form in Spanish in his Aguila o Sol? (Eagle or Sun?). Spanish poet Ángel Crespo (1926-95) did his most notable work in the genre. Giannina Braschi, postmodern Spanish-language poet, wrote a trilogy of prose poems, El imperio de los suenos (Empire of Dreams, 1988). Translator Dennis Keene presents the work of six Japanese prose poets in The Modern Japanese Prose Poem: an Anthology of Six Poets. Similarly, Adrian Wanner and Caryl Emerson describe the form's growth in Russia in their critical work, Russian Minimalism: from the Prose Poem to the Anti-story. The two best-known examples of this literary form in Russian are Gogol's Dead Souls and Venedikt Erofeev's Moscow-Petushki.

In Poland, Bolesław Prus (1847-1912), influenced by the French prose poets, had written a number of poetic micro-stories, including "Mold of the Earth" (1884), "The Living Telegraph" (1884) and "Shades" (1885).

The form has gained popularity since the late 1980s, and literary journals that previously disputed prose poetry's contributions to both poetry and prose currently display prose poems next to sonnets and short stories. Journals have even begun to specialize, publishing solely prose poems/flash fiction in their pages (see external links below). Some contemporary writers who write prose poems or flash fiction include Michael Benedikt, Robert Bly, Anne Carson, Kim Chinquee, Richard Garcia, Ray Gonzalez, Lyn Hejinian, Louis Jenkins, Campbell McGrath, Sheila Murphy, Naomi Shihab Nye, Mary Oliver, David Shumate, James Tate, and J. Marcus Weekley, Ron Silliman, and John Olson.

It used to be said that prose poetry was impossible in English because the English language was not so strictly governed by rules as was the French language. This seems not to be so strictly held in the twenty-first century.

Rapturous, rhythmic, image-laden prose from previous centuries, such as that found in Jeremy Taylor and Thomas de Quincey, strikes 21st-century readers as having something of a poetic quality. Using figurative language to provoke thought, it invites a reader into unusual perspectives to question what is traditionally thought of, as in Richard Garcia's "Chickenhead."

Flash fiction is fiction of extreme brevity. The standard, generally-accepted length of a flash fiction piece is 1000 words or less. By contrast, a short-short measures 1001 words to 2500 words, and a traditional short story measures 2501 to 7500 words. A novelette runs from 7501 words to 17,500, a novella 17,501 words to 40,000 words, and a novel 40,001 words and up. In theater script and poetry writing, vignettes are short, impressionistic scenes that focus on one moment or give a trenchant impression about a character, an idea, or a setting. This type of scene is more common in recent postmodern theater, where adherence to the conventions of theatrical structure and story development are jettisoned. It is particularly influenced by contemporary notions of a scene as shown in film, video and television scripting. Unlike the traditional scene in a play, the vignette is not strictly linked in with a sequential plot development but establishes meaning through loose symbolic or linguistic connection to other vignettes or scenes. Vignettes are the literary equivalent of a snapshot, often incomplete or fragmentary. In poetry, in the quintain form, they can relate to a short descriptive literary sketch or a short scene or incident from a movie or play. The use of vignettes is suited to those plays in which theme, image, emotion and character are more important than narrative, though this doesn't mean that a vignette is out of place as an element in a more narrative play.

1.2 The similarity and difference of themes and genres of the leading literature representatives

The term English literature refers to literature written in the English language, including literature composed in English by writers not necessarily from England; Joseph Conrad was Polish, Robert Burns was Scottish, James Joyce was Irish, Dylan Thomas was Welsh, Edgar Allan Poe was American, V.S. Naipaul was born in Trinidad, Vladimir Nabokov was Russian. In other words, English literature is as diverse as the varieties and dialects of English spoken around the world. In academia, the term often labels departments and programmes practising English studies in secondary and tertiary educational systems. Despite the variety of authors of English literature, the works of William Shakespeare remain paramount throughout the English-speaking world.

This article primarily deals with literature from Britain written in English. For literature from specific English-speaking regions, consult the see also section at the bottom of the page.

Early Modern period

The Elizabethan era saw a great flourishing of literature, especially in the field of drama. The Italian Renaissance had rediscovered the ancient Greek and Roman theatre, and this was instrumental in the development of the new drama, which was then beginning to evolve apart from the old mystery and miracle plays of the Middle Ages. The Italians were particularly inspired by Seneca (a major tragic playwright and philosopher, the tutor of Nero) and Plautus (its comic clichés, especially that of the boasting soldier had a powerful influence on the Renaissance and after). However, the Italian tragedies embraced a principle contrary to Seneca's ethics: showing blood and violence on the stage. In Seneca's plays such scenes were only acted by the characters [18, 123]. But the English playwrights were intrigued by Italian model: a conspicuous community of Italian actors had settled in London and Giovanni Florio had brought much of the Italian language and culture to England. It is also true that the Elizabethan Era was a very violent age and that the high incidence of political assassinations in Renaissance Italy (embodied by Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince) did little to calm fears of popish plots. As a result, representing that kind of violence on the stage was probably more cathartic for the Elizabethan spectator. Following earlier Elizabethan plays such as Gorboduc by Sackville & Norton and The Spanish Tragedy by Kyd that was to provide much material for Hamlet, William Shakespeare stands out in this period as a poet and playwright as yet unsurpassed. Shakespeare was not a man of letters by profession, and probably had only some grammar school education. He was neither a lawyer, nor an aristocrat as the "university wits" that had monopolised the English stage when he started writing. But he was very gifted and incredibly versatile, and he surpassed "professionals" as Robert Greene who mocked this "shake-scene" of low origins [23, 145]. Though most dramas met with great success, it is in his later years (marked by the early reign of James I) that he wrote what have been considered his greatest plays: Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, and The Tempest, a tragicomedy that inscribes within the main drama a brilliant pageant to the new king. Shakespeare also popularized the English sonnet which made significant changes to Petrarch's model.

Modernism

The movement known as English literary modernism grew out of a general sense of disillusionment with Victorian era attitudes of certainty, conservatism, and objective truth. The movement was greatly influenced by the ideas of Romanticism, Karl Marx's political writings, and the psychoanalytic theories of subconscious - Sigmund Freud. The continental art movements of Impressionism, and later Cubism, were also important inspirations for modernist writers.

Although literary modernism reached its peak between the First and Second World Wars, the earliest examples of the movement's attitudes appeared in the mid to late nineteenth century. Gerard Manley Hopkins, A. E. Housman, and the poet and novelist Thomas Hardy represented a few of the major early modernists writing in England during the Victorian period.

The first decades of the twentieth century saw several major works of modernism published, including the seminal short story collection Dubliners by James Joyce, Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, and the poetry and drama of William Butler Yeats.

Important novelists between the World Wars included Virginia Woolf, E. M. Forster, Evelyn Waugh, P.G. Wodehouse and D. H. Lawrence. T. S. Eliot was the preeminent English poet of the period. Across the Atlantic writers like William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, and the poets Wallace Stevens and Robert Frost developed a more American take on the modernist aesthetic in their work.

Perhaps the most contentiously important figure in the development of the modernist movement was the American poet Ezra Pound. Credited with "discovering" both T. S. Eliot and James Joyce, whose stream of consciousness novel Ulysses is considered to be one of the century's greatest literary achievements, Pound also advanced the cause of imagism and free verse, forms which would dominate English poetry into the twenty-first century.

Gertrude Stein, an American expat, was also an enormous literary force during this time period, famous for her line "Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose."

Other notable writers of this period included H.D., Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, W. H. Auden, Vladimir Nabokov, William Carlos Williams, Ralph Ellison, Dylan Thomas, R.S. Thomas and Graham Greene. However, some of these writers are more closely associated with what has become known as post-modernism, a term often used to encompass the diverse range of writers who succeeded the modernists.

The term Postmodern literature is used to describe certain tendencies in post-World War II literature. It is both a continuation of the experimentation championed by writers of the modernist period (relying heavily, for example, on fragmentation, paradox, questionable narrators, etc.) and a reaction against Enlightenment ideas implicit in Modernist literature. Postmodern literature, like postmodernism as a whole, is difficult to define and there is little agreement on the exact characteristics, scope, and importance of postmodern literature. Henry Miller, William S. Burroughs, Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut, Hunter S. Thompson, Truman Capote, Thomas Pynchon

Modernist literature is the literary expression of the tendencies of Modernism, especially High modernism.

Modernism as a literary movement reached its height in Europe between 1900 and the middle 1920s. Modernist literature addressed aesthetic problems similar to those examined in non-literary forms of contemporaneous Modernist art, such as Modernist painting. Gertrude Stein's abstract writings, for example, have often been compared to the fragmentary and multi-perspectival Cubism of her friend Pablo Picasso.

