Summary – Chapters Thirty, Thirty One and Thirty Two
In Chapter Thirty, Jim tells Marlow he does not know why he ‘hung on’ there (whilst Cornelius was treating him badly), but Marlow says we may guess as Jim sympathized deeply with Jewel who was at the mercy of this ‘scoundrel’. Cornelius demanded respect from his step-daughter, yet he would also abuse her dead mother.
At this time, danger was also gathering and Doramin twice sent a servant to ask him to come back across the river to the Bugis people for his safety (from the Rajah). Others also came to inform Jim of the plots to kill him and Cornelius said he would procure a man – for 80 dollars – to help him leave the area. Finally, Jim lost his temper with Cornelius. He told him ‘nothing can touch me’ and defied all of Patusan to scare him away. Afterwards, he felt ashamed, but slept well for the first time in two weeks.
The next day, in Chapter Thirty One, it is described how Jim persuaded the Bugis to attack Sherif Ali. He felt elated by their commitment and tried to be civil with Cornelius when he returned home. He fell asleep and was woken by Jewel. She said he should follow her outside as he is to be set upon. It was a beautiful night and Marlow reminds his listeners (and the readers) that this is a love story he is telling us now. Jewel told Jim that the men who are waiting to attack him are in the storeroom and he is elated when she lets him know she has been watching him sleep. Marlow repeats his view that this is a love story.
Jewel then asked Jim to go to Doramin, but he decided to look in the storeroom instead. She held the torch as he entered. A man ran at him with a weapon and Jim shot him through the mouth. Jim later felt calm as though this man’s death ‘atoned for everything’. The other three men surrendered.
Chapter Thirty Two continues with this story and relates how Jewel maintained her grip on the torch as the three men came out and obeyed his instructions. He ordered them to go back to Sherif Ali.
Jim tells Marlow that he now loves Jewel and feels absolutely necessary to another person. He compares finding her to going out for a stroll and coming suddenly across ‘somebody drowning in a lonely dark place’. He also says that even after two years of living there he cannot conceive of returning home as he has not forgotten the reason he first came there. These people can never know ‘the real, real truth’, but adds that he is ‘nearly satisfied’. He believes Marlow would not like him aboard his own ship, and Marlow demurs at this. Later, Jewel stops Marlow when he is alone and he sees that she is anxious that he will take Jim away from her.
Analysis – Chapters Thirty, Thirty One and Thirty Two
As Marlow recounts the ‘love story’ between Jewel and Jim, he heightens the sense of romance that is attached to this hero. His bravery is also highlighted in these passages; for example, he defies all of Patusan when he says nothing can touch him. He is seen to refuse to submit to intimidation and his decision to enter the storeroom, rather than run away to Doramin as Jewel wishes him to, demonstrates his regained self-belief.
It is also telling that he considers the shooting of one of his attackers as a form of atonement. It is as though he feels he has made some amends for jumping from the ship, because he has now stayed and faced his fear.