“The Perfect Communion”: The Significance of the Body in The Secret Sharer

Yoko Okuda

This paper examines the sense of physical presence in The Secret Sharer, and analyzes how the narrator matures into a seaman worthy of a command by developing this sense. The paper is part of my research on the emotional sub-text of Conrad’s works. According to Najder, the work is based on Conrad’s “specialist knowledge as a seaman.” Seamanship demands a developed sense of physical presence. This theme is also important in Under Western Eyes, written during the same period. However, according to Jeremy Hawthorn, Conrad’s concern with “communicative and expressive potentialities of the physical human body” has not been given sufficient attention, and the same can be said about this work. In this paper, first, I will discuss the theme of physical presence; second, I will analyze the captain’s relationship with Leggett from this perspective; and, finally, I will argue that the captain’s relation with the ship changes as he develops his physical sense.
Słowa kluczowe: The Secret Sharer, body, physical presence, seamanship

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