by Joseph Conrad
Lord Jim Theme of Exile
After his Patna disgrace, Jim refuses to have contact with people he knew before, including his own family. Though we feel sympathy for his unfortunate situation, Jim is the author of his own exile. This sends our boy on a long search for a new place to call home, which you might say he finds on Patusan. Lord Jim traces the great deal of lonely wandering before he manages to carve out a little corner of the world for himself. Though he does manage to make a name for himself in Patusan, Jim's self-imposed exile is always in the back of his and our minds.
Questions About Exile
- Does Patusan seem like home, or just another stop on Jim's long wanderings in exile?
- Do you think Jim misses Jolly Old England? Or is he too busy to bother with homesickness?
- Are there any other characters in exile in the novel? Who else is living far from home? What about Stein? How is his exile described?
- Why does Jim force himself into exile? Why doesn't he just go back to England and his beloved dad?
Chew on This
Conrad argues that there is no place on earth for Jim to escape the Patna incident as long as he refuses to let go of his past, so all this exile business is totally pointless.
Jim isn't the only one in exile. Most of the other characters are far from home, including Marlow, who copes with his exile by devoting himself to storytelling.