Study Guide

Nostromo Part 3, Chapter 10

By Joseph Conrad

Part 3, Chapter 10

  • The book now hits fast forward in a big way, and we are privy to the story Captain Mitchell tells visitors whey they come to (wait for it) the capital of the Occidental Republic. Looks like Martin's plan came to fruition after all. Let's check out how it all went down…
  • Mitchell describes Barrios's defeat of Pedrito's men. Gamacho was executed. The miners marched on the town, led by Don Pepe.
  • The premise of this chapter is that we're getting these details as Captain Mitchell leads his visitor(s) on a tour of Sulaco. When he and his guest reach the cathedral, we learn that it contains memorial tributes to Don Avellanos (who died in the woods of Los Hatos) and Martin. Sad, it's looking like Martin's island getaway ended badly…
  • As far as other political appointments: Don Juste López has been made Chief of State, and Hernández is now Minister of War. He had been the general of the cavalry that killed Fuentes.
  • The Goulds and the doctor also survived, we learn, when Mitchell passes Emilia and the doctor during this tour.
  • Mitchell then describes Nostromo's part in these historical events. He relays the details of Nostromo's trip to Cayta and triumphant return with Barrios. He also describes how Doctor Monygham kept Sotillo busy for days looking for that silver. In fact, the doctor was about to be executed when Barrios's men sailed into town and attacked Sotillo and his men.
  • General Montero was eventually shot and killed, and Pedrito fled the country.
  • Then, Mitchell describes how Nostromo's life proceeded from there. To thank Nostromo for his role in the affair, he and Mrs. Gould bought him a schooner for him to use to do business up and down the seaboard. Nostromo paid back the cost of the schooner within three years.
  • Nostromo had also met with Antonia upon his return from Cayta to talk about Martin and what happened to him. Um, yeah, what did happen to him? We don't really find out, since apparently Nostromo seems to have gone all-in on the "drowned" story that Hirsch was originally peddling, and that's what Marshall had heard. Hmmm.
  • The narration then floats away from Mitchell and his stories and joins up with Nostromo back in the moment he was about to arrive in Sulaco with Barrios. Oh good—now we'll find out what really happened to Martin.
  • Apparently, he and Barrios had become fast friends and everything was peachy.
  • As they were rolling into the harbor, however, Nostromo saw the lighter's boat floating out in the middle of the gulf, which told him something had gone wrong with Martin. He jumped overboard to go see what was up. Barrios, needless to say, was not pleased.
  • When he reached the little boat, he climbed in. He noticed blood.
  • Bringing it up on the beach at the Great Isabel, he went to check on the silver. It was still there, but four ingots were missing. Nostromo lamented that Martin would, it appeared, never be able to explain these strange findings.
  • Then the narration shifts focus again, and we get some of the answers Nostromo was seeking. The long and short of it is that Martin was going bat-poo insane on the Great Isabel all by himself. After several days, he concluded that Nostromo was dead and probably not coming back, so he grabbed four silver ingots, took a boat out, shot himself, and rolled himself overboard. The silver served to weigh his body down.
  • Now the narration flashes back to Nostromo, who wondered how Martin died. Then he tried to figure out what to do with the silver. He was resolved to keep it, musing that he would have to become wealthy slowly.