Comparing Conrad's The Secret Sharer and Heart of Darkness

Comparing Conrad's The Secret Sharer and Heart of Darkness

Length: 1326 words (3.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓


Similarities in Conrad's The Secret Sharer and Heart of Darkness

 

     Joseph Conrad's books, The Secret Sharer and Heart of Darkness, both

deal with each of our "dark selves".  These books also have similarities

which are overwhelming. In describing the true inner self of humans,

Conrad used many symbols which have become apparent in many of his novels.

Conrad uses the same or very similar objects in many of his works.

 

      Joseph Conrad wrote Heart of Darkness in 1899 to recount his

voyages in the Congo.  Conrad hid most of his meaning in his words using a

form of writing known as "stream of consciousness".  This made it difficult

for people to find the true meaning of his work.  After about ten years,

Conrad realized that he would have to get his point across in an easier to

understand book.  This book was The Secret Sharer.

 

      Both of these books include the hero wanting to meet or developing

a fascination for a truly evil character.  In Heart of Darkness, Marlow is

very eager to meet Kurtz. Marlow is so eager, in fact, that he eventually

starts to panic when he thinks he will never meet him.  Marlow realizes

that Kurtz is a very evil person, but this does not stop him from wanting

to meet this incredibly remarkable person.  In The Secret Sharer the

Captain saves a murderer from almost certain death without knowing what the

man has done.  Later, The Captain has a discussion with the man and finds

out his name is Leggatt.  Leggatt tells his story and the Captain becomes

more enthralled with Leggatt ever so more.  When Leggatt tells the Captain

he has committed a murder, the Captain does not throw him overboard.

Instead, the Captain harbors this criminal because he feels a connection

with Leggatt that he has never felt before.  In both stories the hero

identifies with his evil counterpart to the point that they actually become

one in their own minds.  Conrad wanted to show the evil that exists within

all of us.

 

      The bulk of Conrad's stories deal with sea voyages because of his

extensive sailing as a young man.  The ship in his writing can be thought

of as symbolizing the journey through life, a vessel of sorts.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Comparing Conrad's The Secret Sharer and Heart of Darkness." 123HelpMe.com. 19 Feb 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=16571>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Comparing the Orpheus Myth and Conrad's The Secret Sharer Essay

- Parallels in the Orpheus Myth and Conrad's The Secret Sharer The myth of Orpheus and his descent into the underworld is paralleled in Joseph Conrad's "The Secret Sharer," revealing a common theme, the narrator's self-fulfillment through the conclusion of his symbolic and inward quest. This parallel, which may be called archetypal, serves to increase the reader's sense of identification with Conrad's narrator, and it lends an otherworldly tone to the work as a whole. Likewise, these echoes of Orphic material lead the reader through three stages....   [tags: Comparison Compare Contrast Essays]

Free Essays
929 words (2.7 pages)

Conrad’s Thoughts on Dualism and Personality in The Secret Sharer Essay

- “He had turned about meantime; and we, the two strangers in the ship, faced each other in identical attitudes.” (9) The captain, narrator and main character in the story of the Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad feels isolated and alone on his new ship and crew. He has a surprise visitor that turns out to be a fugitive, Leggett, from the ship Sephora. Leggett and the captain have an immediate connection from the first meeting on the ship. The captain finds an alliance with Leggett because he feels he shares the same human experiences as Leggett....   [tags: Joeseph Conrad, Dualism, Secret Sharer, ]

Research Papers
707 words (2 pages)

Essay Joseph Conrad's The Secret Sharer

- Joseph Conrad’s “The Secret Sharer” “ In order to live with direction and an understanding of what is going on around you, one must understand and know what goes on inside himself.” - William Page In Joseph Conrad’s “The Secret Sharer”, the Captain of the vessel finds that he does not know himself as well as he thinks. It is not until a castaway, Leggatt, arrives that the captain finally achieves a level of self understanding and completion. Leggatt serves as the Captain’s complimenting double, and his actions and thoughts eventually help the captain learn about himself and create stronger character....   [tags: The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad]

Research Papers
1479 words (4.2 pages)