The Modernist emphasis on a radical individualism can be seen in the many literary manifestos issued by various groups within the movement. The concerns expressed by Simmel above are echoed in Richard Huelsenbeck's "First German Dada Manifesto" of 1918:

"Art in its execution and direction is dependent on the time in which it lives, and artists are creatures of their epoch. The highest art will be that which in its conscious content presents the thousandfold problems of the day, the art which has been visibly shattered by the explosions of last week ... The best and most extraordinary artists will be those who every hour snatch the tatters of their bodies out of the frenzied cataract of life, who, with bleeding hands and hearts, hold fast to the intelligence of their time." [3, 136]

The cultural history of humanity creates a unique common history that connects previous generations with the current generation of humans. The Modernist re-contextualization of the individual within the fabric of this received social heritage can be seen in the "mythic method" which T.S.

Modernist literature involved such authors as Knut Hamsun (whose novel Hunger is considered to be the first modernist novel), Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, H.D., Dylan Thomas, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Ezra Pound, Mina Loy, James Joyce, Hugh MacDiarmid, William Faulkner, Jean Toomer, Ernest Hemingway, Rainer Maria Rilke, Franz Kafka, Robert Musil, Joseph Conrad, Andrei Bely, W. B. Yeats, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Luigi Pirandello, D. H. Lawrence, Katherine Mansfield, Jaroslav Hašek, Samuel Beckett, Menno ter Braak, Marcel Proust, Mikhail Bulgakov, Robert Frost, Boris Pasternak, Djuna Barnes, Patricia Highsmith and others.

Modernist literature attempted to move from the bonds of Realist literature and to introduce concepts such as disjointed timelines. Modernism was distinguished by an emancipatory metanarrative. In the wake of Modernism, and post-enlightenment, metanarratives tended to be emancipatory, whereas beforehand this was not a consistent characteristic. Contemporary metanarratives were becoming less relevant in light of the implications of World War I, the rise of trade unionism, a general social discontent, and the emergence of psychoanalysis. The consequent need for a unifying function brought about a growth in the political importance of culture.

Modernist literature can be viewed largely in terms of its formal, stylistic and semantic movement away from Romanticism, examining subject matter that is traditionally mundanea prime example being The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot. Modernist literature often features a marked pessimism, a clear rejection of the optimism apparent in Victorian literature. In fact, "a common motif in Modernist fiction is that of an alienated individual--a dysfunctional individual trying in vain to make sense of a predominantly urban and fragmented society." But the questioning spirit of modernism could also be seen, less elegaically, as part of a necessary search for ways to make a new sense of a broken world. An example is A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle by Hugh MacDiarmid, in which the individual artist applies Eliot's techniques to respond (in this case) to a historically fractured nationalism, using a more comic, parodic and "optimistic" (though no less "hopeless") modernist expression in which the artist as "hero" seeks to embrace complexity and locate new meanings.

However, many Modernist works like T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land are marked by the absence even of a central, heroic figure. In rejecting the solipsism of Romantics like Shelley and Byron, such works reject the notion of subject associated with Cartesian dualism, collapsing narrative and narrator into a collection of disjointed fragments and overlapping voices [7, 121].

Modernist literature often moves beyond the limitations of the Realist novel with a concern for larger factors such as social or historical change. This is prominent in "stream of consciousness" writing. Examples can be seen in Virginia Woolf's Kew Gardens and Mrs Dalloway, James Joyce's Ulysses, Katherine Porter's Flowering Judas, Jean Toomer's Cane, William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury, and others.

Modernism as a literary movement is seen, in large part, as a reaction to the emergence of city life as a central force in society. Furthermore, an early attention to the object as freestanding became in later Modernism a preoccupation with form. The dyadic collapse of the distance between subject and object represented a movement from means to is. Where Romanticism stressed the subjectivity of experience, Modernist writers were more acutely conscious of the objectivity of their surroundings. In Modernism the object is; the language doesn't mean it is. This is a shift from an epistemological aesthetic to an ontological aesthetic or, in simpler terms, a shift from a knowledge-based aesthetic to a being-based aesthetic. This shift is central to Modernism. Archibald MacLeish, for instance, said, "A poem should not mean / But be."

Characteristics of Modernity/Modernism

· Free indirect speech

· Stream of consciousness

· Juxtaposition of characters

· Wide use of classical allusions

· Figure of speech

· Intertextuality

· Personification

· Hyperbole

· Parataxis

· Comparison

· Quotation

· Pun

· Satire

· Irony

· Antiphrasis

· Unconventional use of metaphor

· Symbolic representation

· Psychoanalysis

· Discontinuous narrative

· Metanarrative

· Multiple narrative points of view

Thematic characteristics

· Breakdown of social norms

· Realistic embodiment of social meanings

· Separation of meanings and senses from the context

· Despairing individual behaviors in the face of an unmanageable future

· Sense of spiritual loneliness

· Sense of alienation

· Sense of frustration

· Sense of disillusionment

· Rejection of the history

· Rejection of the outdated social system

· Objection of the traditional thoughts and the traditional moralities

· Objection of the religious thoughts

· Substitution of a mythical past

· Two World Wars'Effects on Humanity


Conclusion to part I

We came to a conclusion that Literature in 20th century begins with a serie of movements, some of them contradictory between them, as Symbolism, Decadentism, Impressionism and, in Hispanic literature, Modernism, The Generation of '98. During the two first decades , two literary conceptions are imposed to writers: Those writers for whom literary work is the expression of a cultural experience and fall in intellectualism; and writers who, in view of the chaos of the time and the dissatisfaction of bourgeois world, see literary work as an adventure, as an irrational experience.

Modernism crystallized as a global result of all possible desires of change and renovation. The prose poem continued to be written in France and found profound expression, in the mid-20th century, in the prose poems of Francis Ponge. At the end of the 19th century, British Decadent movement poets such as Oscar Wilde picked up the form because of its already subversive association. This actually hindered the dissemination of the form into English because many associated the Decadents with homosexuality, hence any form used by the Decadents was suspect.

The term English literature refers to literature written in the English language, including literature composed in English by writers not necessarily from England; Joseph Conrad was Polish, Robert Burns was Scottish, James Joyce was Irish, Dylan Thomas was Welsh, Edgar Allan Poe was American, V.S. Naipaul was born in Trinidad, Vladimir Nabokov was Russian.


PART II. WILLIAM SOMERSET MAUGHAM’S "OF HUMAN BONDAGE" AND JOSEPH CONRAD’S "LORD JIM"

2.1 The Moral Sense in Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim

Lord Jim (1900), Joseph Conrad’s fourth novel, is the story of a ship which collides with "a floating derelict" and will doubtlessly "go down at any moment" during a "silent black squall." The ship, old and rust-eaten, known as the Patna, is voyaging across the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea. Aboard are eight-hundred Muslim pilgrims who are being transported to a "holy place, the promise of salvation, the reward of eternal life." Terror possesses the captain and several of his officers, who jump from the pilgrim-ship and thus wantonly abandon the sleeping passengers who are unaware of their peril. For the crew members in the safety of their life-boat, dishonor is better than death [8, 183].

Beyond the immediate details and the effects of a shipwreck, A breach of this novel portrays, in the words of the story’s narrator, Captain Marlow, "those struggles of an individual trying to save from the fire his idea of what his moral identity should be. . . ." That individual is a young seaman, Jim, who serves as the chief mate of the Patna and who also "jumps." Recurringly Jim envisions himself as "always an example of devotion to duty and as unflinching as a hero in a book." But his heroic dream of "saving people from sinking ships, cutting away masts in a hurricane, swimming through a surf with a line," does not square with what he really represents: one who falls from grace, and whose "crime" is "a breach of faith with the community of mankind." Jim’s aspirations and actions underline the disparity between idea and reality, or what is generally termed "indissoluble contradictions of being." His is also the story of a man in search of some form of atonement once he recognizes that his "avidity for adventure, and in a sense of many-sided courage," and his dream of "the success of his imaginary achievements," constitute a romantic illusion.

Jim’s leap from the Patna generates in him a severe moral crisis that forces him to "come round to the view that only a meticulous precision of statement would bring out the true horror behind the appalling face of things." It is especially hard for Jim to confront this "horror" since his confidence in "his own superiority" seems so absolute. The "Patna affair" compels him in the end to peer into his deepest self and then to relinquish "the charm and innocence of illusions." The Jim of the Patna undergoes "the ordeal of the fiery furnace," as he is severely tested "by those events of the sea that show in the light of the day the inner worth of a man, the edge of his temper, and the fibre of his stuff; that reveal the quality of his resistance and the secret truth of his pretences, not only to others but also to himself." Clearly the Patna is, for Jim, the experience both of a moment and of a lifetime.

