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Lord Jim is a moving book in which the protagonist investigates the heroism of a French lieutenant. Joseph Conrad wrote the novel in 1899. The plot revolves around a ship that has been deserted by its crew, which includes Jim, the story's protagonist. Captain Marlow, a skilled sailor, and storyteller, tells people about Jim's sad story. The novel also includes the French officer and Stein, who are minor characters who play important roles in the plot's development. While the officer saves a sinking ship, Stein is a good merchant. The reader can see how he overcomes his anxiety and stays on the ship for thirty hours. As such, the roles played by Stein and the French officer unfold the events of the story which is critical in propelling the underlying theme.
French lieutenant is a minor character, who is incredibly significant in the novel. In the novel Conrad uses him to teach the audience essential lessons. Indeed, the reader views him to be a model of conduct, and the story continually displays that determination and endurance are vital. He teaches people that in times of difficulties, a solution should be found and not to panic or give up. Notably, his conduct is contrary to that of Stein. Unlike Stein, he ignores the dangers of the ship and the possibility that it could sink. He remains with the ship for thirty hours depicting and persistent character. The reader also thinks that the French lieutenant is a hero and carries out actions for the betterment of other people. He is not self-centered, which will make him to only think of himself. Instead, he goes out of his way no matter the circumstances. Perhaps, an evident factor that the audience is able to see is that he is devoted to his duty and vows to save Patna. The officer says that "One does not die of it ... Of being afraid" and this vividly showcases to the reader that he is a hero, who is willing to save people (Conrad 17). He means that self-preservation is the basis for overcoming fear. He helps in keeping the other members calm. For this reason, one learns that he is a courageous individual.
The French lieutenant only appears in few scenes in the novel, but he plays a pivotal role in Conrad’s story. Evidently, without him, the ship would not have been saved. His courage enables him to rescue the Patna. Certainly, the officer has a remarkable self-control, and he is not afraid. He reminds the reader that there are a lot of different ways to look at the Patna scandal. He stayed on board on the damaged Patna and hence depicts an element of heroism. One can see him be a motivated character and acts professionally. Argumentatively the French Lieutenant has a prosaic attitude, and he is an unimaginatively brave man who endures hardships.
We could think of Stein as a wealthy and a respected man in the society. He works as a merchant and the novel elucidates that he had a tragic history. The job that he does denotes him to be a determined character. He collects insects and especially butterflies. We could also think of him as a successful trader who established in the East and became successful. Stein involves in the collection of produce from several ports of the Dutch colonial areas. However, he was forced to run away from Europe, when he was young after involving in revolutionary activities. Stein’s achievements are linked to his thoughtful and analytical personality. He is thus an adventurer individual and a naturalist hence playing a key role in the poem. The reader is also able to note that he is observant and he manages his business with great care.
Again, Steins’ actions portray him to be a poignant character because he epitomizes the idealism of his youthful life, which is disillusioned by its limitations. Indeed, the officer, unlike Stein, is an anachronism of trust, courage, and honor which render him to be a hero. Interestingly, the French officer suggests that sacrificing for the well-being of others and being professional is vital. It is easy for one to condemn stein for his political weaknesses. However, the officer is appreciated as he mirrors a strong and spirited person who is not intimidated by the life circumstances.
Role of the Characters
The French Officer and Stein are minor characters who play a critical role in the novel, Lord Jim. The two help to propel the story and reveal important information to the audience, which enables one to understand the storyline. The officer particularly sets the tone of the story and aids in building on the fundamental themes that the author wanted to pass across to the reader. He is identified as a strong character who plays a role in rescuing the Patna ship and thus bringing out the theme of perseverance and overcoming fear during tough times. Notably, he plays the role of a classic hero, which defines a character whose quests are directed to achieve goodness at the end and benefit other people. On the other hand, Stein is a superhero and showcases the ability to succeed and become a prominent person in the society.
Stein also plays a significant role in the development of other characters including Jim, the protagonist of the story and Marlow. Stein also has a significant role in helping Marlow who struggles to understand Jim’s choices. Through Stein, Marlow says that “I saw only the reality of his destiny, which he had known how to follow with unfaltering footsteps, that life began in humble surroundings, rich in generous enthusiasms, in friendship, love, war – in all the exalted elements of romance” (Conrad 17). Stein and the French officer had a heroic life. However, when the novel ends, the reader wonders how stein ends up living a lonely life despite having been a successful trader. While the role of the officer is to rescue the Patna, Stein is the owner of extensive trading ports. Hence, The French lieutenant and Stein remarkably bring out their roles and assist in unfolding the events of the story to make it captivating.
There is no doubt that Stein and French officer profoundly make the novel interesting. Conrad highlights his moral bearing in the officer showing that having values is a key factor in life. Stein, while he was young, he was ambitious of fulfilling his dreams. However, unlike the French lieutenant, at the end of the story, the reader finds out that he is a lonely exile and he is disillusioned by the empire as well as surrounded by ghosts.
Joseph, Conrad. Lord Jim. Tustin, Xist Publishing, 2015.
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