What does Charlotte think she sees after Barlow leaves her alone with her trunk in True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After Barlow leaves her alone with her trunk, Charlotte Doyle looks around her quarters and sees the inside of her coffin.

Charlotte had not expected anything like what her sea voyage to American is turning out to be. She is a child of privilege, used to order and nice things. When she is shown to her room on the Seahawk, she is stunned to discover that her cabin is "but six feet in length...four feet wide...four and a half feet high." Charlotte is not very tall, but she must stoop to see into the room.

There is "something that look(s) like a pillow and a blanket," which is meant to be her bed, but it is infested with roaches. There are no other amenities in the room, except for "a small built-in chest in the bulkhead wall, the door of which drop(s) down and serve(s) as a desktop." Aside from that, there is "no porthole...no chair...not so much as a single piece of polite ornamentation...it is ugly, unnatural, and...impossible."

Barlow brings Charlotte's trunk to her, but it is too large to get into the cabin. He puts it down outside the door and "scurrie(s) off," leaving Charlotte alone. Hunched in her tiny space, Charlotte becomes momentarily convinced that she has been placed in a coffin, and bursts into "tears of vexation, crying with fear, rage, and humiliation" (Chapter 2). 

apisz18 | Student

she thinks she sees a stowaway that blows her candle out.

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