This novel, from beginning to end, is the story of Jim; throughout the focus is on his life and character, on what he has done, or A story not done, on his crime and punishment, his failure of nerve as aseaman. It is, as well, the story of his predicament and his fate, the destiny of his soul—of high expectations and the great "chance missed," of "wasted opportunity" and "what he had failed to obtain pretences.," all the result of leaving his post, and abdicating his responsibility. Thus we see him in an unending moment of crisis, "overburdened by the knowledge of an imminent death" as he imagines the grim scene before him: "He stood still looking at those recumbent bodies, a doomed man aware of his fate, surveying the silent company of the dead. They were dead! Nothing could save them!"

For Jim the overwhelming question, "What could I do — what?", brings the answer of "Nothing!" The Patna, as it ploughs the Arabian Sea ("smooth and cool to the eye like a sheet of ice") on its way to the Red Sea, is close to sinking, with its engines stopped, the steam blowing off, its deep rumble making "the whole night vibrate like a bass ring." Jim’s imagination conjures up a dismal picture of a catastrophe that is inescapable and merciless. It is not that Jim thinks so much of saving himself as it is the tyranny of his belief that there are eight-hundred people on ship — and only seven life-boats. Conrad’s storyteller, Marlow, much sympathetic to Jim’s plight, discerns in him an affliction of helplessness that compounds his sense of hopelessness, making Jim incapable of confronting total shipwreck, as he envisions "a ship floating head down, checked in sinking by a sheet of old iron too rotten to stand being shored up [16, 121]." But Jim is a victim not only of his imagination, but also of what Conrad calls a "moral situation of enslavement." So torn and defeated is Jim, that his soul itself also seems possessed by some "invisible personality, an antagonistic and inseparable partner of his existence."

Jim’s acceptance of the inevitability of disaster and his belief that he could do absolutely nothing to forestall the loss of eight-hundred passengers render him helpless, robbing him of any ability to take any kind of life-saving action—". . . I thought I might just as well stand where I was and wait." In short, in Jim we discern a disarmed man who surrenders his will to action. The gravity of Jim’s situation is so overwhelming that it leaves him, his heroic aspirations notwithstanding, in a state of paralysis. His predicament, then, becomes his moral isolation and desolation, one in which Jim’s "desire of peace waxes stronger as hope declines . . . and conquers the very desire of life." He gives in at precisely the point when strenuous effort and decisive actions are mandated, so as to resist "unreasonable forces." His frame of mind recalls here Jean-Paul Sartre’s pertinent comment, in The Age of Reason (l945), "That’s what existence means: draining one’s own self dry without a sense of thrust." [12, 128]

Everything in Jim’s background points to his success as a career seaman. We learn that, one of five sons, he originally came from a parsonage, from one of those "abodes of piety and peace," in England; his vocation for the sea emerged early on and, for a period of two years, he served on a "‘training-ship for affairs of the mercantile marine.’" His station was in the fore-top of a training-ship chained to her moorings. We learn that, on one occasion, in the dusk of a winter’s day, a gale suddenly blew forth with a savage fury of wind and rain and tide, endangering the small craft on the shore and the ferry-boats anchored in the harbor, as well as the training-ship itself. The force of the gale "made him hold his breath in awe. He stood still. It seemed to him he was whirled around. He was jostled." We learn, too, that a coaster, in search of shelter, crashed through a schooner at anchor. We see the cutter now tossing abreast the ship, hovering dangerously. Jim is on the the midst of certitude.

Point of leaping overboard to save a man overboard, but fails to do so. There is "pain of conscious defeat in his eyes," as the captain shouts to Jim. "‘Too late, youngster. . . . Better luck next time. This will teach you to be smart.’"

This incident, related in the first chapter of the novel, serves to prepare us for Jim’s actions later on the Patna, and also suggests a Danger in kind of flaw in Jim’s behavior in a moment of danger. Early on in his career, then, Jim had displayed a willingness to "flinch" from his obligations, thus revealing a defect in the heroism about which he romanticized and which led him to creating self-serving fantasies and illusions. "He felt angry with the brutal tumult of earth and sky for taking him unawares and checking unfairly a generous readiness for narrow escapes." Jim, as a seaman, refuses to admit his fear of fear, and in this he shows an inclination to escape the truth of reality by "putting out of sight all the reminders of our folly, of our weakness, of our mortality." Clearly the episode on the training-ship serves both as a symptom and as a portent, underscores an inherent element of failure and disgrace in Jim’s character that, in the course of the novel, he must confront if he is to transcend the dreams and illusions that beguile him, and that he must finally vanquish if he is to find his "moral identity." His early experience on the training-ship makes him a marked man [16, 132]. It remains for his experience later on the Patna to make him a "condemned man."

That nothing rests secure, that, in the midst of certitude, danger lurks, that peace and contentment are at the mercy of the whirl of the world, are inescapable conditions of human existence. These daunting dichotomies, as we find them depicted in Lord Jim, are forever teasing and testing humans in their life-journey Conrad sees these dichotomies in the unfolding spectacle of man and nature. To evince the enormous power of this process Conrad chooses to render time in a continuum which fills all space. Time has no end, no telos; it absorbs beginnings and endings—the past, present, and future not only in their connections but also in their disconnections.

Conrad’s spatial technique is no less complex, and no less revealing, than his use of time. Hence, he employs spatial dimension so as to highlight Jim’s sense of guilt in jumping from the Patna

Conrad expresses it in his Author’s Note, is Jim’s burden of fate. And wherever he retreats he is open to attack from some "deadly snake in every bush." Time as memory and place as torment become his twin oppressors.

The specificities of the Patna episode were to come out during a well-attended Official Court of Inquiry that takes place for several days in early August 1883. Most of the details, in the form of remarks and commentaries, are supplied by Marlow in his long oral narrative, especially as these emerge from Jim’s own confession to Marlow when they happen to meet after the proceedings, on the yellow portico of the Malabar House [13, 178]. Humiliated and broken, his certificate revoked, his career destroyed, Jim can never return to his home and face his father—"‘I could never explain. He wouldn’t understand.’" Again and again, in his confession, Jim shows feelings of desperation and even hysteria: "Everything had betrayed him!" For him it is imperative to be identified neither with the "odious and fleshly" German skipper, Gustav, "the incarnation of everything vile and base that lurks in the world we love," nor with the chief and the second engineers, "skunks" who are extensions of the captain’s coarseness and cowardice.

But that, in fact, Jim does jump overboard—"a jump into the unknown"—and in effect joins them in deserting the Patna ultimately agonizes his moral sense and impels him to scrutinize that part of his being in which the element of betrayal has entered. By such an action he feels contaminated, unclean, disgraced. How to separate himself morally from the captain and his engineers is still another cruel question to which he must find an answer. In this respect, Jim reminds us of the tragic heroes in ancient Greek drama whose encounters with destiny entail both risks and moral instruction. "We begin to live," Conrad reminds us, "when we have conceived life as a tragedy."

How does one "face the darkness"? How does one behave to the unknowable? These are other basic questions that vex Jim. He wants, of course, to answer these questions affirmatively, or at least to wrestle with them in redeeming ways, even as he appears to see himself within a contradiction—as one who can have no place in the universe once he has failed to meet the standards of his moral code. Refusing to accept any "helping hand" extended to him to "clear out," he decides to "fight this thing down," to expiate his sin, in short, to suffer penitently the agony of his failure: "He had loved too well to imagine himself a glorious racehorse, and now he was condemned to toil without honour like a costermonger’s donkey." Jim’s innermost sufferings revolve precisely around his perception of his loss of honor, of his surrender to cowardice. The crushing shame of this perception tortures Jim, without respite. "’I had jumped—hadn’t I?’ he asked [Marlow], dismayed. ‘That’s what I had to live down.’"

Jim’s moral sense is clearly outraged by his actions. This outrage wracks his high conception of himself, compelling him in The "idyllic time to see himself outside of his reveries that Conrad also associates with "the determination to lounge safely through existence." What clouds Jim’s fate is that such a net of safety and certitude has no sustained reality. Within the serenity that seemed to bolster his thoughts of "valorous deeds" there are hidden menaces that assault his self-contentment and self-deception and abruptly awaken Jim to his actual condition and circumstances [13, 186]. In one way, it can be said, Jim is a slave of the "idyllic imagination" (as Irving Babbitt calls it), with its expansive appetites, chimeras, reveries, pursuit of illusion. Jim’s is the story of a man who comes to discern not only the pitfalls of this imagination but also the need to free himself from its bondage. But to free himself from bondage requires of Jim painstaking effort, endurance. He must work diligently to transform chimeric, if incipient, fortitude into an active virtue as it interacts with a world that, like the Patna, can be "full of reptiles"—a world in which "not one of us is safe."