The Character of Leggatt in The Secret Sharer Essay

- The Character of Leggatt in The Secret Sharer        This essay examines Leggatt as an independent person, rather than as a symbol connected to the captain-narrator, a view shared by many critics.  Leggatt is not a negative influence on the captain per se.  From an objective point of view, it can be seen that Leggatt's portrayal depends entirely on how the captain (as narrator) perceives him, and that he deserves to be treated as the individual being that he is.               Many of Conrad's critics, most notably Albert J....   [tags: Joseph Conrad Secret Sharer]

Research Papers
2323 words (6.6 pages)

Free College Essays - A Captain’s Metamorphosis in The Secret Sharer

- The Secret Sharer       A Captain’s Metamorphosis         In the short story “The Secret Sharer” by Joseph Conrad, the captain of the ship, the Colorado, changes from an insecure and inexperienced ship captain to a more confident and secure individual, due to his experiences with the Secret Sharer.  At first, the captain is not sure of his place on the ship and does not feel right about being in charge.  Through his relationship with the Secret Sharer, the captain finds identity and becomes a confident person....   [tags: The Secret Sharer Joseph Conrad]

Free Essays
675 words (1.9 pages)

Theme of The Secret Sharer, by Joseph Conrad Essay

- The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad presents many themes throughout its complex narration of characters and the ideas it explicates through the novella. Amidst all the many themes that are presented there is one main theme that is thoroughly supported by Conrad in The Secret Sharer. The theme that is supported is, the ability that a person has, to change their moral and ethical beliefs due to their inexperience and self doubt as a leader. In the beginning the Captain is an upstanding, law abiding individual, yet his interaction with the murderer, and Leggatt, reveals him as someone who is insecure and easily malleable, this trait allows the captain to make many very illogical decisions...   [tags: The Secret Agent Essays]

Research Papers
1055 words (3 pages)

The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad Essay

- The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad The short story "The Secret Sharer" by Joseph Conrad centers around a character of a sea captain who is insecure and has great feelings of inadequacy on his fist job as Captain of a ship. In the story the Captain befriends a fugitive by the name of Legatt who is clearly shown to be a figment of the Captains imagination rather than an actual human being. The title of the story alone suggests that the "secret sharer" is an imaginary friend that is secretive and that the Captain can share his thoughts with....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
477 words (1.4 pages)

Essay about Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent

- Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent: A Critique of Late-Victorian Gender Roles February 15, 1894, was the most interesting afternoon in the otherwise dreary history of Greenwich Observatory. Earlier in the day, Martial Bourdin, a skinny anarchist, traveled by train from Westminster to Greenwich, concealing a small bomb. As he ominously ambled through Greenwich Park, towards the Observatory, something happened - no one knows exactly what - and he blew most of himself to shreds. The British, who loved to quantify in the late nineteenth century, noted that the explosion spread bits of flesh over a distance of sixty yards....   [tags: Joseph Conrad The Secret Agent]

Research Papers
4961 words (14.2 pages)

The Character of the Captain in Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad Essay

- The Character of the Captain in Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad The Captain helps Leggatt because he identifies with him. The Captain and Leggatt both have similar physical characteristic traits. They also come from the same social class and are both isolated on their ships. Symbolism is used to express the Captains mindset as depressed, apprehensive, and insecure. Through this symbolism the Captain implied his insecurities with nature and his crew. Not only does the Captain and Leggatt share similar characteristic traits, but Legget also has qualities that the Captain needs....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
885 words (2.5 pages)

the secret sharer Essays

- 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....   [tags: essays research papers]

Research Papers
985 words (2.8 pages)

Related Searches

  His stories

encounter many happenings, showing the many things one's soul can go

through.

 

      Pity has a strong grasp on both stories' plots.  Marlow feels pity

for Kurtz and his Intended.  In the end, Marlow lies to Kurtz's Intended

about his last words, because he feels sorry for her.  She will be

devastated for the rest of her life because of a man who was truly evil and

only realized it in the end with his dying words "The horror.  The horror".

