The Secret Sharer

The Secret Sharer

by Joseph Conrad

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The Secret Sharer, actual accident at sea, is an exciting adventure tale that reveals truths about human nature on several levels. Albert J. Guerard of Stanford University wrote that these two stories are "among the finest of Conrad's short novels, and among the half-dozen greatest short novels in the English language." And Virginia Woolf wrote of Conrad, "His books are full of moments of vision. They light up a whole character in a flash. . . .He could not write badly, one feels, to save his life."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312154653
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 06/01/1997
Edition description: Large Print

About the Author

Joseph Conrad (Polish pronunciation: born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski; 3 December 1857 - 3 August 1924) was a Polish-British writer regarded as one of the greatest novelists to write in the English language. He joined the British merchant marine in 1878, and was granted British citizenship in 1886. Though he did not speak English fluently until his twenties, he was a master prose stylist who brought a non-English sensibility into English literature. He wrote stories and novels, many with a nautical setting, that depict trials of the human spirit in the midst of an impassive, inscrutable universe.

Date of Birth:

December 3, 1857

Date of Death:

August 3, 1924

Place of Birth:

Berdiczew, Podolia, Russia

Place of Death:

Bishopsbourne, Kent, England


Tutored in Switzerland. Self-taught in classical literature. Attended maritime school in Marseilles, France

Read an Excerpt

The Secret Sharer

By Joseph Conrad


Copyright © 2016 Open Road Integrated Media, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5040-4118-8


ON MY RIGHT HAND THERE were lines of fishing stakes resembling a mysterious system of half-submerged bamboo fences, incomprehensible in its division of the domain of tropical fishes, and crazy of aspect as if abandoned forever by some nomad tribe of fishermen now gone to the other end of the ocean; for there was no sign of human habitation as far as the eye could reach. To the left a group of barren islets, suggesting ruins of stone walls, towers, and blockhouses, had its foundations set in a blue sea that itself looked solid, so still and stable did it lie below my feet; even the track of light from the westering sun shone smoothly, without that animated glitter which tells of an imperceptible ripple. And when I turned my head to take a parting glance at the tug which had just left us anchored outside the bar, I saw the straight line of the flat shore joined to the stable sea, edge to edge, with a perfect and unmarked closeness, in one leveled floor half brown, half blue under the enormous dome of the sky. Corresponding in their insignificance to the islets of the sea, two small clumps of trees, one on each side of the only fault in the impeccable joint, marked the mouth of the river Meinam we had just left on the first preparatory stage of our homeward journey; and, far back on the inland level, a larger and loftier mass, the grove surrounding the great Paknam pagoda, was the only thing on which the eye could rest from the vain task of exploring the monotonous sweep of the horizon. Here and there gleams as of a few scattered pieces of silver marked the windings of the great river; and on the nearest of them, just within the bar, the tug steaming right into the land became lost to my sight, hull and funnel and masts, as though the impassive earth had swallowed her up without an effort, without a tremor. My eye followed the light cloud of her smoke, now here, now there, above the plain, according to the devious curves of the stream, but always fainter and farther away, till I lost it at last behind the miter-shaped hill of the great pagoda. And then I was left alone with my ship, anchored at the head of the Gulf of Siam.

She floated at the starting point of a long journey, very still in an immense stillness, the shadows of her spars flung far to the eastward by the setting sun. At that moment I was alone on her decks. There was not a sound in her — and around us nothing moved, nothing lived, not a canoe on the water, not a bird in the air, not a cloud in the sky. In this breathless pause at the threshold of a long passage we seemed to be measuring our fitness for a long and arduous enterprise, the appointed task of both our existences to be carried out, far from all human eyes, with only sky and sea for spectators and for judges.

There must have been some glare in the air to interfere with one's sight, because it was only just before the sun left us that my roaming eyes made out beyond the highest ridges of the principal islet of the group something which did away with the solemnity of perfect solitude. The tide of darkness flowed on swiftly; and with tropical suddenness a swarm of stars came out above the shadowy earth, while I lingered yet, my hand resting lightly on my ship's rail as if on the shoulder of a trusted friend. But, with all that multitude of celestial bodies staring down at one, the comfort of quiet communion with her was gone for good. And there were also disturbing sounds by this time — voices, footsteps forward; the steward flitted along the main-deck, a busily ministering spirit; a hand bell tinkled urgently under the poop deck. ...

