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The Secret Sharer

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The Secret Sharer: the essay

In the long short story The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad the narrator plays the captain of a merchant ship that is foreign to him. He is assigned to this foreign ship on a very short notice. He is expected to lead the crew to their destination, safely. This captain is lonely he has not one soul to speck to. He doesn't know these people who he somehow is suppose to lead. His first night on the ship he finds his soon to be best friend, Leggatt. He finds his new best friend mysteriously floating in the water as if he was dead. He speaks to him for the night and finds that they have fallen asleep in his room. The captain doesn't even realize he had been sleeping. The narrator listens to the man explain why he had been floating in the water and then realize that him and the man have plenty in common, both mentally and physically. The narrator feels connected to the man. Leggatt is being hunted for. He is being hunted for murder and also for going against the order of the captain of the Sephora, which is the ship, he was also assigned to. The stowaway is so much like the captain. For the captain Leggatt represents a goal that the captain has set out to accomplish. He knows this man is a good man as well as he is a good man. He sees himself in Leggatt and therefore wants to help him. One might ask why the captain would go out to far lengths to save this mans life. For one the captain is lonely and is lusting for some excitement, secondly he would have wanted someone to do the same thing for him as he is doing for this man (he realizes that life is so important) and thirdly the captain falls in love with Leggatt. Leggatt told him the circumstances of the murder and the narrator says he would have done the same thing. In this the narrator realizes his flaw.

Primarily, the captain is about as excited as a bunch of teenagers watching the snowmelt. The captain has nothing to do. He is a lonely guy before he meets Leggatt. Leggatt brings hope and adventure to this voyage, something this captain is in desperate need of. He was being made fun of by "his" crew and he couldn't relate to them because of the fact that he was new. He says,"... I knew very little of my officers. In consequence of certain events of no particular significance, except to myself, I had been appointed to the command only a fortnight before. All these people had been together for eighteen months or so, and my position was that of the only stranger on board."(19). He needed some thrill and hiding Leggatt would suffice for now.

Secondly the captain realizes that he would want someone to do the same for him, and in a sense he feels like he is doing for himself because he sees Leggatt and himself as one person and he can relate to the situation that Leggatt had found himself in. He says, "He appealed to me as if our experiences had been as identical as our clothes. And I knew well enough the pestiferous danger of such a character where there are no means of legal repression. And I knew well enough also that my double there was no homicidal ruffian."(26). This quotes backs up



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