The Secret Sharer

Words: 2066
Pages: 9

How do experiences shape growth and identity as human beings? Two authors’ explore this theme in their short stories, “The Demon Lover” by Elizabeth Bowen and “The Secret Sharer” by Joseph Conrad. “The Demon Lover” is set in London in post-World War II. The city has been damaged by German bombings, and this bleakness echoes the main character’s struggles as she experiences flashbacks to when she was a younger woman during World War I. Similarly, “The Secret Sharer” by Joseph Conrad also features a dark setting. The main character, the Captain, is commanding a boat in the Gulf of Siam, which is now present day Gulf of Thailand. Both authors explore growth, deterioration, selfidentity through character conflicts. Although the development of …show more content…
Calder states, "Her London house is an objective correlative, not of Mrs. Drover's psychological state, but of her ‘impoverished married life’" (Calder 1). In other words this is saying, the London house corresponds not with Kathleen's psychological state, but rather the state of her marriage. (Calder 1). Calder argues the house symbolizes the state of her marriage. The house is described as lifeless and decaying with stale air inside. Calder is depicting the state of Kathleen's marriage as not having substance or life at all. This interpretation does make sense because Kathleen doesn’t describe a loving marriage to Mr. Drover. The house is falling apart and described as lifeless. Noting these details does make a clear correlation between the two. Identity is explored in both short stories, however it is contrasted between the two. In “The Secret Sharer” the Captain makes a positive true identity after much reflection of his old past self. Piedmont-Marton claims, "He is aware that he has gained all he can from looking into his "other self" and now he must move from contemplation to action" (Piedmont-Marton 1). The Captain can move on because his ultimate realization is that he can no longer stay stuck in his past self. (Piedmont-Marton 1). He finds the resources from within to grow into a better version of himself. Moving on can be