I found my two officers waiting for me near the supper table, in the lighted cuddy. We sat down at once, and as I helped the chief mate, I said:

"Are you aware that there is a ship anchored inside the islands? I saw her mastheads above the ridge as the sun went down."

He raised sharply his simple face, overcharged by a terrible growth of whisker, and emitted his usual ejaculations: "Bless my soul, sir! You don't say so!"

My second mate was a round-cheeked, silent young man, grave beyond his years, I thought; but as our eyes happened to meet I detected a slight quiver on his lips. I looked down at once. It was not my part to encourage sneering on board my ship. It must be said, too, that 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. Neither did I know much of the hands forward. All these people had been together for eighteen months or so, and my position was that of the only stranger on board. I mention this because it has some bearing on what is to follow. But what I felt most was my being a stranger to the ship; and if all the truth must be told, I was somewhat of a stranger to myself. The youngest man on board (barring the second mate), and untried as yet by a position of the fullest responsibility, I was willing to take the adequacy of the others for granted. They had simply to be equal to their tasks; but I wondered how far I should turn out faithful to that ideal conception of one's own personality every man sets up for himself secretly.

Meantime the chief mate, with an almost visible effect of collaboration on the part of his round eyes and frightful whiskers, was trying to evolve a theory of the anchored ship. His dominant trait was to take all things into earnest consideration. He was of a painstaking turn of mind. As he used to say, he "liked to account to himself" for practically everything that came in his way, down to a miserable scorpion he had found in his cabin a week before. The why and the wherefore of that scorpion — how it got on board and came to select his room rather than the pantry (which was a dark place and more what a scorpion would be partial to), and how on earth it managed to drown itself in the inkwell of his writing desk — had exercised him infinitely. The ship within the islands was much more easily accounted for; and just as we were about to rise from table he made his pronouncement. She was, he doubted not, a ship from home lately arrived. Probably she drew too much water to cross the bar except at the top of spring tides. Therefore she went into that natural harbor to wait for a few days in preference to remaining in an open roadstead.

"That's so," confirmed the second mate, suddenly, in his slightly hoarse voice. "She draws over twenty feet. She's the Liverpool ship Sephora with a cargo of coal. Hundred and twenty-three days from Cardiff."

We looked at him in surprise.

"The tugboat skipper told me when he came on board for your letters, sir," explained the young man. "He expects to take her up the river the day after tomorrow."

After thus overwhelming us with the extent of his information he slipped out of the cabin. The mate observed regretfully that he "could not account for that young fellow's whims." What prevented him telling us all about it at once, he wanted to know.

I detained him as he was making a move. For the last two days the crew had had plenty of hard work, and the night before they had very little sleep. I felt painfully that I — a stranger — was doing something unusual when I directed him to let all hands turn in without setting an anchor watch. I proposed to keep on deck myself till one o'clock or thereabouts. I would get the second mate to relieve me at that hour.

"He will turn out the cook and the steward at four," I concluded, "and then give you a call. Of course at the slightest sign of any sort of wind we'll have the hands up and make a start at once."

He concealed his astonishment. "Very well, sir." Outside the cuddy he put his head in the second mate's door to inform him of my unheard-of caprice to take a five hours' anchor watch on myself. I heard the other raise his voice incredulously — "What? The Captain himself?" Then a few more murmurs, a door closed, then another. A few moments later I went on deck.

My strangeness, which had made me sleepless, had prompted that unconventional arrangement, as if I had expected in those solitary hours of the night to get on terms with the ship of which I knew nothing, manned by men of whom I knew very little more. Fast alongside a wharf, littered like any ship in port with a tangle of unrelated things, invaded by unrelated shore people, I had hardly seen her yet properly. Now, as she lay cleared for sea, the stretch of her main-deck seemed to me very fine under the stars. Very fine, very roomy for her size, and very inviting. I descended the poop and paced the waist, my mind picturing to myself the coming passage through the Malay Archipelago, down the Indian Ocean, and up the Atlantic. All its phases were familiar enough to me, every characteristic, all the alternatives which were likely to face me on the high seas — everything! ... except the novel responsibility of command. But I took heart from the reasonable thought that the ship was like other ships, the men like other men, and that the sea was not likely to keep any special surprises expressly for my discomfiture.

