Much of Conrad's oeuvre is concerned with haemartia--the hero's tragic flaw. Typically, Conrad's protagonists (or the subjects of a framing narrative) appear to be decent, more-or-less upright men who are tempted and slide down the slippery slope because of their anxiety about their image management. They feel weak or vulnerable or potentially subject to ridicule, so they commit the first act that then usually leads to their downfall. The Secret Sharer is a novella so this conceit is not fully developed. here, a young, untried ship's captain allows an escaped prisoner from another ship to board his own and smuggles him to safety because he sees in this fugitive a mirror of himself. Because this novella is relatively uncluttered, and generally free of the pages and pages of misogyny and racist colonial spew that mar so many of his works, I would, were I still an English teacher, have students read this and identify themes and symbolism, then read one of Conrad's novels to see how these play out and are elaborated in a longer work.