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Secret Sharer Masculinity

Decent Essays
In the novella, The Secret Sharer, a novella written in 1910 by Joseph Conrad, the author explores the character’s struggle to reach their “ideal conception of self” and ultimately argues that men who are too in touch with their feminine attributes struggle to appear masculine in a man’s world. The Captain of the ship struggles to maintain his ideal masculine self, but is seen as a weaker and an effeminate character in the eyes of his crew. He is seen as a stranger to the ship but most importantly to himself. “All these people had been together for eighteen months or so, and my position was that of the only stranger on board… I was somewhat of a stranger to myself...but I wondered how for I should turn out faithful to that ideal conception of one’s own personality”(21,Conrad). Early on we see that the captain lacks his masculinity and is not seen powerful and is insecure about his true self- his effeminate character. The captain wants to be like any other captain strong and manly, but struggles to be his ideal self, the great and powerful captain that every ship has, a captain that holds power in the eyes of his crew man. Other ways we see this was when the captain himself was commanded to close the porthole of the ship. “Close your port sir, they are washing…show more content…
In this short story, the captain strives to figure out who he really is and really has a difficult time maintaining his power within the ship. However, since he does not meet the gender expectations, he is looked down upon and has a really difficult time moving away from what the crew of the ship characterized him- a weak feminine captain. Thus, showing that men who are too close with their feminine characteristics really have a struggle to show masculinity in the eyes of the people around
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