Study Guide

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle Identity

By Avi


Who is Charlotte Doyle? That's the question this novel asks us not once, not twice, but like about a billion different times. Is Charlotte her father's daughter? Is she Zachariah's friend? Is she just her own sassy self? Identity, you see, can be constructed in many different ways. Sometimes Charlotte sees herself in relation to someone else (for example, the Captain), and at other times as part of a group (like when she joins the crew). There are even moments when Charlotte imagines herself to be completely autonomous (that means that she's an individual who acts all on her own). Which forms of identity do you think the novel portrays most positively? More importantly, how do you identify yourself?

Questions About Identity

  1. How does Charlotte identify herself at the beginning of the novel? At the end?
  2. Charlotte is always asking herself what her father would do, but do you think her mother has any bearing on Charlotte's idea of who she is?
  3. Why is being independent sometimes dangerous for Charlotte?
  4. How are being independent and being an outsider sometimes similar? What does choice have to do with it?

Chew on This

Charlotte must learn to be completely independent. Only then can she figure out who she really is.

Charlotte finds out who she is by connecting with different people and joining new social groups. It's the choices that she makes that matter.