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Lord Jim | Chapter Summaries

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Timeline of Events

  • Late 1800s

    Jim dreams of a life at sea and is sent to a training ship for officers of the mercantile marine.

    Chapter 1
  • While in training

    Jim fails to act swiftly during a crisis, foreshadowing a later failure to live up to his ideals.

    Chapter 1
  • After two years of training

    Jim goes to sea and becomes chief mate of a fine ship.

    Chapter 2
  • A while later

    Left behind in an Eastern port because of an injury, Jim signs on as the Patna's first mate.

    Chapter 2
  • During the voyage

    The ship, carrying 800 Muslim pilgrims, collides with something unseen in the night.

    Chapter 3
  • Shortly after

    A squall threatens to sink the damaged ship, prompting the crew, including Jim, to abandon it.

    Chapter 9
  • Next morning

    The Patna, still afloat, is rescued by a French gunboat and towed safely to the port of Aden.

    Chapter 12
  • Sunset, the same day

    The Avondale picks up Jim and the other deserters, who claim the Patna and its passengers are lost.

    Chapter 12
  • About two weeks later

    The Patna's captain files a false report on the sinking and then refuses to face an inquiry.

    Chapter 5
  • A month or so afterward

    Jim faces the court inquiry alone; Marlow attends the inquest and becomes interested in Jim.

    Chapter 4
  • After the inquiry

    Stripped of his license, Jim works as a water clerk, always on the run from rumors of his disgrace.

    Chapter 18
  • About three years later

    Jim is given an opportunity to make a fresh start as a trading post agent on remote Patusan.

    Chapter 21
  • Within a few days

    On Patusan, Jim escapes a rajah's prison, allies with an island chief, and takes over his new post.

    Chapter 25
  • Six weeks later

    With the chief's help, Jim defeats Sherif Ali, subdues Rajah Allang, and becomes Tuan Jim.

    Chapter 26
  • During this time

    Jim meets and falls in love with Jewel, stepdaughter of Cornelius, the former trading post agent.

    Chapter 28
  • Three years later

    Gentleman Brown, a buccaneer on the run, is foiled in his attempt to raid Patusan for provisions.

    Chapter 38
  • Several days later

    Cornered, Brown persuades Jim to provide him and his crew "a clear road" away from Patusan.

    Chapter 41
  • Soon after

    Jim arranges safe passage for the raiders, ready to forfeit his life if any islanders are harmed.

    Chapter 42
  • Next morning

    Before leaving Patusan, Brown springs a vengeful attack on the islanders, killing the chief's son.

    Chapter 44
  • That evening

    Jim honors his promise, presents himself to be sacrificed, and meets death unflinchingly.

    Chapter 45

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Chapters 1–2 Jim has a last name but is oddly "anxious that it should not be pronounced." To one and all, he is just Jim. He is a t... Read More
Chapters 3–5 It is night as the Patna crosses the Arabian Sea. The ship moves steadily and serenely across the water "smooth and co... Read More
Chapters 6–7 The court inquiry begins as scheduled but not with the goal of solving how the Patna came to be damaged. That would be... Read More
Chapters 8–9 Marlow resumes Jim's tale of the growing crisis aboard the Patna. Desperate to save lives, Jim decides to cut the rest... Read More
Chapters 10–12 The squall descends, and, for several minutes, the men in the lifeboat are "blinded and half-drowned with rain." While... Read More
Chapters 13–14 Having shared what he knows of the Patna incident, the French lieutenant asks Marlow, "What was there at the bottom of... Read More
Chapters 15–18 In a while, Marlow finds Jim down at the waterside, "leaning over the parapet of the quay," staring down into the ripp... Read More
Chapters 19–20 To his circle of friends, Marlow explains these two incidents represent Jim's "manner of dealing with himself under th... Read More
Chapters 21–23 Marlow asks his listening friends if they have heard of Patusan. As they have not, he explains it is a place that is k... Read More
Chapters 24–27 Marlow's only visit to Patusan comes two years after Jim takes over the trading post. Stopping at the fishing village ... Read More
Chapters 28–30 In defeat, Sherif Ali flees the country. Jim, with the help of Dain Waris, appoints new headmen in place of the villag... Read More
Chapters 31–33 Jim spends the next day in Doramin's camp, explaining his plan and "preaching the necessity of vigorous action." He pl... Read More
Chapters 34–35 Marlow reviews that Jim has told Jewel his story, and she will not believe him. Likewise she believes he, Marlow, has ... Read More
Chapters 36–37 Marlow ends his narrative, and his audience drifts on the verandah deep in thought and without remark. However, Jim's ... Read More
Chapters 38–40 Marlow begins his narrative with a description of the man called Brown, whose life will intersect Jim's. Brown is the ... Read More
Chapters 41–43 Jim arrives to meet Brown, just as Cornelius predicted. The two men come face-to-face across the stream, perhaps near ... Read More
Chapters 44–45 Brown's boat slowly approaches the spot along the backwater nearest Dain Waris's camp. Brown orders his men to load th... Read More
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