Study Guide

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle Chapter 17

By Avi

Chapter 17

  • Charlotte realizes that the apparition is not at all a ghostly vision from the grave, but in fact, Zachariah himself.
  • Zachariah reveals that the hammock the men threw into the sea was a decoy to protect him from Captain Jaggery. He's been hiding out in the hold ever since.
  • Charlotte wants to know why she wasn't told about this, and Zachariah tells her point blank that it's because she was a snitch about the mutiny. (Burn!)
  • Zachariah admits to helping Charlotte on the rigging during the hurricane. He also tells her that there's no way the captain knows he's in the hold – otherwise, he wouldn't be alive still.
  • Zachariah tells Charlotte of his plan to expose Captain Jaggery to the authorities once they land in Rhode Island.
  • Charlotte tells Zachariah that it is highly unlikely that, as a black man and a common sailor, his word would be taken over Captain Jaggery's.
  • Zachariah tells Charlotte that he'll appeal to her father for help and that if her father is anything like her, they have nothing to fear. Um, yeah. Charlotte is not so sure about that.
  • Charlotte tells Zachariah about the murder of Mr. Hollybrass and that the captain has accused her. Zachariah had been told nothing about it by the crew. Charlotte tells him that she thinks the crew is on the captain's side this time.
  • Zachariah goes to get food and water. In the meantime, Charlotte entertains the possibility that perhaps it was Zachariah that killed Mr. Hollybrass, perhaps to scare the captain. The crew would of course let her be accused in order to protect Zachariah if they think he really did it.
  • Zachariah returns with water and hardtack. The two sit together and eat.
  • They try to determine who killed Mr. Hollybrass, Charlotte still suspecting that maybe it was Zachariah. Almost everyone on the crew knew about the dirk, but only Zachariah and the captain knew it was under the mattress.
  • The candles go out and Zachariah tells frightening tales about the whole crew. Charlotte takes this as a sign of his possible guilt. She cannot, though, bring herself to accuse him.
  • Suddenly, there is a noise and a light. Charlotte hurries back to the brig. It's Captain Jaggery, and he's come to take Charlotte to her trial.