“The Secret Sharer” written by Joseph Conrad is based on the personal memories of the author. The narrator is a young Captain and he himself is the main character of the story. The story begins with a cruise in the Far East.
The Secret Sharer is a profoundly interpersonal novel and also has an element of modernity. It is one of Conrad’s best short works and is an autobiographical piece of writing. The novel opens with an unnamed ship anchored in the Meinam River, in the Gulf of Siam. As the ship sets to sail and waits for favorable wind, the sun starts setting and soon the surroundings are dark. Since a favorable wind is essential for a safe sail, the young captain himself takes the anchor watch that surprises the crew. The captain then walks down the deck in his night suit and soon discovers that a rope side ladder is still hanging from the ship. To his surprise the Captain finds a naked swimmer floating at the end of the ladder. The whole of the ship was than asleep and it was quiet everywhere. The man named Leggatt gets on board with the Captains’ help. The Captain lends him some dress and they both engage in conversation and Leggatt tells his story and how he came into such a trouble.
Leggatt was a young chief mate of the Sephora. He had killed a man onboard whom he justifies was an evil person. He was held prisoner for his crime in the Sephora. While Leggatt was narrating his story the captain feels that they have many similarities and common experiences in life. Leggatt tells how he murdered the evil person when all other seaman were working to set a reefed foresail. He describes the murder and how the person was taken into the sea by the storm and then subsided when the sea was calm. However, Leggatt was held for his offense later and the Captain took Leggatt to his stateroom. The stateroom was in L shape and this serves as an important place in the story.
In this room, Leggatt explains how he escaped from the Sephora. The L shaped Stateroom was also advantageous because visitors cannot view the host. The next morning as the steward comes with coffee, the captain acts strangely but she leaves the room with out any doubt. Before she comes to clean the room, the captain asks Leggatt to hide in the bathroom and he instructs the steward to clean the room while he was taking bath. At the end of part, one somebody was yelling that a ship’s boat was coming their way. Part two of the story opens with the visit of Captain Archbold of the Sephora, who is in search of the renegade officer. Captain Archbold describes about the murder to the Captain. The Captain justifies the action of the murderer and leaves a speculation that the furious sea would have killed the person. But Captain Archbold is never convinced and justifies his own reasons. Archbold searches the ship but in vain. The Captain never reveals that Leggatt was in the room under his safe custody. Captain Archbold leaves the ship disappointed. After Archbold leaves, the mates in the ship tell the Captain that they had heard about the horrid story and now the Captain was sure that he could not confide Leggatts presence to any of his mates. Most of the time Leggatt stayed in the Captain’s bathroom dressed in grey suit so that no one doubted him. After all this difficult and comic play Leggatt tells the Captain that he some how wants to escape from the ship to any of the islands nearby. The captain was very sad over this but realizes that it was merely a selfish desire.
At midnight, the Captain gets the ship closer to an island. He finds the Koh-ring and believes that it is an inhabited island. The Captain gets the ship closer to the island so that Leggatt can escape easily. The Captain gives him enough money. He allows Leggett to sneak past the stairs and into the sail locker. The Captain then offers his floppy hat to his “other self”. As he was struggling hard to save the ship from hitting the rocks he sees the floppy hat far which helped him save the ship. A major theme that Conrad explores in this story is the relation between sea and land. It also tells that the life of a captain who can enjoy the beauty of the sea and also experience its fury.
Summary. 2008. Web.