The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
The dirk (a knife) appears early on in Charlotte's voyage, and is given to her by Zachariah (2.93). When she first encounters the weapon, she's "horrified" (2.93); however, she gradually learns to wield the weapon. The knife can be used for good [as when she cuts Zachariah free (21.80)] or it can be used for evil [as when Mr. Hollybrass gets stabbed by Captain Jaggery (15.56)]. Also, no snickering please, but the knife is most definitely a phallic symbol. That is, the knife is a symbol of masculine authority that the gender bending Charlotte must learn to use.