Joseph Conrad exists in history as an celebrated adult male of literature. His experiences as a crewman translate decorously in his assorted novels and short narratives. “ The Secret Sharer, ” published in 1910, greatly exemplifies this interlingual rendition. ( Introduction ) The scene of this short narrative takes topographic point on the ocean, or more exactly, the Meinam River in the Gulf of Siam. ( Conrad ) This narrative, nevertheless, exists as more than merely a reduplication of a crewman ‘s life ; it explores the characteristics of the human mind. “ The Secret Sharer ” stands as a confusing scrutiny of every individual ‘s double nature, and how each individual must decide this dichotomy for the ego to turn. ( The Doppelganger Theme ) The two subjects of isolation and doppelganger constitute the profound message in the secret plan. With them, Conrad takes his readers on a metaphorical journey.
The nameless Captain endures as the cardinal character of “ The Secret Sharer. ” His deficiency of a name represents his deficiency of self-knowledge, and therefore, his deficiency of individuality. The ship he commands lacks a name every bit good, which represents his absence of cognition for his crew. Given this bid merely a two weeks before, the Captain feels out of topographic point onboard. Due to this, he stands entirely on the decks in the beginning of the narrative. The subject of isolation nowadayss itself in the really first sentence, “ for there was no mark of human habitation every bit far as the oculus could make. ” ( SS ) The Captain continues to solemnly analyze his milieus. “ At that minute I was entirely on her decks. There was non a sound in her – and around us nil moved, nil lived, non a canoe on the H2O, non a bird in the air, non a cloud in the sky. ” ( SS ) This suggests the complete isolation the Captain feels in his bosom. Shortly thenceforth, the he leaves to eat dinner with his crew.
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The Captain ‘s isolation farther intensifies as he eats with his officers. When he states a simple observation that he saw the Sephora, the 2nd mate leers at him. In this scene, the Captain continues to narrate that he feels like a alien, to both the ship and himself. For the interest of his ain comfort, he makes a greathearted gesture to maintain ground tackle ticker until one O ‘ clock, something unheard of for a Commander. In the darkness, he meditatively smokes a cigar and evaluates the “ unfamiliarity ” of his state of affairs. “ I had expected those lone hours of the dark to acquire on footings with the ship of which I knew nil, manned by me of whom I knew really small more. ” ( SS ) In the deepnesss of isolation, the captain so notices that the ladder had non been brought up from the side of the ship. As he proceeds to draw it himself, the force simply recoils back upon his organic structure. At the underside of the ladder hangs a bare adult male. The Captain so asks in a surprisingly ordinary tone, “ What ‘s the affair? ” ( SS )
The adult male introduces himself to the Captain as Leggatt. Although the Captain lacks an individuality, he instantly identifies himself with the alien. “ The self posession of that adult male had someway induced a corresponding province in myself. ” ( SS ) Leggatt informs him that he had swam from the islet to the ship, a distance of two stat mis. Conrad ‘s attending to his physical strength reflects his mental strength every bit good. ( Character, leggatt ) A cryptic communicating establishes between the two after merely a few exchanged words. The captain so softly takes the adult male to his room, where he offers him one of his kiping suits. He takes notice that his “ kiping suit was merely right for his size. ” ( SS ) This suggests that the two work forces correspond with each other, and bluffly introduces the doppelganger subject. Leggatt returns to state the Captain that he killed an impudent crewman in an attempt to salvage his ship. He besides tells him of his flight. This background suggests Leggatts courage and unreason. In contrast, the Captain exemplifies a more timid and civilised nature. The Captain notices this contrast every bit good – “ a stubborn if non firm operation ; something of which I should hold been absolutely incapable. ” ( SS ) From this point on, the Captain continues to mention to Leggatt as his “ dual. ”
In the thick of his isolation, the Captain finds a nonliteral two-base hit. Therefore, the doppelganger subject straight consequences from the isolation subject. A case in point for the doppelganger construct lies in the beginning of the narrative, when the Captain stands entirely and analyze his milieus. The two bunchs of trees he notices represent two separate entities that are the same, such as the himself and Leggatt. The Scorpio found in the Chief Mate ‘s cabin serves as a symbolic case in point every bit good. It applies to Leggatt in footings of danger, invasion, and privacy. Besides, they both symbolize the darker ego that plagues everyone. ( Secret Sharer Themes ) In kernel, Leggatt represents black, while the Captain represents white. Therefore, when they come together in the cabin, they both wear grey kiping suits. This besides represents the meeting of the witting and the subconscious. Together, they equalize, and organize the perfect commanding officer. This construct demonstrates itself in the terminal, when the Captain acts bravely in response to Leggatt ‘s influence. As the ship approaches Koh-ring, the Captain directs his work forces in an aggressive mode. Throughout this full scene, he keeps his calm, and wins the regard of his crew. ( Character, Captain )
Overall, Conrad ‘s narrative portrays how Leggatt influences the Captain, and by making so, transforms him into the perfect commanding officer. The timid Captain ‘s initial state of affairs reflects the state of affairss in every individual ‘s life, when they must arouse their interior bravery. ( Critical Essay ) The profound message of “ The Secret Sharer ” illustrates self find in the signifier of interacting with others. One may run into person who provides penetration to and inner and unknown ego, therefore, cultivating one ‘s personality. Conrad artistically weaves the subjects of isolation and doppelganger into the narrative as he conveys this message. The Captain takes a metaphorical journey and experiences self growing. In the terminal, both him and Leggatt can look to a “ new fate. ”