The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
How we cite our quotes:
But before I begin relating what happened, you must know something about me as I was in the year 1832- when these events transpired. At the time my name was Charlotte Doyle. And though I have kept the name, I am not – for reasons you will soon discover – the same Charlotte Doyle. (Preface.2)
Shakespeare once asked, "What's in a name?" Our protagonist weighs in on the issue by telling us that, though she still goes by the name of "Charlotte Doyle," time has fundamentally changed who she actually is. (She is writing retrospectively, many years after the original composition of her journal.) As an adult, Charlotte defines herself not by a simple title or by her family name, but by her life experiences.
Not even the same lowering mist I'd observed when I first came from my cabin could dampen my soaring spirits. Captain Jaggery was a brilliant sun and I, a Juno moon, basked in reflected glory. (6.2)
Charlotte imagines herself as a reflection of the captain; that is, she sees herself as the moon to his oh-so-glorious sun. Does this imagery suggest that Charlotte regards herself as merely a reflector for the captain's grandeur? Can Charlotte only see herself in relation to someone else in general?
This time I did not cry. I was too numb, too much in a state of shock. Instead, I simply stood immobile – rather like the moment when I'd first cast eyes upon the Seahawk – trying confusedly to think out what I could do.
I tried, desperately, to imagine what my father, even what my mother or Miss Weed, might want me to do, but I could find no answer. (12.38-12.39)
In the aftermath of Mr. Cranick's death, Charlotte finds herself with a lack of guidance. No one – not her father nor her mother nor boarding school mistress – can help her decide what action to take. She must now decide what to do all on her own. She must learn to think of herself as an independent person.