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MonkeyNotes-The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad
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STYLE

Style refers to the way an author uses words to express himself and to convey meaning. Conrad is considered a great and daring stylist. In The Secret Sharer, his use of English is unique and his stylistic intentions are daring and ambitious.

The first characteristic of Conrad's writing is its connotative richness and suggestiveness. The description of the ship anchored in the Gulf of Siam is rich in connotative meaning and suggestiveness: "the ship was like other ships, the men like other men, and.... the sea was not likely to keep any special surprises expressly for my discomfiture." Although everything appears normal, that the Captain makes a point of thinking this suggests that something odd will happen.

The main trope or figurative language used is that of doubling. Because Leggatt comes to represent the darker side of the Captain, much of the story's language is geared towards revealing this double motif. At the beginning of the story, the sky and the water seem fused together much like the Captain and Leggatt soon will be. There are references to groups of two in the first page of description that also foreshadow the Captain and Leggatt's co- habitation, "two bunches of bananas," "two captain's sleeping- suits," "two small clumps of trees." Throughout the story, the Captain refers to Leggatt constantly as his double although at the same time, Leggatt appears enigmatic and apparition-like. Here the reader can see that through the act of naming Leggatt his double, he is in a way coming to terms with his darker side.


The second stylistic device of Conrad is his use of figurative language. The best example is the passage in which the Captain glimpses the white hat in "the gate of Erebus." Erebus, in classical mythology, is a region of utter darkness between earth and Hades. It also refers to the king of the region of chaos and his brother night. It is this passage into the dark recesses of his mind that the narrator must make in order to become a resolute Captain. His brush with disaster and near death becomes a rite of passage.

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