Arrived at that comforting conclusion, I bethought myself of a cigar and went below to get it. All was still down there. Everybody at the after end of the ship was sleeping profoundly. I came out again on the quarter-deck, agreeably at ease in my sleeping suit on that warm breathless night, barefooted, a glowing cigar in my teeth, and, going forward, I was met by the profound silence of the fore end of the ship. Only as I passed the door of the forecastle, I heard a deep, quiet, trustful sigh of some sleeper inside. And suddenly I rejoiced in the great security of the sea as compared with the unrest of the land, in my choice of that untempted life presenting no disquieting problems, invested with an elementary moral beauty by the absolute straightforwardness of its appeal and by the singleness of its purpose.

The riding light in the forerigging burned with a clear, untroubled, as if symbolic, flame, confident and bright in the mysterious shades of the night. Passing on my way aft along the other side of the ship, I observed that the rope side ladder, put over, no doubt, for the master of the tug when he came to fetch away our letters, had not been hauled in as it should have been. I became annoyed at this, for exactitude in some small matters is the very soul of discipline. Then I reflected that I had myself peremptorily dismissed my officers from duty, and by my own act had prevented the anchor watch being formally set and things properly attended to. I asked myself whether it was wise ever to interfere with the established routine of duties even from the kindest of motives. My action might have made me appear eccentric. Goodness only knew how that absurdly whiskered mate would "account" for my conduct, and what the whole ship thought of that informality of their new captain. I was vexed with myself.

Not from compunction certainly, but, as it were mechanically, I proceeded to get the ladder in myself. Now a side ladder of that sort is a light affair and comes in easily, yet my vigorous tug, which should have brought it flying on board, merely recoiled upon my body in a totally unexpected jerk. What the devil! ... I was so astounded by the immovableness of that ladder that I remained stock-still, trying to account for it to myself like that imbecile mate of mine. In the end, of course, I put my head over the rail.

The side of the ship made an opaque belt of shadow on the darkling glassy shimmer of the sea. But I saw at once something elongated and pale floating very close to the ladder. Before I could form a guess a faint flash of phosphorescent light, which seemed to issue suddenly from the naked body of a man, flickered in the sleeping water with the elusive, silent play of summer lightning in a night sky. With a gasp I saw revealed to my stare a pair of feet, the long legs, a broad livid back immersed right up to the neck in a greenish cadaverous glow. One hand, awash, clutched the bottom rung of the ladder. He was complete but for the head. A headless corpse! The cigar dropped out of my gaping mouth with a tiny plop and a short hiss quite audible in the absolute stillness of all things under heaven. At that I suppose he raised up his face, a dimly pale oval in the shadow of the ship's side. But even then I could only barely make out down there the shape of his black-haired head. However, it was enough for the horrid, frost-bound sensation which had gripped me about the chest to pass off. The moment of vain exclamations was past, too. I only climbed on the spare spar and leaned over the rail as far as I could, to bring my eyes nearer to that mystery floating alongside.

As he hung by the ladder, like a resting swimmer, the sea lightning played about his limbs at every stir; and he appeared in it ghastly, silvery, fishlike. He remained as mute as a fish, too. He made no motion to get out of the water, either. It was inconceivable that he should not attempt to come on board, and strangely troubling to suspect that perhaps he did not want to. And my first words were prompted by just that troubled incertitude.

"What's the matter?" I asked in my ordinary tone, speaking down to the face upturned exactly under mine.

"Cramp," it answered, no louder. Then slightly anxious, "I say, no need to call anyone."

"I was not going to," I said.

"Are you alone on deck?"


I had somehow the impression that he was on the point of letting go the ladder to swim away beyond my ken — mysterious as he came. But, for the moment, this being appearing as if he had risen from the bottom of the sea (it was certainly the nearest land to the ship) wanted only to know the time. I told him. And he, down there, tentatively:

"I suppose your captain's turned in?"

"I am sure he isn't," I said.

He seemed to struggle with himself, for I heard something like the low, bitter murmur of doubt. "What's the good?" His next words came out with a hesitating effort. "Look here, my man. Could you call him out quietly?"

I thought the time had come to declare myself.

"I am the captain."

I heard a "By Jove!" whispered at the level of the water. The phosphorescence flashed in the swirl of the water all about his limbs, his other hand seized the ladder.

"My name's Leggatt."

The voice was calm and resolute. A good voice. The self-possession of that man had somehow induced a corresponding state in myself. It was very quietly that I remarked:

"You must be a good swimmer."

"Yes. I've been in the water practically since nine o'clock. The question for me now is whether I am to let go this ladder and go on swimming till I sink from exhaustion, or — to come on board here."

