The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
How we cite our quotes:
Second, I would be crossing the Atlantic – a trip that could last anywhere from one to two months – during the summer, when no formal education took place. (Preface.8)
The voyage across the Atlantic stands in for Charlotte's formal education at Barrington School for Better Girls. (Think of it as summer camp, but with, um, none of the arts and crafts.) How is the ship like or unlike a typical classroom? Who acts as Charlotte's teacher? Her classmates?
I was given a volume of blank pages – how typical of my father! – and instructed to keep a daily journal of my voyage across the ocean so that the writing of it should prove of educational value to me. Indeed, my father warned me that not only would he read the journal and comment upon it, but he would pay particular attention to spelling - not my strongest suit. (Preface.13)
Recording her experiences on the boat becomes a form of education for Charlotte. Charlotte's father, however, seems more interested in matters of form (as in, her spelling) than issues of content (the events that Charlotte will write about). Also, why do you think Charlotte has trouble with spelling? What does that tell us about her personality?
"As convenient, Mr. Hollybrass, send Mr. Barlow to Miss Doyle. She needs to learn where her trunk was stowed." (6.28)
While at school, Charlotte had her head stuck in books; however, learning aboard the Seahawk takes on a very different meaning. Charlotte must be educated about the layout of the ship, its customs, and its manners. (As must the reader! Note the illustration of the ship's parts at the end of the book.) Inevitably, her personal experiences – such as her adventure with the brown nut head, for example – take the place of formal education.