Date: April 21, 2007
Recommendation: Buy the Coles Notes
Think back to high school English class. Remember all those essays you wrote on how pathetic fallacy allowed you to understand the insanity of King Lear? Well, did you ever think - what a load of shit! Do the authors actually use symbolism and other writing devices consciously? Well, if ever there was an author keenly aware of his effect on the worries of pubescent teens, it is Joseph Conrad. The people at Coles' Notes must be in love with Conrad. Yes, I realize they save their biggest hard-on for a certain bard from Startford-upon-avon, but Conrad can't be too far behind.
Lord Jim, a densely layered novel, is essentially the story of a sailor turned coward turned savior turned tragic scapegoat. I won't bore you with a plot summary, or even with much of a description of the novel. It has all the quintessential elements of a Conrad novel: set at sea, deals with the inner conflict of man, protagonist has some sort of self-epiphany, throw in some form of colonial oppression, bake for 45 minutes, and you are left with the modern novel. Serves 15-20 confused college students.