I felt this was no mere formula of desperate speech, but a real alternative in the view of a strong soul. I should have gathered from this that he was young; indeed, it is only the young who are ever confronted by such clear issues. But at the time it was pure intuition on my part. A mysterious communication was established already between us two — in the face of that silent, darkened tropical sea. I was young, too; young enough to make no comment. The man in the water began suddenly to climb up the ladder, and I hastened away from the rail to fetch some clothes.

Before entering the cabin I stood still, listening in the lobby at the foot of the stairs. A faint snore came through the closed door of the chief mate's room. The second mate's door was on the hook, but the darkness in there was absolutely soundless. He, too, was young and could sleep like a stone. Remained the steward, but he was not likely to wake up before he was called. I got a sleeping suit out of my room and, coming back on deck, saw the naked man from the sea sitting on the main hatch, glimmering white in the darkness, his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands. In a moment he had concealed his damp body in a sleeping suit of the same gray-stripe pattern as the one I was wearing and followed me like my double on the poop. Together we moved right aft, barefooted, silent.

"What is it?" I asked in a deadened voice, taking the lighted lamp out of the binnacle, and raising it to his face.

"An ugly business."

He had rather regular features; a good mouth; light eyes under somewhat heavy, dark eyebrows; a smooth, square forehead; no growth on his cheeks; a small, brown mustache, and a well-shaped, round chin. His expression was concentrated, meditative, under the inspecting light of the lamp I held up to his face; such as a man thinking hard in solitude might wear. My sleeping suit was just right for his size. A well-knit young fellow of twenty-five at most. He caught his lower lip with the edge of white, even teeth.


