Study Help Essay Questions


1.     What is Marlow's narrative purpose in the novel?

2.     What dramatic effect is gained by having an unidentified narrator tell Jim's story until he jumps from the Patna?

3.     What is the moral wrong that Jim believes he has committed?

4.     Define the word "dilemma"; what is Jim's dilemma?

5.     Discuss Marlow as a father-figure to Jim.

6.     What is Jim's final, redeeming act of courage? Define the word "courage" in relation to your answer.

7.     Does Jim find "redemption" in Patusan? Define the word "redemption" in relation to your answer.

8.     Discuss the terms guilt, responsibility, duty, courage, cowardice, and honor in terms of Jim's life.

9.     Discuss the symbolism and/or irony in Jim's wearing white clothing.

10.     Can any of Jim's reactions be explained in terms of the details of his childhood from the clues that are revealed to us?

11.     Which is more important to Jim — justifying himself to the world? Or justifying his actions to himself?

12.     What does Stein mean when he calls Jim a "romantic"?

13.     If Jim is "one of us," is Marlow a romantic?

14.     In terms of Stein's symbolism, is Jim a butterfly or a beetle?

15.     What role does Jewel play in Jim's life?

16.     Describe Jim's relationship with Tamb' Itam.

17.     What causes Jim to trust Brown?

18.     Discuss the symbolism of the silver ring.

19.     Trace Conrad's use of light and darkness throughout the novel.

20.     Why did Jim choose to try and find forgiveness in a dark, wild, isolated pocket of mankind?

21.     Outline your ideas for a short essay on the "jump motif" in this novel.