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The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

by Avi

Society and Class Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

Though all my being agreed with him, my training – that it was wrong for a man of his low station to presume to advise me of anything – rose to the surface. I drew myself up. "Mr. Barlow," I said stiffly, "it's my father who has arranged it all." (2.46)

Charlotte judges Barlow based on his social status, rather than on the correctness of his advice. Weird, too, because she says she agrees with him! What is it about Charlotte's "training" that prevents her from trusting her own instincts?

Quote #2

In fact, the thought of tea was extraordinarily comforting, a reminder that the world I knew had not entirely vanished. (2.62)

A nice pot of tea sounds pretty good to us, but for Charlotte it has an even larger significance. Tea is a luxury item that symbolizes the society of manners from which she has come. Is it significant that it's offered to her by Zachariah? Also, though Charlotte associates tea with home, it's also a commodity that would have been shipped around on the very kind of vessel that she now finds herself.

Quote #3

Never had I met with such impertinence! That this Zachariah, my inferior, a cook, should tell such a slanderous tale of violence and cruelty regarding Captain Jaggery to me – as though it were a confidence – was deeply mortifying. I would not, could not believe it. (5.1)

Charlotte is "mortified" by Zachariah's presumptuousness in addressing her as an equal. But why is Charlotte so sure the Zachariah is her "inferior," though? Is it really just because he is a cook? What do his race, class, and age have to with Charlotte's reaction?

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