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How do the details of the Captain's cabin enable the Captain to conceal Leggatt...

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mgrammar | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted October 3, 2010 at 10:39 PM via web

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How do the details of the Captain's cabin enable the Captain to conceal Leggatt successfully?

The Secret Sharer" by Joseph Conrad

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 4, 2010 at 9:23 AM (Answer #1)

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After the narrator allows the stranger to come onto his boat and then realizes that the man appeals to him "as if our experience had been identical as our clothes," he decides to hide his double in his room.  First, he places the man in his bunk and pulls the curtain so that the steward cannot detect him when he enters. Then, he hides him in the bathroom where he must stand bolt upright in the small recessed space.  But, for the most part, the secret sharer hides in another recessed part on a small folding stool, "half smothered by the heavy coats hanging there." This position is held by him while the narrator sits before him at his desk whenever the steward enters to clean the bathroom. But, when the steward first comes in to clean the room, the captain tells him that he is going to his bath where he has his double standing upright. Then, he comes out of his bath and has the steward go into the saloon.  At this point, he sneaks the double onto the little stool, and the steward enters the bathroom from the saloon.

At one point, when the narrator gives him a gray sleeping suit, and he sits on the stool, the narrator has difficulty talking with other crew members, for he cannot detach his mental vision "from the unsuspected sharer of my cabin as though he were my secret self." The captain becomes completely connected in thoughts with his double, his darker side, until mysteriously he is smuggled out.

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