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Conrad's technique of telling the story is unique, for the book is filled with chronological disruptions and different points of view. The narrative changes here, taking the form of letters and documents and leading to the tragic climax. The old letter from Jim's preacher father, which the son had carefully preserved, indicates Jim's desire to cling to his past. It also sheds some light on why Jim was so affected by his desertion of the Patna, even when people repeatedly tell him it is not that important. Jim's attempt to cling to the past is further indicated in his vague attempt to write a letter about himself back to England.
In past chapters, Stein has been portrayed in almost perfect terms. His depression over Jim's death makes him seem more human, causing the readers to identify with him more closely. A new side of Jewel is seen in these chapters. Still sharp and intelligent, she is also pictured as totally unforgiving. She feels Jim has deserted her by choosing to die over living with her; she is unwilling to ever forgive him for his decision.
Most critics feel that this conclusion to the novel is very awkward. To develop the climax through documents and letters is very ineffective and distracts from the strength of the earlier narrative.