Conrad uses Jim to indicate the moral process of recovery. Conrad delineates the paradigms of this process as these evolve in the midst of much anguish and laceration, leading to the severest scrutiny and judgment of the total human personality. Jim pays attention, in short, to the immobility of his soul; it will take much effort for him to determine where he is and what is happening to him if he is to emerge from the "heart of darkness" and the affliction within and around him to face what is called "the limiting moment." It is, in an inherently spiritual context, a moment of repulsion when one examines the sin in oneself, and hates it. His sense of repulsion is tantamount to moral renunciation, as he embarks on the path to recovery from the romantic habit of daydreaming.

In the end Jim comes to despise his condition, acceding as he Moral does to the moral imperative. He accepts the need to see his

imperative to "trouble" as his own, and he instinctively volunteers to answer questions regarding the Patna by appearing before the Official Court of Inquiry "held in the police court of an Eastern port." (This actually marks his first encounter with Marlow, who is in attendance and who seems to be sympathetically aware of "his hopeless difficulty.") He gives his testimony fully, objectively, honestly, as he faces the presiding magistrate. The physical details of Jim’s appearance underscore his urge "to go on talking for truth’s sake, perhaps for his own sake"—"fair of face, big of frame, with young, gloomy eyes, he held his shoulders upright above the box while his soul writhed within him." Marlow’s reaction to Jim is instinctively positive: "I liked his appearance; he came from the right place; he was one of us." In striking ways, Jim is a direct contrast to the other members of "the Patna gang": "They were nobodies," in Marlow’s words [13, 192].

It should be recalled here that Jim adamantly refused to help the others put the lifeboat clear of the ship and get it into the water for their escape. Indeed, as Jim insists to Marlow, he wanted to keep his distance from the deserters, for there was "nothing in common between him and these men." Their frenzied, self-serving actions to abandon the ship and its human cargo infuriated Jim—"‘I loathed them. I hated them.’" The scene depicting the abandonment of the Patna is one filled with "the turmoil of terror," dramatizing the contrast between Jim and the other officers— between honor and dishonor, loyalty and disloyalty, in short, between aspiration and descent on the larger metaphysical map of human behavior. Jim personifies resistance to the negative as he tries to convey to Marlow "the brooding rancour of his mind into the bare recital of events." Jim’s excruciating moral effort not to join the others and to ignore their desperate motions is also pictured at a critical moment when he felt the Patna dangerously dipping her bows, and then lifting them gently, slowly—"and ever so little."

The reality of a dangerous situation now seems to be devouring Jim, as he was once again to capitulate to the inner voice of weakness and doubt telling him to "leap" from the Patna. Futility hovers ominously around Jim at this last moment when death arrives in the form of a third engineer "clutch[ing] at the air with raised arms, totter[ing] and collapsing]." A terrified, transfixed Jim finds himself stumbling over the legs of the dead man lying on the bridge. And from the lifeboat below three voices yelled out eerily—"one bleated, another screamed, one howled"—imploring the man to jump, not realizing of course that he was dead of a heart attack: "Jump, George! Jump! Oh, jump. . . . We’ll catch you! Jump! . . . Geo-o-o-orge! Oh, jump!" This desperate, screeching verbal command clearly pierces Jim’s internal condition of fear and terror, just as the ship again seemed to begin a slow plunge, with rain sweeping over her "like a broken sea." And once again Jim is unable to sustain his refusal to betray his idea of honor. Here his body and soul are caught in the throes of still another "chance missed."

The assaults of nature on Jim’s outer situation are as vicious at this pivotal point of his life as are the assaults of conscience on his moral sense. These clashing outer and inner elements are clearly pushing Jim to the edge, as heroic aspiration and human frailty wrestle furiously for the possession of his soul. What happens will have permanent consequences for him, as Conrad reveals here, with astonishing power of perception [12, 93]. Here, then, we discern a process of cohesion and dissolution, when Jim’s fate seems to be vibrating unspeakably as he experiences the radical pressures and tensions of his struggle to be more than what he is, or what he aspires to be. Jim, as if replacing the dead officer lying on the deck of the Patna, jumps: "It had happened somehow. . . ," Conrad writes. "He had landed partly on somebody and fallen across a thwart." He was now in the boat with those he loathed; "[h]e had tumbled from a height he could never scale again." "‘I wished I could die,’" he admits to Marlow. "‘There was no going back. It was as if I had jumped into a well—into an everlasting deep hole.’"

A cold, thick rain and "a pitchy blackness" weigh down the lurching boat; "it was like being swept by a flood through a cavern." Crouched down in the bows, Jim fearfully discerns the Patna, "just one yellow gleam of the masthead light high up and blurred like a last star ready to dissolve." And then all is black, as one of the deserters cries out shakily, "‘She’s gone!’" Those in the boat remain quiet, and a strange silence prevails all around them, blurring the sea and the sky, with "nothing to see and nothing to hear." To Jim it seemed as if everything was gone, all was over. The other three shipmates in the boat mistake him for George, and when they do recognize him they are startled and curse him. The boat itself seems filled with hatred, suspicion, villainy, betrayal. "We were like men walled up quick in a roomy grave," Jim confides to Marlow.

The boat itself epitomizes abject failure and alienation from mankind. Everything in it and around it mirrors Jim’s schism of soul, "imprisoned in the solitude of the sea." Through the varying repetition of language and images Conrad accentuates Jim’s distraught inner condition, especially the shame that rages in him for being "in the same boat" with men who exemplify a fellowship of liars. By the time they are picked up just before sunset by the Avondale, the captain and his two officers had already "made up a story" that would sanction their desertion of the Patna, which in fact had not sunk and which, with its pilgrims, had been safely towed to Aden by a French gunboat, eventually to end her days in a breaking-up yard. Unlike the others, Jim would choose to face the full consequences of his actions, "to face it out—alone for myself—wait for another chance—find out. . . ."

"Jim’s affair" was destined to live on years later in the memo-Fear vs. ries and minds of men, as instanced by Marlow’s chance meeting honor. in a Sydney café with a now elderly French lieutenant who was a boarding-officer from the gunboat and remained on the Patna for thirty hours. For Marlow this meeting was "a moment of vision" that enables him to penetrate more deeply into the events surrounding the Patna as he discusses them with one who had been "there." The French officer, at this time the third lieutenant on the flagship of the French Pacific squadron, and Marlow, now commanding a merchant vessel, thus share their recollections, from which certain key thoughts emerge, measuring and clarifying the entire affair. The two men here bring to mind a Greek chorus speaking words of wisdom that explain human suffering and tragedy. In essence it is Jim’s predicament that Conrad wants to diagnose here so as to enlist the reader’s understanding, even sympathy. "‘The fear, the fear—look you—it is always there,’" the French officer declares. And he goes on to say to Marlow—all of this with reference to Jim: "‘And what life may be worth . . . when the honour is gone. . . . I can offer no opinion—because—monsieur—I know nothing of it.’"

For Conrad the task of the novelist is to illuminate "Jim’s case" for the reader’s judgment, and he does this, from diverse angles and levels, in order for the reader to consider all of the evidence, all the ambivalences, antinomies, paradoxes. If for Jim the struggle is to ferret out his true moral identity, for the reader the task is to meditate on what is presented to him and, in the end, to attain a transcendent apprehension of life in time and life in relation to val-ues.1 Jim is, to repeat, "one of us," and in him we meet and see ourselves on moral grounds, so to speak.

In the final paragraph of his Author’s Note, Conrad is careful to point out that the creation of Jim "is not the product of coldly Jim’s function perverted thinking." Nor is he "a figure of Northern mists." In Jim, Conrad sees Everyman. In short, he is the creative outgrowth of what Irving Babbitt terms "the high seriousness of the ethical imagination," and not of the "idyllic imagination," with its distortions of human character. In other words, this is the "moral imagination" which "imitates the universal" and reveres the "Permanent Things." In Jim we participate in and perceive a normative consciousness, as we become increasingly aware of Jim’s purposive function in reflective prose and poetic fiction, aspiring as it does to make transcendence perceptible.2 Conrad testifies to the force and truth of the principles of a metaphysics of art when, in the concluding sentence of his Author’s Note, he writes about his own chance encounter with the Jim in ourselves: "One morning in the commonplace surroundings of an Eastern roadstead, I saw his form pass by—appealing—significant—under a cloud—perfectly silent. Which is as it should be. It was for me, with all the sympathy of which I was capable, to seek fit words for his meaning. He was ‘one of us.’"

A man of "indomitable resolution," Jim strikes aside any "plan for evasion" proffered to him by a "helping hand" like Marlow’s. Nothing can tempt him to ignore the consequences of both his decisions and indecisions, which surround him like "deceitful ghosts, austere shades." Any plan to save him from "degradation, ruin, and despair" he shuns, choosing instead to endure the conditions of homelessness and aloneness [12, 104]. He refuses to identify with any schemes or schemers of a morally insensitive nature. The "deep idea" in him is the moral sense to which he somehow hangs on and the innermost voice to which he listens.

