Two Youths, Two Tones
Youth is the most important time in a person's life. What happens during that time shapes what you will be like for the rest of your life. This small fraction of time serves as the core of what the rest of life is based around and is, for many, the best part life. In Youth by Henry James and The Turn of the Screw by Joseph Conrad, there are two main characters in the prime of their lives. The positions of responsibility these two youths hold, their frames of mind in the stories, and their credibility as narrators all play vital roles in the themes of these stories.
The way in which Marlow conducts himself in "Youth" is impressive. He is only twenty years old and already holds the position of second mate. Judging from the number of times that the narrator mentions this fact in the novella, it must have been something of great significance in that day.
Marlow displays how appreciative he is of the position from the beginning, recalling, "Second mate for the first time--a really responsible officer! I wouldn't have thrown up my new billet for a fortune."(Conrad 3) Although Marlow admits to being young and ignorant, he claims to have what is more important for a sailor, "the strong bond of the sea, and also the fellowship of the craft."(Conrad 1) He takes his job seriously; there is a strong contrast between Marlow and Mahon, his subordinate and elder. They are getting paid by the day, whether they are sailing or not. Marlow is in a hurry to get back to sailing, to fulfill his own adventurous spirit as well as to get the job at hand done for the owners. Mahon does not have the same...