In chapters six and seven, the narrator’s observations suggest that Margaret has become sexually active aboard the pirate vessel.
In these two chapters, the narrator’s observations do suggest that Margaret has become sexually active aboard the pirate vessel.
In chapter 6, Emily notes that Margaret had been acting strangely for some time. Initially, Margaret appeared to be "exaggeratedly frightened" of all the sailors. Then, she took to following them around, especially Otto. Emily relates that Margaret's next move is even more odd: without warning, Margaret suddenly moves out of the children's quarters into the captain and sailors' cabin.
Emily observes that, after Margaret's move, the sailors take special pains to keep Margaret emotionally and physically isolated from the other children. When the children do come across Margaret, they perceive that she has greatly changed. Ominously, Emily tells us that she cannot tell where the change lay.
In chapter 7, Emily is locked in the cabin with the Dutch captain. The captain aims to cut himself free by using a knife that someone has carelessly dropped on the cabin floor. Fearing for her life, Emily reaches for the knife herself. She stabs the Dutch captain repeatedly with the sharp instrument, her uncharacteristic ferocity fueled by her fear of the captain. In the end, the Dutch captain dies from his wounds. The first person to come across the bloody scene is Margaret.
However, Margaret's reaction is unusual. She shows no emotion as she stares at the dying Dutch captain. It can be argued that Margaret is in shock, her emotional paralysis occasioned by some deep psychological trauma.
It is clear that the events in chapter 6 have fueled Margaret's increasing disconnect from reality. So, the narrator's combined observations in chapters 6 and 7 do suggest that Margaret has become sexually active. Margaret's increasing apathy also suggests that she is having a difficult time processing her new life; it is evident that the sailors have taken gross advantage of a young girl.
True. In chapter 6 Emily recalls a night aboard the vessel in which Captain Jonsen came down to see the children. He was quite drunk and put a hand on Emily in a way that made her react by biting his thumb. It was likely a sexual pass at Emily. The entire time this narrative is being told, the reader is also told that Margaret appears to get sicker and sicker at the sight of Jonsen down there with the kids.
Then Emily describes the next four days with Margaret. Margaret starts avoiding the other children and eventually takes up to living in Otto's cabin.
"Now they hardly saw her at all: and when they did she seemed so different they hardly recognised her: though where the difference lay it would be hard to say."
In chapter 7, Margaret's distance is felt by almost a complete absence from the entire chapter. All that is said is that she continues to avoid them and live in Otto's cabin.
The reader has to remember that the story is being narrated from Emily's point of view. She's a ten year old girl, so the likelihood of the narrator flat out declaring that Margaret is having sex is slim. But the evidence is there with Margaret's new living arrangements and avoidance of her family.