Unfailingly Conrad reveals to us the nature of Jim’s character and will in a "narrative [which] moves through a devious course of identifications and distinctions," as one critic observes.3 Thus in the person of Captain Montague Brierly we have a paragon sailing-ship skipper, and an august member of the board of inquiry, whose overarching self-satisfaction and self-worth presented to Marlow and to the world itself "a surface as hard as granite." Unexplainably, however, Brierly commits suicide a week after the official inquiry ended by jumping overboard, less than three days after his vessel left port on his outward passage. It seems, as Marlow believes, that "something akin to fear of the immensity of his contempt for the young man [Jim] under examination, he was probably holding silent inquiry into his own case." Jim will not go the way of Brierly, whose juxtaposition to Jim, early on in the novel, serves to emphasize the young seaman’s fund of inner strength needed to resist perversion of the moral sense. Unlike Brierly, Jim will not be unjust to himself by trivializing his soul.

Nor will Jim become part of any business scheme that would Jim’s destiny conveniently divert him from affirming the moral sense. A farfetched and obviously disastrous business venture ("[a]s good as a gold-mine"), concocted by Marlow’s slight acquaintance, a West Australian by the name of Chester, and his partner, "Holy-Terror Robinson," further illustrates in Jim the ascendancy of "his fine sensibilities, his fine feelings, his fine longings." Jim will not be identified with the unsavory Chester any more than he would be identified with the Patna gang. Marlow himself, whatever mixed feelings he may have as to Jim’s weaknesses, intuits that Jim has nobler aspirations than being "thrown to the dogs" and in effect to "slip away into the darkness" with Chester. Jim’s destiny may be tragic, but it is not demeaning or tawdry, which in the end sums up Marlow’s beneficent trust in Jim.

In a state of disgrace, Jim was to work as a ship-chandler for various firms, but he was always on the run—to Bombay, to Calcutta, to Rangoon, to Penang, to Bangkok, to Batavia, moving Man "wants from firm to firm, always "under the shadow" of his connection to the Patna "skunks." Always, too, the paternal Marlow was striving to find "opportunities" for Jim. Persisting in these efforts, Marlow pays a visit to an acquaintance of his, Stein, an aging, successful merchant-adventurer who owns a large inter-island business in the Malay Archipelago with a lot of trading posts in out-of-the-way trading places for collecting produce [11, 123]. Bavarian-born Stein is, for Marlow, "one of the most trustworthy men" who can help to mitigate Jim’s plight. A famous entomologist and a "learned collector" of beetles and butterflies, he lives in Samarang. A sage, as well, he ponders on the problems of human existence: "Man is amazing, but he is not a masterpiece . . . man is come where he is not wanted, where there is no place for him. . . ," he says to Marlow. He goes on to observe that man "wants to be a saint, and he wants to be a devil," and even sees himself, "in a dream," "as a very fine fellow—so fine as he can never be. . . ." Solemnly, he makes this observation, so often quoted from Conrad’s writings: "A man that is born 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."

Marlow’s 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 kingdomof nature, is the province of his explorations. His musings on the mysteries of existence ultimately have the aim of enlarging our understanding of Jim’s character and soul [12, 128]. These musings also have the effect of heightening Jim’s struggles to find his true moral identity. Inevitably, abstraction and ambiguity are inherent elements in Stein’s 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 Marlow’s visit to Stein is like a visit to a medical diagnostician who possesses holistic powers of discernment—"our conference resembled so much a medical consultation—Stein of learned aspect sitting in an arm-chair before his desk. . . ." Stein’s ruminations, hence, have at times an oracular dimension, as ". . . his voice . . . seemed to roll voluminous and grave—mellowed by distance." It is in this solemn atmosphere, and with subdued tones, that Stein delivers his chief pronouncement on Jim: "‘He is romantic—romantic,’ he repeated. ‘And that is very bad—very bad. . . . Very good, too,’ he added."

The encounter with Stein assumes, almost at the mid-point of the novel, episodic significance in Jim’s moral destiny, and in the final journey of a soul in torment. Stein’s observations, insightful as they are, hardly penetrate the depths of Jim’s 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 situations—and 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 Brierly’s 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 Jim’s 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, Stein’s 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. Jim’s chief goal was "to conciliate imbecile jealousies, and argue away all sorts of senseless mistrusts." Doramin and his "distinguished son," Dain Waris, believe in Jim’s "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 Jim’s leadership, old Doramin’s 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 Jim’s 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 Jim’s 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 Jim’s 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 Jim’s love for a Eurasian girl, Jewel, who becomes his mistress. Cornelius, the "awful Malacca Portu- guese," is Jewel’s 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 Jim’s life. The enemies from without, like the enemy from within, seem to pursue Jim relentlessly. In Patusan, thus, Cornelius, resentful of being replaced as Stein’s representative in the trading post, hates Jim, never stops slandering him, wants him out of the way: "‘He knows nothing, honourable sir—nothing whatever. Who is he? What does he want here—the big thief? . . . He is a big fool. . . . He’s no more than a little child here—like a little child—a little child.’" Cornelius asks Marlow to intercede with Jim in his favor, so that he might be awarded some "‘moderate provision—suitable present,’" since "he regarded himself as entitled to some money, in exchange for the girl." But Marlow is not fazed by Cornelius’s imprecations: "He couldn’t 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 Cornelius’s 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." Marlow’s 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 victims—and 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 Jim’s figure slowly disappearing, "no bigger than a child—then 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 life—cutthroats led Man’s 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 man’s moral poverty as an inescapable reality. Indeed, what makes Jim’s fate so overpowering is that he never stops struggling against the ruthless forces of destruction that embody Conrad’s vision of evil. What Jim has accomplished in Patusan by creating a more stable social community will now be subject to attack by invaders of "undisguised ruthlessness" who would leave Patusan "strewn over with corpses and enveloped in flames." If Jim’s inner world, in the first part of the novel, is in turmoil, it is the outer world, in the second part of the novel, that is collapsing "into a ruin reeking with blood." What we hear in the concluding five chapters of Lord Jim is the braying voice of universal discord, crying out with a merciless conviction that, between the men of the Bugis nation living in Patusan and the white marauders, "there would be no faith, no compassion, no speech, no peace."

The last word of the story of Jim’s life is reserved for one of Marlow’s earlier listeners, "the privileged man," who receives a thick packet of handwritten materials, of which an explanatory letter by Marlow is the most illuminating. A narrative in epistolary form provides us, two years following the completion of Marlow’s oral narrative, with the details of the last episode that had "come" to Jim. What Marlow has done is to fit together the fragmentary pieces of Jim’s "astounding adventure" so as to record "an intelligible picture" of the last year of his life [15, 218]. The epistolary narrative here is based on the exploit of "a man called Brown," upon whom Marlow happened to come in a wretched Bangkok hovel a few hours before Brown died. The latter was thus to volunteer information that helped complete the story of Jim’s life, in which Brown himself played a final and fatal role.

The son of a baronet, Brown is famous for leading a "lawless life." He is "a latter-day buccaneer," known for his "vehement scorn for mankind at large and for victims in particular." We learn that he hung around the Philippines in his rotten schooner, which, eventually, "he sails into Jim’s history, a blind accomplice of the Dark Powers." Their meeting takes place as they face each other across a muddy creek—"standing on the opposite poles of that conception of life which includes all mankind." This encounter is of enormous consequence, as Jim, "the white lord," contends verbally with the "terrible," "sneering" Brown, who slyly invokes their "common blood, an assumption of common experience, a sickening suggestion of common guilt. . . ." The conversation, Marlow was to recall in his letter, appeared "as the deadliest kind of duel on which Fate looked on with her cold-eyed knowledge of the end." Brown, with his "satanic gift of finding out the best and the weakest spot in his victims," seems to be surveying and staking out Jim’s character and capability. Jim, on his part, intuitively feels that Brown and his men are "the emissaries with whom the world he had renounced was pursuing him in his retreat."

Perceiving the potential menace of Brown and his "rapacious" To underesti- white followers, Jim approaches the entire situation with caution; he knows that there will be either "a clear road or else a clear fight" ahead. His one thought, as he informs Doramin, is "for the people’s good." Preparations for battle now take place around the fort, and the feeling among the natives is one of anxiety, and also of hope that Jim will somehow resolve everything by convincing Brown that the way back to the sea would be a peaceful one. Jim is convinced "that it would be best to let these whites and their followers go with their lives." Unwavering as always in meeting his moral obligations, he is primarily concerned with the safety of Patusan. But he underestimates the calculating Brown, again disclosing the propensity that betrays him. Quite simply Jim does not mistrust Brown, believing as he does that both of them want to avoid bloodshed. In this respect, illusion both comforts and victimizes Jim, as the way is made clear for Brown, with the sniveling Cornelius at his side providing him with directions, to withdraw from Patusan, now guarded by Dain Waris’s forces.

