Lord Jim Questions and Answers
by Joseph Conrad

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Examine Conrad's craftsmanship as a novelist in Lord Jim.

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Lord Jim was written by Joseph Conrad. On a general level, it is a story which is largely about the inner struggles of a young man who attempts to personally and morally redeem himself as he faces painful experiences on his path toward adulthood. The challenge centers around reconciling and justifying his outward actions with his inner beliefs. Conrad's style of writing is brilliant, as he vividly describes the personal tales of a man who is living through a time of incredible colonization changes in the world. Powerful nations are establishing military and trading posts throughout the globe to increase their influence in affairs and economics. Conrad's techniques also showcase his impressive ability to captivate the readers's attention so they want to discover more facts about the story.

As a novelist, Conrad uses a narrative technique in the third person, from the perspective of an all-knowing narrator, who introduces Jim, the main character, and explains his background. Then, Conrad introduces a first-person narrator by the name of Marlow, who continues to tell Jim's story. Marlow discusses Jim's life for a decent portion of the book. He offers his own view of experiences he shared with Jim earlier in the novel. Sometimes, Marlow gives the perspective of somebody else who was with Jim. Conrad also uses Marlow in the story to educate readers about the hurdles that Jim has overcome to be considered as fully initiated into adulthood. In this way, readers can see how Jim has matured. It is another highly descriptive technique that keeps readers's attention on a novel that is basically set up to be a long tale that someone would tell to a group of people for hours and hours.

Additionally, the author's craftsmanship of the novel reflects modernism. Instead of using a single narrator to share a story from his or her own perspective for the whole novel, Conrad showcases modern techniques for the time period in which he crafted his story. He uses multiple narrators who describe events from different times. The story jumps back and forth in time in an almost quantum-like fashion, which challenges readers to stay engaged, but it leaves them with a bigger reward for doing so if they stick with it and follow along. Conrad constantly withholds necessary background information throughout the novel, which can even be somewhat irritating, but the mystery of the story is what drives the suspense. This is a great example of a modern novel for its time, and Conrad masterfully and amazingly showcased his ability to craft an inspiring story.

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