The Captain thinks that he should help his mirror self escape and risks

everything, his job, his life, even his ship to fulfill this desire.  The

Captain sails his ship into a reef with rocks and very nearly sinks his

ship.  This allows Leggatt to jump in the water and swim to safety and

start a new life.  Before this, however, the Captain gives Leggatt his hat,

which also symbolizes pity. The Captain needed to give the cap to Leggatt

to feel good about himself and, ironically, the cap saves the ship from

certain doom in the end.

 

      Both evil characters in the stories, Leggatt and Kurtz, get away

and actually succeed in their own way.  Leggatt goes free even though he

has committed a murder, and Kurtz dies as a god to his native followers.

Conrad shows us that evil triumphs over good much of the time.  Through

death, Kurtz has found eternal life.

 

      Marlow and the Captain experience incredible suffering from their

"dark sides". Marlow becomes appalled at the apparent brutality of the

Manager and Kurtz and, near the end, chases Kurtz down just to realize that

Kurtz appears to already be taking on a very ghost-like appearance.  Three

hundred yards away, a pagan ritual is being held for Kurtz which awaits him

as he crawls on the ground, one last desperate attempt to die as a god.

The Captain becomes very stressed  that he will be discovered and it builds

day by day.  The Captain grows to hate the Steward.  He is sure that the

Steward will be the one to discover Leggatt in his quarters.  The Captain

gets so close to discovery that his "voice died in his throat".  This

happens because the Steward hung a wet coat in the Captain's closet.  The

Captain is driven nearly to insanity and this near discovery scares him.

He is curious about why Leggatt was not discovered and begins to feel that

Leggatt could be a figment of his imagination, and that no one but he can

see him.  This shows us the mental state of the Captain and how tortured he

became.

 

      Another of Joseph Conrad's books is Lord Jim.  Lord Jim also has

some similarities with Heart of Darkness and The Secret Sharer.  The main

character is a man called Jim, but by the Malays, a tribe he had helped, he

was known as "Tuan Jim" or "Lord Jim".  This book involved sailing and it

also contained a character called Marlow as well.  Jim fights with his

inner self about his ability to do good.  He had abandoned his crew during

a storm when he was first mate and never could forgive himself for his lack

of courage.  He had his sea papers taken away and could never work at sea

again.  He spends the rest of his life trying to make up for his mistake.

A character named Marlow helps him and sends him to a job in a rice factory.

 But later one of the shipmates he had abandoned shows up and threatens to

spread his secret.  Jim left and continued to travel, running away from his

fears.  He is helped by a man named Stein who Marlow knows. Stein compares

life and man to a butterfly, saying that life is so "fragile and yet so

strong".  He goes on to say that man will never sit still.  If man thinks

he is a devil, then he wishes to be a saint.  Once again, Conrad brings up

the inner struggle of one's consciousness.  Eventually Jim finds his way to

a trading post full of natives.  Jim befriends a man named Doramin by

giving him Stein's ring.  He becomes very well known by ridding the natives

of their oppression by other tribal leaders.  During this time, Jim becomes

friends with Doramin's son, Dain Waris.  One day, white men come down the

river and attack the town.  They people drive them back and have them

cornered. They plead to be given safe passage.  Jim says  that they should

let them through and he will take full responsibility with his life for

what might happen.  The men then attack and kill many natives, including

Doramin's son.  Jim has the option to run for his life and repeat his

mistake again.  However, he decides to stand up and accept his failure.

Doramin kills him.  In the end, Jim finally achieves what he had strived

for all his life. He had proved his bravery.  In similar ways Marlow and

the Captain achieved what they wanted in life at the end of their struggle.

 

      Joseph Conrad's books have similar symbols and deep meanings: man

has misgivings that he must prove to himself no matter what.  Most of his

novels and stories involve the sea and good versus evil.  Good becomes

fascinated with evil, but needs to in order to achieve it's ultimate goal:

to learn more about itself and gain control.

 

I hereby hand over all copyrights I might have for this paper.  You are

free to use it for what ever purpose you see fit.  Jonathan Welden

 

 
Return to 123HelpMe.com