Brown’s purpose is not only to escape but also to get even with Jim for not becoming his ally, and to punish the natives for their earlier resistance to his intrusion. When retreating towards the coast his men deceitfully open fire on an outpost of Patusan, killing the surprised and panic-stricken natives, as well as Dain Waris, "the only son of Nakhoda Doramin," who had earlier acceded to Jim’s request that Brown and his party should be allowed to leave without harm. It could have been otherwise, to be sure, given the superior numbers of the native defenders. Once again, it is made painfully clear, Jim flinches in discernment and in leadership, naïvely trusting in his illusion, in his dream, unaware of the evil power of retribution that impels Brown and that slinks in humankind. That, too, Brown’s schooner later sprung a bad leak and sank, he himself being the only survivor to be found in a white long-boat, and that the deceitful Cornelius was to be found and struck down by Jim’s ever loyal servant, Tamb' Itam, can hardly compensate for the destruction and the deaths that took place as a result of Jim’s failure of judgment. Marlow’s earlier demurring remark has a special relevance at this point: "I would have trusted the deck to that youngster [Jim] on the strength of a single glance . . . but, by Jove! it wouldn’t have been safe."

Jim’s decision to allow free passage to Brown stems from his concern with preserving an orderly community in Patusan: he did Moral pride not want to see all his good work and influence destroyed by violent acts. But clearly he had misjudged Brown’s character. Neither Jim’s honesty nor his courage, however, are to be impugned; his moral sense, in this case, is what consciously guided his rational conception of civilization. But a failure of moral vision, induced perhaps by moral pride and romanticism, blinds him to real danger. When Tamb' Itam returns from the outpost to inform Jim about what has happened, Jim is staggered. He fathoms fully the effects of Brown’s "cruel treachery," even as he understands that his own safety in Patusan is now at risk, given Dain Waris’s death and Doramin’s dismay and grief over events for which he holds Jim responsible. For Jim the entire situation is untenable, as well as perplexing: "He had retreated from one world for a small matter of an impulsive jump, and now the other, the work of his own hands, had fallen in ruins upon his head." His feeling of isolation is rending, as he realizes that "he has lost again all men’s confidence." The "dark powers" have robbed him twice of his peace.

To Tamb' Itam’s plea that he should fight for his life against Doramin’s inevitable revenge, Jim bluntly cries, "‘I have no life.’" Jewel, too, "wrestling with him for the possession of her happiness," also begs him to put up a fight, or try to escape, but Jim does not heed her. "He was going to prove his power in another way and conquer the fatal destiny itself." This is, truly, "‘a day of evil, an accursed day,’" for Jim and for Patusan. When Dain Waris’s body is brought into Doramin’s campong, the "old nakhoda" was "to let out one great fierce cry . . . as mighty as the bellow of a wounded bull." The scene here is harrowing in terms of grief, as he women of the household "began to wail together; they mourned with shrill cries; the sun was setting, and in the intervals of screamed lamentations the high sing-song voices of two old men intoning the Koran chanted alone." The scene is desolate, unconsoling, rendered in the language of apocalypse; the sky over Patusan is blood-red, with "an enormous sun nestled crimson amongst the tree-tops, and the forest below had a black and forbidding face." Jim now appears silently before Doramin, who is sitting in his arm-chair, a pair of flintlock pistols on his knees. "‘I am come in sorrow,’" he cries out to Doramin, who stared at Jim "with an expression of mad pain, of rage, with a ferocious glitter. . . . and lifting deliberately his right [hand], shot his son’s friend through the chest."

At the end of his explanatory letter Marlow remarks that Jim "passes away under a cloud, inscrutable at heart, forgotten, unforgiven, and excessively romantic." Such a remark, of course, must be placed in the context of Marlow’s total narrative, with all of the tensions and the ambiguities that occur in relating the story of Jim’s life as it unfolds in the novel. Nor can Marlow’s words here be construed as a moral censure of Jim [10, 156]. What exemplifies Marlow’s narrative, in fact, is the integrity of its content, as the details, reflections, judgments, demurrals emerge with astonishing and attenuating openness, deliberation. There is no single aspect of Jim’s life and character that is not measured and presented in full view of the reader. If judgment is to be made regarding Jim’s situation, Conrad clearly shows, then affirmations and doubts, triumphs and failures will have to be disclosed and evaluated cumulatively.

No one is more mercilessly exposed to the world than Jim. And no one stands more naked before our judgment than he. The scrutiny of Jim’s beliefs and attitudes, and of his actions and inactions, is relentless in depth and latitude. He himself cannot hide or flee, no matter where he happens to be. Marlow well discerns Jim’s supreme aloneness in his struggles to find himself in himself, to master his fate, beyond the calumnies of his enemies and the loyalty and love of his friends—and beyond his own rigorous self-judgments. The anguish of struggle consumes everything and everyone in the novel, and nothing and no one can be the same again once in contact with him. In Jim, it can be said, we see ourselves, for he is "one of us," he is our "common fate," which prohibits us to "let him slip away into the darkness."

2.2 "Human Bondage" and it’s moral duality

From a moral perspective the Official Court of Inquiry literally takes place throughout Lord Jim. Jim never ceases to react to charges of cowardice and of irresponsibility; never ceases to strive earnestly to prove his moral worthiness. He seems never to be in a state of repose, is always under pressure, always examining his tensive state of mind and soul. Self-illumination rather than self-justification, or even self-rehabilitation, is his central aim, and he knows, too, that such a process molds his own efforts and pain [15, 83]. He neither expects nor accepts help or absolution from others, nor does he blame others for his own sins of commission or omission. His character is thus one of singular transparency, acutely self-conscious, and vulnerable.

Jim’s moral sense weighs heavily on him and drives him on sundry, sometimes contradictory, lines of moral awareness and behavior. In this respect he brings to mind the relevance of Edmund Burke’s words: "The lines of morality are not like the ideal lines of mathematics. They are broad and deep as well as long. They admit of exceptions; they demand modifications."4 Gnostic commentators who view the moral demands of this novel as confusing or uncertain fail to see that the lines of morality, even when they take different directions and assume different forms, inevitably crystallize in something that is solid in revelation and in value.5

Clearly Jim’s high-mindedness and character are problematic, and his scale of human values is excessively romantic. Thus heromanticizes what it means to be a sailor, what duty is, even what cowardice is. The fact is that he is too "noble" to accommodate real-life situations. In essence, then, Jim violates what the ancient Greeks revered as the "law of measure." And ultimately his pride, his lofty conception of what is required of him in responsible leadership and duty, his high idealism, mar the supreme Hellenic virtue of sophrosyne- . Jim’s conduct dramatizes to an "unsafe" degree the extremes of arrogance, and of self-delusion and self-assertion. Above all his idealism becomes a peculiar kind of escape from the paradoxes and antinomies that have to be faced in what Burke calls the "antagonist world."

In the end, Jim’s habit of detachment and abstraction manifestly rarefies his moral sense and diminishes and even neutralizes the moral meaning of his decisions and actions. His self-proclaimed autonomy dramatizes monomania and egoism, and makes him incapable of harmonious human interrelations, let alone a redeeming humility. His moral sense is consequently incomplete as a paradigm, and his moral virtues are finite. And his fate, as it is defined and shaped by his tragic flaw, does not attain true grandeur. In Jim, it can be said, Conrad presents heroism withall its limitations [14, 147].

Despite the circumstances of his moral incompleteness, Jim both possesses and enacts the quality of endurance in facing the darkness in himself and in the world around him. Even when he yearns to conceal himself in some forgotten corner of the universe, there to separate himself from other imperfect or fallen humans, from thieves and renegades, and from the harsh exigencies of existence, he also knows that unconditional separation is not attainable. He persists, however erratically or skeptically, in his pursuit to reconcile the order of the community and the order of the soul; and he perseveres in his belief in the axiomatic principles of honor, of loyalty, prescribing the need to transcend inner and outer moral squalor. His death, even if it shows the power of violence, of the evil that stalks man and humanity, of the flaws and foibles that afflict one’s self, does not diminish the abiding example of Jim’s struggle to discover and to overcome moral lapses.

Jim can never silence the indwelling moral sense which inspires and illuminates his life-journey. Throughout this journey the virtue of endurance does not abandon him, does not betray him, even when he betrays himself and others. He endures in order to prevail. In Lord Jim, Joseph Conrad portrays a fitful but ascendant process of transfiguration in the life of a solitary hero whose courage of endurance contains the seeds of redemption. Such a life recalls the eternal promise of the Evangelist’s words: "He that endureth to the end shall be saved."

