The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
Justice and Judgment Quotes Page 1
How we cite our quotes:
Indeed, the one unique aspect of this ship was a carved figurehead of a pale white seahawk beneath the bowsprit. Its wings were thrust back against the bow; its head extended forward, beak wide-open, red tongue protruding as if screaming. In the shadowy light that twisted and distorted its features I was struck by the notion that this figure looked more like an angry, avenging angel than a docile bird. (1.60)
The ship's figurehead makes Charlotte think of an "avenging angel." To be "avenged" means to seek justice for a past wrong. How does the carved seahawk foreshadow the events that will follow? Mr. Cranick is seeking his own personal revenge, but also think about the idea of "justice" in a larger sense – what larger wrongs are righted during this journey?
Mr. Grummage drew himself up. "Miss Doyle," he said loftily, "in my world, judgments as to rights and wrongs are left to my Creator, not to children. Now, be so good as to board the Seahawk. At once!" (1.75)
Mr. Grummage doesn't trust Charlotte's judgment because she's a child. It's no wonder, then, that Charlotte doesn't trust herself to make important decisions. Grummage puts his faith instead in the Creator, though it's sort of unclear why the Creator would want Charlotte to get on the boat with a bunch of scary, manly sailors.
Zachariah cocked his head to one side. "Miss Doyle, do you believe in justice?"
"I am an American, Mr. Zachariah."
"Ah! Justice for all?"
"For those who deserve it." (4.47-4.50)
Charlotte reveals her prejudices in that she does not, at least at this point in the novel, consider "justice" to be a universal human right. Instead, she suggests that justice should be given only to those who deserve it. What exactly does she mean by that? Also, why does she mention being an American? While the Pledge of Allegiance may promise "justice for all," is that always the case? (The Pledge of Allegiance, by the way, was composed in 1892 by Francis Bellamy. That Zachariah references the oath in 1832 is a tiny anachronism. Oh well.)