by Joseph Conrad
Lord Jim Memory and the Past Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Marlow's body, extended at rest in the seat, would become very still, as though his spirit had winged its way back into the lapse of time and were speaking through his lips from the past. (4.11)
If ever anyone could pull off time travel, we think it just might be Marlow. Here he seems to slip back into the past with no effort at all. Or maybe it's that the past slips into him.
"Why I longed to go grubbing into the deplorable details of an occurrence which, after all, concerned me no more than as a member of an obscure body of men held together by a community of inglorious toil and by fidelity to a certain standard of conduct, I can't explain." (5.14)
Shmoop thinks this is a really fancy way of saying that Marlow really doesn't have any business snooping around in Jim's past. Nor does he understand why in the world he's doing it in the first place. Morbid curiosity, maybe?
"Of course the recollection of my last conversation with Brierly is tinged with the knowledge of his end that followed so close upon it. (6.13)
Talk about time warp. With these words Marlow reminds us that his conversation with Brierly is the past of the past. Brierly's suicide, which is in the past, has changed Marlow's memory of his conversation with Captain B, which happened even before his suicide, which is still in the future of the moment Marlow is describing. Yikes. If your head is spinning, just remember that the takeaway point here is that memories shape each other; Marlow's memory of Brierly's death has changed the way he remembers their chat.