The major character of the novel, Philip, spends most of his life in two places, which become the dominant settings for the book. From the time he becomes aware of the world around him until his adolescence, Philip is found in Blackstable and its neighboring town of Tercanbury. Even after he goes abroad to study, he keeps coming beck to Blackstable during the holidays and whenever he feels the need for a change.

In the process of establishing his identity, Philip visits London twice and spends the major part of his mature years in that city. Returning back from Heidelberg, he goes to London to become a clerk in the company of Chartered Accountants. When he realizes he has no aptitude for accounting, he returns……

Philip Carey - an orphan with a clubfoot. He is the protagonist of the novel whose story Maugham traces fromage nine to thirty.

William Carey - the uncle of Philip and the vicar of Blackstable. He is self-centered and rigid in his views.

Mildred Rogers - Philip’s antagonist on one level. Selfish, shallow, and flirtatious, she successfully lures Philip with her charms.

Thorpe Athelny - a boisterous journalist. He is a loving family man who becomes Philip’s friend, philosopher, and guide.

Mrs. Carey - the kind and gentle wife of the vicar. She loves Philip and helps him fulfil his desires.

Mr. Perkins - one of Philip’s well-wishers. He is the scholarly headmaster of King’s School.

The novel is the story of Philip Carey. The story opens with his mother dying after childbirth. The nine-year-old Philip is taken by his uncle to Blackstable. After spending a few initial years at the Vicarage, the boy is admitted to King’s School at Tercanbury. Having a clubfoot, he is ostracized and becomes introverted, but his intelligence and his aptitude for studies help him academically. Unable to bear the humiliation and taunts of his fellow students and the rigid norms of school, he finally quits and goes to Germany. In Germany, Philip learns new languages, is introduced to philosophy, and discovers the beauty of nature. His stay in Heidelberg expands his vision of humanity and life. He graduates and starts planning his future.

After talking to his uncle, Philip decides to go to London to become a clerk; however, he discovers after a few months that he is more inclined toward art than accounting. Taking financial aid from his aunt, he leaves for Paris to study. The city gives him an insight into the world of artists and their struggle to exhibit their talent. At the end of two years, he also discovers that he lacks the potential to be a great artist. As a result, he leaves Paris and returns back to Blackstable.

Philip decides to take up his father’s profession of medicine and enrolls as a student in St. Luke’s hospital. He does not, however, pursue his goal in earnest because of a waitress named Mildred [8, 121].

The major theme of the novel is that the submission to passion is human bondage, while the exercise of reason is human liberty. Philip Carey loves Mildred passionately and, in trying to possess her, traps himself in her bondage. His freedom is curbed, his education is disrupted, and his fortune is lost. All his reasoning, power, and intelligence are eradicated by his passion for Mildred.

There are several minor themes in the novel. The first is that inappropriate love can be destructive. In spite of her many weaknesses, Philip loves Mildred and showers his affection and money on her. He even sacrifices his education and limited resources to please her. In the process, Philip wastes the important years of his life following a woman who is not deserving of his love. It is definitely a destructive relationship for Philip, one that keeps him in bondage [8, 128].

The mood of the novel is serious, but not gloomy. Maugham, with irony and cynicism, presents the struggle of a lonely protagonist and the turmoil in his mind.

William Somerset Maugham, the youngest child of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Maugham, was born in Paris, France on January 25, 1874. At the time of his birth, his father was working as a lawyer for the British Embassy in Paris. In 1882, his mother died of tuberculosis. His three brothers went to study in London, and William was sent to a clergyman attached to the British Embassy. When his father died two years later, there was no one to look after him in Paris. As a result, h e was sent to Kent to live with his uncle, Henry Maugham. Since his uncle and aunt were childless, they found it difficult to care for him. William, at the age of ten, was a lonely and unhappy child. His life at King’s School in Canterbury was no better. Frail and sensitive, he felt isolated from the other boys because of his stammer.

Maugham was smart, but the rigid school discipline and the taunts of his classmates made him leave school before he could complete his education. He left for Germany with the help of his uncle.

Of Human Bondage is semi-autobiographical. In it Maugham reveals his childhood, his student days in Heidelberg and London, and his philosophy of life. It was not, however, his first autobiographical attempt. In the Artistic Temperament of Stephen Carey, Maugham retold much of his first twenty-four years of life. The protagonist, however, was sent to Rouen instead of Heidelberg and studied music instead of painting. The novel did not come up to Maugham’s expectations and was not published. [10, 183]

The novel opens with the scene of a dying woman attended by a doctor and the nurses. She has just delivered a stillborn child, and her condition is critical. At her request, the nurse brings her first-born child, Philip, to her bedside. Mrs. Carey caresses him, tenderly touches his feet, and bursts into tears. The doctor advises her to rest, and the boy is taken away by the nurse to his godmother, Miss Wilkens. Shortly afterwards, the woman dies.

Philip is brought back home to meet his uncle, William Carey, the brother of Philip’s father and the vicar of Blackstable. The Vicar informs the boy that he would be accompanying him to Blackstable to live there. Even though William Carey and his wife are kind and childless, the prospect of having a boy under their roof does not really delight them. Their means are limited, and Philip’s father had left behind only 2000 pounds for the boy, which had to last him until he was old enough to earn his own living.

Philip, though disturbed by the thought of leaving his home, is reconciled to the situation. As a mark of remembrance, he picks up his mother’s favorite clock, visits his mother’s room, and prepares to depart. As he journeys with his uncle to Blackstable, he forgets his sorrows and enjoys the countryside scenery. When they reach Blackstable, everything about the place and its people seems strange to Philip.

In these opening chapters, Maugham conveys the poignancy of Philip’s situation through clear descriptions and short conversations. It is a touching scene when his mother calls him to her bedside before she dies. They obviously had a close relationship, as evidenced by her tender touches, by his taking her favorite clock as a remembrance, and by his trying to feel her presence left in her room. Because Philip has a clubfoot, she has probably been particularly gentle and patient with her first-born son [10, 187].

The loss of his mother and her baby are made all the more tragic when Philip finds out he must leave home. Because he is now an orphan at the age of nine, he must go to live with his uncle, William Carey, and his wife in Blackstable; unfortunately, they are not particularly pleased about raising the child, and Philip is not pleased about going. He does not want to leave his home and the memories of his mother. He goes into her room to vent his emotions. Hiding his face in her clothes, he tries to breathe her into his being by touching and smelling the things that belonged to her. In these first chapters, Maugham does an outstanding job of presenting Philip as a sensitive and intelligent child who craves affection and sympathy.

Philip shows his innocence when he looks with curiosity at all the sights on his way to Blackstable; he is struck with wonder at the vision and temporarily forgets his sorrow and loneliness. He is almost eager to see a new place. After all, as a handicapped child he has been closely watched and protected. He has not experienced much of the world.

At Blackstable, Philip finds the ways of his uncle and aunt quite different. Although they are kind, he is not comfortable with them, and they feel strange with a child in the vicarage. Philip watches in amazement as his uncle offers him only the top portion of a boiled egg at tea, when he craves the whole thing. In spite of such peculiar habits, Philip learns to adjust to his surroundings and tries to please his guardians. It is important to notice several things in these opening chapters. Although Philip’s clubfoot is not made an issue here, it is mentioned because it becomes more important later in the novel. The interest in money is also presented. The Careys are not well off, and they worry that the 2,000 pounds (equivalent to about $10,000 at the time of the novel) will not be enough to provide for Philip until he is on his own. A concern about money will be seen throughout the book, for Philip will have and lose a fortune. Finally, the British tradition of tea is presented and will be seen frequently throughout the novel.

The plot of Of Human Bondage traces the story of one man’s struggle for survival in a cruel world. Most of the action is mental, as the protagonist tries to conquer his passion and replace it with reason. There is a great deal of introductory material to establish Philip’s background and philosophies. It is not until the book is almost half over that the antagonist, Mildred, is introduced. The rising action of the plot is then one misadventure with Mildred after another.

The dominant theme in the novel is human bondage. Throughout life, Philip experiences bondage to different things, and the novel is his fight to find freedom from the bondage. Philip is born with a physical deformity that causes him to suffer humiliation and isolation. His clubfoot becomes a bondage to him throughout the book. It curbs his physical activity in school and makes him the object of criticism.

Of Human Bondage is a novel of adolescence, initiation, passage into adulthood,… the traditional bildungsroman, fashionable in the first half of the XXth century. It soon established itself as a classic and became a favorite of many readers in their twenties, mostly men.