Excerpted from The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad. Copyright © 2016 Open Road Integrated Media, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Secret Sharer (Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism Series) 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anonymous 4 months ago
NAME:Madeline Catherine Dacshund (yes you read that right) AGE: 17 GENDER: girl PARENTS: Unknown POWERS: not yet known PERSONALITY: you'll find out APPEARANCE: Hair–dark brown Eyes–hazel About six feet tall, well muscled, lithe and strong, most of her height is taken up by her long legs Normally dressed–black t-shirt, jeans and sneakers, sparkly silver earrings, silver pendant necklace, hooded jacket usually tied around her waist OTHER: ask Im pretty sure thats everything let me know if i missed something ~Nyx (rper)
Anonymous 9 months ago
Anonymous 11 months ago
She looks down and spreads her wings flying to the top of the cliff and landed folding he wings away. She sat down and cried
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name....LOOK UP IDJIT!!! Nicknames.... Key, Kina, Kia, Ina, Anna. Age....18 Gender...Female. Sexuality....Bi Status.....TAKEN!!! By Fear!!!!! So dont get any ideas weirdos!!! Lol...Cuz i have already given my heat to him! Personality.. Super chill and laid back. Loves her friends and bf..can be shy at first but once u meet her she is super social...and sweet. Godly parents....Posiden and Athena. Siblings and adopted human family... Mother Danielle Ellene Love. (Decreased) Father Nolan Dylan Love. (Decreased) Sisters: Hannah Harper Love, Paige Fiona Love, Savannah Nia Love..... Brother Jackson Grant Love. (Deceased) Looks.....She has Dark blue hair...(thanks dad...) and Green eyes. She is super curvy and about 5'4. She usually wears black leggings, a red tanktop and black ankle boots. With a jean jacket. Weakness....Copper. she is deathly allergic Likes....Fear, Food, Pie, Her friends, Animals, art, drawing, singing, music, cars, the cold, nice people, books and reading. Dislikes....Copper...mean people...murder...drama...her exes... people critisizing her art and math. Friends... Zara, Draco, Shay, Aiden, Gavin, James, Peirce, Ace, Adam, Blair, Bianca, ColdCookies, Fear, Hazel, Seth, Zander,Kaden, Neill, Cooper, Rrose, Millie. Bst friend...Mei! Anything else just ask!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Human name: Meibline Hokagai <p> Nick Name: Mei <p> Given Name: [ Classified] <p> Human Age: 19 <p> Angel Age: 1900 <p> Status: Single <p> Exes: Draco and Marx. <p> Family: All of her friends and Erin who is her Daughter {"Dont know whare she went she might have quit rp" shrug.} <p> Dead family and friends: Kia [ left as well] Mack Marx and Erin <p> Powers: She can fly with her massive wings that are a perfect shade of black. She also can controll fire with a snap of her fingers. Others just ask I guess. <p> weakness: Water steal and acid. Theme song: Demons by Imagine Dragons <p> Likes: Trees pictures music and nice people <p> Disliles: Mean people water and HE<_>LL. <p> other: Ask please I dont mind. <p> <p> <p> <p> &hearts
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
oh, sh<_>itttttt! zara's still alive! her bio pun is terrible! but whayever y'all cause she's better than most of the ungrammatical peeps we got here at rping! nooooo! also check my bio and whaaatever. we get it. fyi i'm having a bad day so yeah, sorry for the sarcasm. not really! check out my bio at 'thus spoke zarathustra'. yeah, the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name - Kenny, that's all you need to know. Age - 16. Godly Parent - Poseidon. Powers - Can manipulate water telepathically and is a master with ice and frost. He owns a sword that is cold at touch to others. Theme Song(s) - "Wish" by Trippie Redd & "Freddy vs Jason" by Ski Mask The Slump God / xxtentacion. Friends - all my friends are dead so I made new ones :) Misc - I'm the founder of AC, I'm friendly to people who are nice to me. I don't battle unless needed, I'm here to spread positivity. <3
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name: Pierce (thats all you need to know) Age: 17, turns 18 in August Demigod Ancestry: his mom is daughter of Khione, Goddess of Snow and Ice. Pierces father is son of Demeter, goddess of tge harvest (so....plants.) Powers: Ice and Plants. Looks: Used to have white and blue hair, but dyed it to a dark purple, which is about nose length. His eye colour is one murky brown while the other is ice blue. He has pale-ish skin and a decent body type. No 6 pack but also no gut either, he has a skinny body with decent muscles. Clothes: wears a black beanie, with a small section of his hair hanging out the front. He wears black jeans and a black Pierce The Veil shirt, sometimes with a black hoodie. Black sneakers. He also has a tattoo on his left wrist, reading "Make your Past make You better, Not bitter" with an arrow above it. Friends: Im new but....Haddi. Crush: thats for me to know
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name: Chadley Margarot Bergans Age: 18 Gender: female Apperance: She is 5"4 and weigh 135 with olive colored skin and short, brunette, curly hair. She has green eyes, light freckles and a delicate lips. She typically wears vintage clothing and no makeup. Hobbie: she does a lot of art and plays the cello. Fact: She does not know where she came from.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name: Eamon Tiberius Welsh Age: 17 Gender: male Sexuality: straight Sexual Orientation: gray asexual GP: Hermes MP: Margaret Anne Welsh Appearance: Fine. Eamon&rsquo;s around average height for a male, perhaps a tiny smidge on the taller side. He&rsquo;s fit and well-built due to a lifetime of training, however his muscles are lean instead of blocky or huge. His eyes are an infinite, intelligent sage color, and his hair is a natural brown, never worn done, and is a relatively short-medium length. His face is square, somewhat high cheekbones and a nice, built jawline, his nose fitted and relatively straight, though it has been broken a few times. His lips are somewhat thin, and he has a few freckles and scars around his body.. Including a violent-looking splice from his medium-lower back and curving around the left side of his torso. But it's always covered by whatever simple t-shirt he&rsquo;s wearing. Personality: Takes him a while to warm up to people, places, and even things. But once he does, he&rsquo;s usually pretty chill and easy going. He&rsquo;ll often have this cool demeanor