The Secret Sharer By Conrad Essay

946 words - 4 pages

The Secret Sharer by Conrad In the many critical articles that we have read in class on Joseph Conrad's "The Secret Sharer" many of the authors believed that a secret that was being shared with the reader. They also believed that the secret is Leggett and the captain are sexually attracted to each other. They go on to say that since Conrad wrote the story and this relationship is in the story than Conrad must have had these feelings himself. I do not believe that these authors are correct. They seem to be bringing aspects to the story that are not apparent to me. I am not saying that their ideas are not possible but they do seem far-fetched.Cesare Casarino wrote in his article "The sublime of the closet; or Joseph Conrad's secret sharing." That the secret that is shared with the reader is that the captain and Leggett are involved in a homoerotic relationship.… in scenes replete with touching, groping, mingling, and clasping, "He caught hold of my arm, but the ringing of the supper bell made me start. He didn't though; he only released his grip" … For whose glances "mingle" and whose hands meet "gropingly" and linger "united in a steady and motionless clasp" except the glances and hands of lovers? (Casarino 235) Casarino seems to use the language of the story to make his point. He makes assumptions that since Conrad uses certain words than he must have meant to give an underlying meaning, a "secret" meaning that I do not see. I am not familiar with Conrad's other works, but could this just be the writing style that Conrad uses? Could the writing style and words be common for the time when the "Secret Sharer" was written? These two ideas need to be considered before we start placing judgements on words. Casarino does not take these consideration into account.James Phelan writes that the secret that the narrator is sharing with the reader is one that is covert. He goes on to say that as the story goes on the secret should be come more apparent to the reader. Mr. Phelan uses scenes to prove his point that seem odd to me. The section of the story that he uses that gives me the most problem is when the narrator sees his hat in the water. "… -- yes, I was in time to catch an evanescent glimpse of my white hat left behind …" (Conrad 60) Mr. Phelan uses this section to compare the captain giving his hat to Leggett as if he had given him a ring. He than says Leggett leaving the hat behind is a way for Leggett to give the gift back as "… a powerful symbol of their unconsummated relationship… " (Phelan 138) I do not see how the hat can represent...

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