Of Human Bondage introduces the hero, Philip Carey, at eight years old, as he becomes an orphan when his mother dies, soon after giving birth to a stillborn child. Philip is sent to be raised by his uncle and aunt, sixty miles from London. His uncle, a vicar, is self-centered and thinks only about fulfilling his appetites and attracting people to his church. His aunt cares for him but is very awkward at showing her feelings, as she never had any children of her own.

Philip is afflicted by a handicap: a clubfoot that makes him a scapegoat in the boarding-school where he studies until he is old enough to be ordained and follow in the steps of his uncle. But Philip, growing up, develops different ambitions…

He first realizes that the almighty God who can move mountains can’t or won’t cure his clubfoot, despite his ardent prayers. Little by little, he looses his faith and starts to turn to philosophy to understand the world. Along the way, he meets people who, with their perspectives on life, make him think differently; he progressively builds his own personality. Before graduating from school, he decides that he will not go to Oxford, despite the fact that he is clever and hard-working enough to earn a scholarship: instead, he decides to spend some time in Germany.

He starts to wonder about love and gets romantic ideas and ideals, first by observing couples and then by a first-hand experience with an older woman, a friend of his aunt and uncle. But his frustration grows, when he realizes that he has not experienced love as it is described in the numerous novels he likes to read [9, 96].

Training for some months as an accountant in London, he understands that this is not what he is meant to do and, since he can draw, sets his mind on becoming an artist and goes to Paris to learn the craft. The part of the book set in Montmartre reminds strongly of Zola’s The Masterpiece. Sensing and having been confirmed that he has no real talent, he gives up la vie de bohême after a while and returns to London to study medicine. Surprisingly, he shows real compassion to his patients and finally succeeds in the profession that he chose as the last resort.

But the turning-point of the book, from which the title derives, is his passionate and destructive relationship with Mildred, a waitress whom he finds common, vulgar, stupid and anemic, but whom he is desperately attracted to, against reason and his best interest. Because of this attraction, he will compromise his studies, loose his money and almost his sanity.

Of Human Bondage certainly appeals most to readers between fifteen and twenty, at the age when one spends hours philosophizing about love, arts and the meaning of life (later we turn to the Monthy Python to understand the meaning of life!)… The ideas discussed by Philip and his friends probably sound familiar to many readers, which explains why so many people are drawn to this book. I probably would have enjoyed it more a decade ago…

The main themes developed in the book are of course the passage into adulthood, the opposition between passion and reason, bondage and freedom, and we see that even if Philip is completely aware of being used and ridiculed by Mildred, he cannot get away from her… Other minor themes treated along the way are art (how does one define a piece of art? does art reproduce reality or is reality defined by the painter who gives to see?), religion (must a man abide by the law if he doesn’t believe in God, knowing that the conception of good and evil is based on Judeo-Christianism?), etc.

Of Human Bondage is largely autobiographical. Somerset Maugham started of as a doctor before becoming a novel writer, a successful play writer, and again a novelist. His mother passed away when he was eight, a very traumatic experience in his life, and he was raised, like Philip, by his vicar uncle. He didn’t have a clubfoot, but was stammering. Critics have pointed out that the clubfoot however didn’t symbolize his stammer, but his homosexuality, that was considered a handicap back then. They also argue that Mildred’s description corresponds to a very androgynous woman (flat chest, thin lips, etc.). Somerset Maugham is not the first author to describe a heroine in ambiguous terms. After all, Marcel Proust’s model for Albertine was probably a man and Poe’s Ligeia has masculine physical features (for a different reason though: Poe couldn’t conceive an actual woman clever and learned like his Ligeia is supposed to be: that is what happens when one marries his thirteen-years-old tuberculous cousin!). Since I like to get unprejudiced ideas on the books I discover, I only read the preface afterwards and I had gotten a hint that Somerset Maugham was homosexual, not through the description of Mildred though, but rather, when he describes the relationships he shares with his male friends (Philip is jealous, exclusive, enjoys to be mothered by a friend while he is sick in bed): it had seemed to me pretty obvious then…


Conclusion to part II

Lord Jim (1900), Joseph Conrad’s fourth novel, is the story of a ship which collides with "a floating derelict" and will doubtlessly "go down at any moment" during a "silent black squall."

This novel, from beginning to end, is the story of Jim; throughout the focus is on his life and character, on what he has done, or A story not done, on his crime and punishment, his failure of nerve as aseaman. It is, as well, the story of his predicament and his fate, the destiny of his soul—of high expectations and the great "chance missed," of "wasted opportunity" and "what he had failed to ob- pretence stain," all the result of leaving his post, and abdicating his responsibility.

From a moral perspective the Official Court of Inquiry literally takes place throughout Lord Jim. Jim never ceases to react to charges of cowardice and of irresponsibility; never ceases to strive earnestly to prove his moral worthiness. He seems never to be in a state of repose, is always under pressure, always examining his tensive state of mind and soul.

Jim’s moral sense weighs heavily on him and drives him on sundry, sometimes contradictory, lines of moral awareness and behavior. In this respect he brings to mind the relevance of Edmund Burke’s words: "The lines of morality are not like the ideal lines of mathematics.

The major theme of the novel is that the submission to passion is human bondage, while the exercise of reason is human liberty. Philip Carey loves Mildred passionately and, in trying to possess her, traps himself in her bondage. His freedom is curbed, his education is disrupted, and his fortune is lost. All his reasoning, power, and intelligence are eradicated by his passion for Mildred.

There are several minor themes in the novel. The first is that inappropriate love can be destructive. In spite of her many weaknesses, Philip loves Mildred and showers his affection and money on her. He even sacrifices his education and limited resources to please her. In the process, Philip wastes the important years of his life following a woman who is not deserving of his love. It is definitely a destructive relationship for Philip, one that keeps him in bondage.

The major theme of the novel is that the submission to passion is human bondage, while the exercise of reason is human liberty. Philip Carey loves Mildred passionately and, in trying to possess her, traps himself in her bondage. His freedom is curbed, his education is disrupted, and his fortune is lost. All his reasoning, power, and intelligence are eradicated by his passion for Mildred.

There are several minor themes in the novel. The first is that inappropriate love can be destructive. In spite of her many weaknesses, Philip loves Mildred and showers his affection and money on her. He even sacrifices his education and limited resources to please her. In the process, Philip wastes the important years of his life following a woman who is not deserving of his love. It is definitely a destructive relationship for Philip, one that keeps him in bondage.


GENERAL CONCLUSION

On the basis of above-stated we came to a conclusion, that Literature in 20th century begins with a serie of movements, some of them contradictory between them, as Symbolism, Decadentism, Impressionism and, in Hispanic literature, Modernism, The Generation of '98.

During the two first decades , two literary conceptions are imposed to writers: Those writers for whom literary work is the expression of a cultural experience and fall in intellectualism; and writers who, in view of the chaos of the time and the dissatisfaction of bourgeois world, see literary work as an adventure, as an irrational experience.

In the thirties, some historic and socioeconomic facts, affected literature. It will express the search, through the action, of ethical values.

After the World War, writers will insist in the same attitudes: moral crisis and technical experimentation.

From a moral perspective the Official Court of Inquiry literally takes place throughout Lord Jim. Jim never ceases to react to charges of cowardice and of irresponsibility; never ceases to strive earnestly to prove his moral worthiness. He seems never to be in a state of repose, is always under pressure, always examining his tensive state of mind and soul. Self-illumination rather than self-justification, or even self-rehabilitation, is his central aim, and he knows, too, that such a process molds his own efforts and pain. He neither expects nor accepts help or absolution from others, nor does he blame others for his own sins of commission or omission. His character is thus one of singular transparency, acutely self-conscious, and vulnerable.

Jim can never silence the indwelling moral sense which inspires and illuminates his life-journey. Throughout this journey the virtue of endurance does not abandon him, does not betray him, even when he betrays himself and others. He endures in order to prevail. In Lord Jim, Joseph Conrad portrays a fitful but ascendant process of transfiguration in the life of a solitary hero whose courage of endurance contains the seeds of redemption. Such a life recalls the eternal promise of the Evangelist’s words: "He that endureth to the end shall be saved."

Of Human Bondage is a novel of adolescence, initiation, passage into adulthood, the traditional bildungsroman, fashionable in the first half of the XX-th century. It soon established itself as a classic and became a favorite of many readers in their twenties, mostly men.

Of Human Bondage is largely autobiographical. Somerset Maugham started of as a doctor before becoming a novel writer, a successful play writer, and again a novelist.

According to our aim and hypothesis of investigation, in our work we proved the reflection of problems of human morality and relationships on the example of W. Summerset’s and J. Conrad’s creativity.

We solved such tasks as:

- to research the main representatives of the prose writing in the first half of the

twentieth century;

- to investigate the similarity and difference of themes and genres of the leading

literature representatives;

- to research The problem of humanity in the work as a leading Inclination of

W. Somerset and J. Conrad.


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