What does the quote "your eyes no longer outrace your chin as do a child's" mean in The Door in the Wall?

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This is a quote from the classic children’s book The Door in the Wallby Marguerite de Angeli , published in 1949. The book is set in England during the medieval era as the Black Death sweeps the European continent. It follows a young boy Robin; in spite of physical...

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This is a quote from the classic children’s book The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli, published in 1949. The book is set in England during the medieval era as the Black Death sweeps the European continent. It follows a young boy Robin; in spite of physical disability that affects his ability to walk, he expected to follow in his father’s footsteps as a knight and nobleman. The full quote reads,

"You are grown," he said. "Your eyes no longer outrace your chin as do a child's. You've now the look of a youth!"

This is a statement that Robin’s father makes to his son after Robin has proved himself as a great warrior.

The quote in question represents the extent to which Robin has overcome adversity and gained the respect of his family and community. Throughout the novel, Robin struggles with his identity as a knight and warrior. For example, at the beginning of the book, Angeli writes,

Tears of vexation started to his eyes, but he held them back, for he remembered that a brave and "gentil" knight does not cry.

In this early moment, we see Robin as a scared child. By the end of the novel, however, the author makes it clear that this is no longer the case. In saying that Robin’s chin "outraces"—or runs faster than—his eyes, his father is saying that Robin is proud (signified by a lifted chin) rather than fearful (signified by tears or rapidly darting eyes). In the words of his father, Robin now has the look of a youth or young man instead of a little boy.

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