As Captain Jaggery’s ostensibly moral imperative from Avi’s The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle implores, we the readers “protect the natural order of the world” through our disbelief in our heroine as reflected in our intuitive reflection upon and deconstructionalist critique of the book. In fact, it is likely that our disbelief of Charlotte’s story is as much a comment on our attitudes towards gender roles as it is an educated and thoughtful response to its clues. Even as we find ourselves believing along with the story, we, upon reflection, find valid ways to destroy that believability, in no small part because we define what she does as either “female” (believable) and “male” (not believable).
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So what we have here is a girl who admits she owns the weapon that murdered Mr. Hollybrass. A girl who lied about where she got it. A girl who was taught to use a blade, and learned to use it, as Mr. Grimes would have it, ‘uncommon’ well. A girl who, all agree, is unnatural in every way she acts. Gentlemen, do we not, as natural men, need to take heed? Is it not our duty, our obligation, to protect the natural order of the world? (Avi, 178)
As Captain Jaggery’s ostensibly moral imperative from Avi’s The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle implores, we the readers “protect the natural order of the world” through our disbelief in our heroine as reflected in our intuitive reflection upon and deconstructionalist critique of the book. In fact, it is likely that our disbelief of Charlotte’s story is a...
... middle of paper ...
...ive to males. This in itself indicates a gender expectation on the part of the reader, one that predisposes the reader to disbelieve and should lead us all to re-examine our motivations in deconstructing the text. Moreover, females and males alike colored Charlotte’s adaptation to her circumstances with a movement from a female role to a male role as if gender roles were intractable and binding from both the male and female points of view -- she wouldn’t be able to do it, despite the fact that quite possibly her own survival dictated she probably could have not done otherwise! Once again, logic dictates that we at least acknowledge that our inability to accept Charlotte’s account could be more of a reflection of our gender expectations than her twisting of the truth.
Avi. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. New York: Avon Books.1990.
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