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  1. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle Overview
  2. Top Authors
  3. Study Guide for The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi - Chapters 1-12
  4. Questions on Books studied in YA and Children's Literature Classes
  5. ISBN 10: 0881229008

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle Overview

Charlotte was a good girl; she always did exactly what her father told her to do. Use a soft voice Now Charlotte had been taught to act like a little lady, with carefully combed hair and milk white skin and a clean silky dress and soft hands that had never even washed so much as a teacup. Use a harsh, louder voice But in just a few short weeks Charlotte's hair will be cut ragged and short, her face will be tan as any sailor's, her hands will be calloused and tarred from handling ropes and sails, she'll be wearing pants and a rough sailor shirt, and she will have been tried and convicted of murder.

Discussion questions Spoiler alert! When Charlotte meets Captain Jaggery in Chapter Four, she feels reassured that her world has been regained.

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

What does she mean by her world? Just before he leaves Charlotte on the ship, Mr. Grummage says "in my world, judgments as to rights and wrongs are left to my Creator. How does this change as the story continues? When Zachariah offers Charlotte tea and friendship, he says that he and she have much in common.

What do you think they have in common? What does Charlotte have in common with Captain Jaggery? After giving her the knife and sharing information about the Seahawk's previous voyage, Zachariah asks Charlotte if she believes in justice for all. Charlotte answers that she believes in justice "for those who deserve it. When Charlotte tells Captain Jaggery about the knife, why does she lie and say Grummage gave it to her?

Why does the captain insist that Charlotte keep the knife? Barlow tells Charlotte that the captain put the sailors on display for her benefit.

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Why would the captain do that? Does it seem realistic for a year-old girl to do the physical work of sailoring-in good weather and in hurricane-as Charlotte does? Since the total voyage lasts only a month or two, would she have time to learn the skills required of a crew member? If she managed to overcome these difficulties, might Captain Jaggery be justified in thinking of her as "unnatural"-that is, outside the normal order of things? Early on, Zachariah told Charlotte that a ship captain is like a king or even a god to his people.


If that's true and the sailors were attempting a mutiny, was the captain doing his duty in shooting the stowaway and punishing the would-be mutineers? Charlotte tells the captain that singling Zachariah out for punishment isn't fair. Is fairness the same thing as justice? Why does the captain ask Charlotte to choose the man to be punished for the attempted mutiny?

Zachariah says "To kill a hand during such a storm, when everyone is desperately needed, takes a kind of. Why does he hate Charlotte so intensely? After Keetch betrays Charlotte and Zachariah's plan, the captain offers Charlotte three choices: to carry out the mutiny, to sail safely home as a normal young lady passenger or to be hanged for murder.

Why doesn't Charlotte consider the first two options? Major events in the story depend on Charlotte's misjudging the people around her-Zachariah, the captain, Keetch and her own father. He was also to meet me when I came down from school on the coach, then see me safely stowed aboard the ship that my father had previously selected. Grummage was dressed in a black frock coat with a stove pipe hat that added to his considerable height.

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His somber, sallow face registered no emotion. His eyes might have been those of a dead fish.

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Next, please oblige me by following, and everything shall be as it is meant to be. In a flutter of nervousness I identified my trunk, threw my arms about Miss Emerson my sweet companion for the trip down , and bid her a tearful farewell. Then I rushed after Mr. Grummage, who had already begun to move on. A rough-looking porter, laboring behind, carried my trunk upon his back. Our little parade reached dockside in good order. There I became instantly agog at the mass of ships that lay before us, masts and spars thick as the bristles on a brush. Everywhere I looked I saw mountains of rare goods piled high.

Bales of silk and tobacco! Chests of tea!

Study Guide for The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi - Chapters 1-12

A parrot! A monkey! Oh yes, the smell of the sea was intoxicating to one who knew little more than the smell of the trim cut lawns and the fields of the Barrington School. Then too, the surging crowds of workers, sailors, and merchants-all rough-hewn, brawny men--created an exotic late afternoon hubbub. All in all it was a most delicious chaos, which, while mildly menacing, was no less exciting because of that. Indeed, in some vague way I had the feeling that it was all there for me. Grummage, sit," I called over the din. Grummage paused briefly to look at me as though surprised I was there, to say nothing of asking a question.

Then from one of his pockets he drew a screw of paper. Squinting at it he pronounced, "The Seahawk. The ship is scheduled to leave with the first tide tomorrow morning. So there can be no delay. To prove the point he turned to move again. Grummage stopped again, frowning in an irritated fashion, but all the same consulted his paper. He had come up close and overheard our talk. Both Mr. Grummage and I looked about. Grummage inquired, making it perfectly clear that if so, the porter had committed a serious breach of decorum.

Questions on Books studied in YA and Children's Literature Classes

Not for double gold. Not one more step. I say, stop! Grummage called.

It was in vain. The porter had gone, and quickly at that.

ISBN 10: 0881229008

Grummage and I looked at each other. I hardly knew what to make of it. Nor, clearly, did he. Yet he did what he had to do: he surveyed the area in search of a replacement.