Summary – Chapters Thirty Three, Thirty Four and Thirty Five
Chapter Thirty Three expands on the earlier discussion between Marlow and Jewel and he relates how Jewel fears the unknown. She tells Marlow that she asked Jim to leave on the night he saw off the attackers as he was in danger, but also because she did not want to be left alone like her mother. Marlow compares the two to a knight and a maiden (and furthers his own argument of how this is a love story). Jim has sworn to Jewel that he will never leave her and Marlow is shocked that she does not believe him. She says this is because other men have promised the same thing, and this includes her father. Marlow tries to reassure her that Jim will never leave, but she is aware that Jim cannot forget something that has happened to him and wants to know why he came to Patusan. She also thinks Jim speaks of Marlow too often and so she is afraid of him (and his influence on Jim).
Marlow tells her bitterly that he will never return and no one wants Jim as the world is too big to miss him. She demands to know why and he tells her it is because Jim is not good enough. She says this is the very thing Jim has told her and accuses Marlow of lying. Marlow begs her to hear him out and says, ‘nobody, nobody is good enough’.
In Chapter Thirty Four, Marlow describes walking away from her and avoiding Jim. Cornelius then approaches Marlow and in his obsequious way he tells him of his share in the events when Jim was attacked. He calls Jim a ‘big thief’. He eventually gets round to telling Marlow that he will undertake the charge of the girl (for a sum of money) when ‘the gentleman’ goes home. Marlow informs him that Jim will never leave and Cornelius becomes angry. He says he has been stolen from and adds that the girl is as deceitful as her mother.
Marlow leaves the next morning, in Chapter Thirty Five, and turns away from the picture (that is, Patusan). Jim accompanies him on the first stage of his journey back to ‘the world he had renounced’. When they reach the openness of the sea, Marlow says ‘this is glorious’. Jim agrees, but his head is sunk on his chest and he does not raise his eyes. He adds that this is his ‘limit’, ‘because nothing less will do’. Their belief in him makes him feel safe. Jim says quietly that he will be faithful and Marlow points out again that Jim is a romantic, but this is none the less true. Jim asks if they will meet again and Marlow replies ‘never – unless you come out’. Jim says this is perhaps just as well. He then asks if Marlow will be going home again soon and says ‘tell them…’, but does not finish his request; he just says ‘nothing’. As Marlow leaves, he sees the white figure of Jim being consulted by two fishermen: ‘For me that white figure in the stillness of coast and sea seemed to stand at the heart of a vast enigma.’ The chapter finishes with Marlow saying, ‘and, suddenly, I lost him …’
Analysis – Chapters Thirty Three, Thirty Four and Thirty Five
Jewel’s love for Jim is expanded upon further in Chapter Thirty Three as she reveals to Marlow her fears of Jim leaving (as others have done). By contrast, Cornelius’s jealousy of him is further exposed as he refers to him as a ‘big thief’. He considers Jim to be a usurper and his hatred of him is worth noting as this influences the later course of events.
At this time of Marlow’s appearance at Patusan, Jim has now become established as a honorable figure. Marlow’s departure is a significantly poignant moment (romantic even) and it is also striking that the last time he sees Jim it is as a distant ‘white figure’. This lends Jim an even greater air of authority in this imperial white-dominated world. Furthermore, two fishermen are consulting with him and this reinforces the parting view of him as having gained the position of leader.