Pursuit of Redemption Essay

Pursuit of Redemption Essay

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Man will always seek redemption for the actions he commits. In Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim, the consequences of a failed pursuit of a romantic dream cause a young seaman to search for answers and in the process, achieve redemption. Jim shows through the pursuit of his romantic vision that although man may be born a coward, he can attain redemption through the sacrifice of these dreams.
Man does not start out a hero. Instead, he is born into obscurity and must work for his fame. Stein’s belief that “man is born a coward” affirms that life is a difficulty and one can only attain redemption through hard work and the pursuit of a dream (121). When Jim reads romantic literature as a youth, he fills himself with a vision of what he wants to be. When he matures, Jim sets this dream in motion, joining a training camp for sailors. He envisions himself “saving people from sinking ships, cutting away masts in a hurricane, swimming through a surf with a line…” (13). Despite setting such visions and dreams for his life, Jim is yet again another example to support that man is born a coward. When he is on the training ship and witnesses the collision of two other ships, Jim’s cowardice holds him back and he fails to go over to the scene of the wreckage to save people. The truth in reality is that romantic dreams fill Jim’s mind and cause him to think far beyond the pragmatic horizon, effortlessly proving Stein’s belief of the cowardice of man.
After training, Jim serves a steamer named the Patna for several years, but at first he never sees a good opportunity to attain his romantic vision. Then, a few years later, the choice faces Jim once again to choose between feeding the innate nature of man and fulfilling the dreams set forth by his romant...


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...a tremendous change of shape from the cowardly boy on the training ship to the redeeming figure of Patusan’s lord. Stein believes man is born a coward and to attain redemption, one must “in the destructive element immerse” (171). Jim’s death emphasizes the redemption a man, born a coward, bent to his own romantic dream, can achieve through the submission to reality and the sacrifice of the romantic visions in favor of the truth in reality.
Man will always seek redemption. No matter what mistakes are made, redemption can always be found, and Jim’s search for redemption is no different. Despite being born a coward, Jim makes the right choices and takes the honorable path to alter his reputation. Jim proves through the pursuit and sacrifice of his romantic dream that although man may be born a coward, he can attain redemption.



Works Cited

Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad

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