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Free Barron's Booknotes-The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad-Free Summary
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THEMES

"The Secret Sharer" portrays the friendship of two men during a time of strain and crisis. Each is able to offer the other something he needs. The captain offers the escaped killer Leggatt both protection from the men who are pursuing him and, eventually, escape. Leggatt gives the captain something less tangible-a lesson that he badly needs in self-possession, self-reliance, and self-control. In the course of the story, the captain learns, largely from the example of the secret sharer of his cabin and his life, how to be a good leader. In protecting him, he has to stop worrying about the opinions of others and assert himself.


But firmness isn't the only quality in a good leader. He needs to be able to act resolutely, too, to give orders when necessary without terrifying himself over what the consequences might be.

Captain Archbold is an example of a leader who can't act in a crisis: during the frightening storm that besets the Sephora, he can't make himself give the order to set the sail that's their last hope, because he's afraid of losing it. But the young captain maneuvers his own ship through hair-raising danger along the shallow coast in order to help Leggatt escape. After this crisis, he's clearly in full possession of his abilities.

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Free Barron's Booknotes-The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad-Free Book Notes
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