Show how Conrad gives an impression of the characters in the story from the way they speak, behave and are described. Conrad gives the reader an impression of the characters of “The Secret Sharer” by the way in which the narrator, Leggatt, the first mate, the second mate and captain Archbold speak, behave and are described. The author describes the two main characters (the narrator and Leggatt) as twin souls. This is emphasized by their similar physical appearance “dark head like mine”(page 21) and by the words of the narrator himself: “I had been face by my own reflection in the depths of a somber and immense mirror” (page 21).
The way in which Leggatt and the narrator are closely related helps the reader understand the behavior of the captain because we understand why he helps Leggatt on board. With Leggatt and the captain being so similar the reader knows how one is feeling when the other is speaking. Conrad gives the reader an impression of the character of the first mate by choosing adjectives such as “frightful” and “dominant” (page 14) in the description that describes him.
The reader is also brought to think that the first mate does not accept authority easily by the way he speak: “he used to say, he ‘liked to account to himself” (page 14). The reader also understand that the first mate does not trust others and always want to be informed on everything that happens by the way in which he reacts when he finds a scorpion in his room on page 14. The second mate is described as a “silent young man, grave beyond his years” (page 13) and this sets a clear image in the mind of the reader.
One is also brought to think that the second mate is acting the part of a much older person because when the captain looked the young man in his eyes he could detect “a slight quiver on his lips” (page 13). The second mate acted this part probably because he is insecure being the youngest. Conrad gives as the impression that the second mate knows everything on the Sephora and is a bit gossipy as we can see on page 14 when he asks the tugboat skipper information on the boat.
Captain Archbold is introduced with a brief description in which Conrad emphasizes some elements such as “thin” and “smeary” (page 36) that make us understand he has not a great authority as Leggatt had previously described. We are also given the impression that Captain Archbold is not very self secure because of the way he felt “ashamed of what he was saying… in the manner of a criminal making a reluctant and doleful confession. “(page 36). The Captain of the Sephora is also intimidated and scared as if he was finding an excuse for what had happened and we can see this by the way in which he mumbles, continues to repeat the word terrible.
The reader can also understand that the skipper of the Sephora is trying to put the blame of what happened on someone and something else and we can see this by the way in which he mentions the bad weather and his wife. I think that Conrad manages very well to describe to us exactly how this people are not by describing their character as many writers do but by giving hints on how the characters could be. This involved and fascinated me very much.