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Transformation - A critical analysis of the main character, The Captain of the unnamed ship, from the short story, The Secret Sharer written by Joseph Conrad in 1950,

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Transformation A critical analysis of the main character, The Captain of the unnamed ship, from the short story, The Secret Sharer written by Joseph Conrad in 1950, will reveal that this character had changes from an insecure and inexperienced ship Captain to a more confident and secure individual, due to his experiences with the Secret Sharer. Like much of Conrad's other work, The Secret Sharer, is deeply interpersonal. Because both of Conrad's parents died during his childhood, he was a sad child, something that plagued his adult life. His works, therefore, often deal with a lonely person who is cut off from his fellow man, as the captain is in The Secret Sharer. The Captain is a young man who is full of self-doubt about his abilities to navigate his ship successfully, "The youngest man on board (baring the second mate), and untried as yet by a position of the fullest responsibility..." (Conrad, p. 19) He is not sure of his place on the ship, does not feel right about being in charge and he does not have a very good relationship with his crew because he is the new man on board. The Captain often emphasizes that he is a stranger. ...read more.


19). The captain is young and does not feel he really knows himself. This insecurity leads him to believe he is not fit to lead others if he does not even have confidence in himself. During one night, while the crew was sleeping, he notices that the ship's rope ladder still hangs over the side. When he tries to pull it up, he finds a naked man who is hanging on it. "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!" (Conrad, p. 23) His name is Leggatt. He escapes from Sehpora, a near by ship, because he has murdered a man several weeks ago and suffered confinement. Since the Captain and him looked like a same as twins, a strong bond of unity is established between the two of them. "A mysterious communication was established already between us two-in the face of that silent, darkened tropical sea" (Conrad, p. 24), "Conrad keeps hinting at the close resemblance between the Captain and Leggatt; they were almost the same age, had the same build, had come from the same background; they were almost like doubles or twins" (J.B. ...read more.


Stallman, p. 278) the Captain skillfully averts destruction and remarks on his newfound trust in his crew and his ability as the ship's commander, "Nothing! no one on the world should stand between us, throwing a shadow on the way of silent knowledge and mute affection, the perfect communion of a seaman with his first command" (Conrad, p. 61). The Captain realizes he is in complete control and is confident as leader of his vessel. His newly discovered trust in his abilities will help him in the rest of his journey and the rest of his life. As a direct result from his relationship with the secret sharer, the Captain transforms from an inexperienced and insecure individual to a self-assured and stable leader. In the beginning of the story, the captain does not know his place and has feelings of inadequacy. This changes when the captain meets the secret sharer and becomes secure and confident in his duty and his abilities. "By releasing the him into freedom, he is somehow achieving his own maturation, and for it he is willing to pay a heavy price" (Leo Gurko, p. 93) After this experience the Captain is ready to start a new confident life and guide the ship to its journey. "...an account of adventure in which the Captain is strangely and dramatically involved, during which he acquires self-confidence and the mastery of his ship. (Leo Gurko, p. 91) ...read more.

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