Is The Secret Sharer an appropriate title for this short story? Essay
Is The Secret Sharer an appropriate title for this short story?
1. Is The Secret Sharer an appropriate title for this short story? Support your ideas with detail from the text.
In The Secret Sharer, a captain escapes his ship where he was held captive after murdering a member of the crew. He swims to another ship and admits the whole truth to the captain. Both captains have bad relationships with their crew and they empathise with each other. Legatt, who came from the other ship, is to be kept secret from the crew as his life depends on it. They have to keep quiet and whisper. An intense relationship is built up between the two of them.
The captain always refers to Legatt as my “other self”, “my double” or “my second self”. This indicates that they belong together such as lovers. It implies that they are one person and are bound together. Legatt tells the captain immediately that he just killed a man and the captain just accepts it without question. He understands why he did it. They trust each other totally. Between them they know everything about each other, they knew each other before their eyes met. For Legatt to expose himself to a complete stranger there would have to be a bond. It is a twisted love at first sight.
Another aspect of the title’s secretively is brotherhood. The two captains conspire together like brothers. “Whispering side by side, with our dark heads together and our backs to the door, anybody bold enough to open it stealthily would have been treated to the uncanny sight of a double captain busy talking in whispers with his other self.” They both look alike and are conversing in whispers. They are even sitting the same way. Like two little twin brothers making up some plan, which will guarantee that they get into trouble. This comes before sharing a secret; this is the creation of a secret, which will only be between those two, so effectively they are sharing the secret.
Legatts existence is so secret that the captain starts to doubt he even exists. He is so secret that he cannot exist. “An irresistible doubt of his existence flickered through my mind. Can it be, I asked myself, that he is not visible to other eyes than mine?” He begins to think that Legatt is so secret, that he is imagining him. This shows us that the relationship is so secret and fantastic, that he cannot believe it. Legatt is barely described; we know only that he has dark hair, is pale and resembles the captain.
In the beginning he was glowing phosphorescently, which reminds us of ghost. So he is almost spirit like. This reflects the title in that the secrectness of his existence cannot be shared. The captain describes Legatt to be like himself, he is a mirror. The captain can understand Legatt instantly as if he were in his shoes. He shares his very soul with Legatt, which is so unreal he can’t believe it. It’s double secret, materialistically he cannot tell the crew and has to hide him, and spiritually because he has shared his heart with Legatt.
In conclusion, “The Secret Sharer” is an appropriate title for this account. The title can be interpreted into different meanings all of which can be associated directly to the story. The title focuses wholly on the relationship between the captain and Legatt.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 18 September 2017
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