Lord Jim

Fear and Failure in Lord Jim College

The romantic view of a seamanship is that the crew keeps with the ship through all types of weather and troubles. Yet in 1880, an event happened that shook this romantic belief throughout the world. The abandonment of the steamship Jeddah, along with its approximately one thousand Moslem pilgrims, caused civilians everywhere to question the truth of this ideal. As a budding modernist writer, Conrad attempted to develop the real character of A.P. Williams, the first mate of the Jeddah, into the fictional character of Lord Jim, with hopes of shedding light on the inner conflict of a failed hero and what it means to be human.

Norman Sherry's research on Lord Jim and the factual account of the Jeddah shows several similarities between the character of Jim and that of AP Williams. Sherry states that, "Everything I have been able to discover about him... suggests that he was Conrad's inspiration for the whole first part of the novel... Williams' background is, in fact, identical with that of Lord Jim" (Sherry 336). Both were raised by a parson and "it seems likely that [Williams] went to a training ship for officers of the mercantile marine, as did Lord Jim"(337). Conrad's use of AP Williams' background for the character of Jim was...

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