about him, and have a relatively masked expression most of the time. But he doesn&rsquo;t take sh<_>it from anyone. Believe me when I say he&rsquo;s someone you&rsquo;d rather have on your side than against it. He&rsquo;s got several layers to his personality and I&rsquo;m not going to go through them because I doubt any of you will really manage to get through to him enough to see the majority of them anyway. He&rsquo;s a tough dude. Been through a good amount, though he doesn't think about it that way. Not that he&rsquo;s extremely aggressive and will follow up if you even remotely upset him, he's a bit too mature for that. Just know that if he&rsquo;s passionate enough, it&rsquo;s a battle you will lose. Tends to be a solo artist. Also, he isn&rsquo;t exactly the kind to approach, others usually will have to approach him if they need or want anything from him. Don&rsquo;t take this as me not wanting to RP with you. I&rsquo;ll gladly RP with anyone who wants to, as long as I&rsquo;m in the mood for what you want to RP. But I don't expect Eamon to be waltzing up to you and starting conversations. (Wonder not what others have done to him. Wonder how many people he has left behind.) Abilities: Flash fu<_>cked with Superman and they had a kid. Other: If I left anything out, hmu.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name: Frederick Respera. <p> Age: 18, though he is often mistaken for a 14 year old due to his young looks. <p> Godly GrandParent(s): Apollo and Mania. <p> Looks: He has curly black hair that almost reaches his eyes. His eyes are a light red due to a certain ability, though he wears silver contacts to hide that. His skin is quite pale, and he stands up to 5'5. He is muscled well enough to fight, though hides that under his clothes to make him seem weaker than he is. <p> Clothing: He generally wears white or black long sleeve shirts, even during the summer time. His pants are a beige cargo, feet usually without shoes. If he does where shoes, its usually tennis shoes. <p> Weapons: He has a two sided coin made of Stygian and Gold on either side. One side turns into a stygian sword, the other into a golden bow. Other than that, he has two bronze daggers at his sides. <p> Powers: He has a bit of a future vision, extending to a casual five minute length, and a concentrated thirty minute length. Shadow travel. He can bend light, and view the memories of others on touch. <p> Rper: ElectriciaAngeliki
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name: Layna Iris Johnson Age: 17 Gender: Female Height: 5'7 Looks: Dark brown long wavy hair, Jade green eyes, slightky tan skin, freckles dotting on her cheeks around her nose, wears black glasses Godly parent: Apollo Personality: Confident, Strong sense of justice, likes making puns, likes to talk to others, tries to be nice to everyone, oblivious, trusting, musically inclined Likes: Ice cream, music, playing instruments, reading books and watching cliche movies and series, sparring with others for fun Dislikes: Snakes, Bees, Wasps, cake, liars, Heights Family: Apollo, mom who lives in Texas, adopted older brother who lives with mom
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Would it be alright for me to join yalls' rp?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Marie's Bio: Name: Marie, obviously! Age: Looks to be about 7. Appearance: Pale Skin like snow, about the average size for a 7 Year Old, with bright Blue eyes and Silver-White Hair. Normally wears a white dress. Parent: ??? Personality: Always positive and happy, not often getting angry or sad. Omega's Bio: Name: Omega. Age: Looks to be 17 or 18. Appearance: Black, slightly Spiked hair, green eyes, and slightly pale skin. Personality: Good-natured and patient, with a protective feeling towards Marie. Not much is known about either of them. They just kinda showed up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is at oikov res1. Also he is a shapeshifter.
JWhitewater More than 1 year ago
Conrad is one of the best English storytellers ever, and this is no exception
Filomena Ayala More than 1 year ago
Blank book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One reading of 'The Secret Sharer' will absolutely not do justice to the story being told. For, far more important (and to some, myself, for one, interesting) than the literal story of a young captain who comes in contact with and harbors a fugitive sailor is the psychological aspect which may not be noticed on just the first reading. The Captain (who's only been on the ship for a short while) is faced with the conflict of his youthful passiveness and taking command as a leader. This inner struggle gives way to the birth (or rather, emergence) of his counterpart, Leggatt (in Freudian terms, the representative of the Id.) Throughout the story we see as the Captain struggles with hiding Leggatt from the eyes of anyone, to 'protect him' from being caught and facing punishment. Also noticeable is the decay of the Captains' mental state, to the point where even he questions his sanity. Left up to the reader to discern is the actuality of Leggatts' presence. However, the evidence piles high for the argument of his being an imagined being. The Captain (whose name, interestingly is never revealed) subconsciously 'creates' Leggatt as an outlet for his worries about his nature itself. Leggatt is the 'physical' manifestation of his Id, which he does not fully understand, but as we see is quite submissive to, almost in an admiring way. The division of his mind leads to his mental instability which gets progressively worse over time. I'm not going to spoil the ending, but the conclusion leaves him a different man from when we were first introduced. The book is rich with themes, of course there's the psychological, (with the Id, Ego, Superego & the Captains hallucinations) but there's also the themes of isolation, land vs. sea, stepping up to a role and thus maturing and the philosophical question of whether or not there is a right or wrong. I really enjoyed it. PS. Read it with Fight Club in mind and you might see a few similarities.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was okay, i guess, but for a book that's aobut 60 pages long, it took forever!!!! it was good at times, but joseph conrad seemed to go on and on about the surrounds and i wanted to get back to the story. I really liked, however, how he wrote as if the captain and stow-away were twins. i also didn't like how he assumed that we knew everything about ships and all the slang that they used on ships. o well.