The Journal, Round Robin, Blood Bird & Hurricane
Charlotte's journal symbolizes an exasperating restriction placed on Charlotte by her father. Charlotte is given a diary from her father to write down everything that transpires during her journey to America on the high seas. He tells her it will be of educational value.
"I was given a volume of blank pages - how typical of my father! - and instructed to keep a daily journal of my voyage across the ocean so that the writing of it should prove of educational value to me."
It also represents the truth that her father will not allow Charlotte to discuss or to share with her brother and sister. When she arrives home, her father reads the diary and refuses to discuss the problems on the ship during the trip. He seems to be more upset with her spelling and grammar than the deaths. He burns it. However, she rewrites the journal in the blank margins of the books he asks her to study,
"Keeping the journal then is what enables me to relate now in perfect detail everything that transpired during the fateful voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in the summer of 1832."
A round robin is a slip of paper that has two circles, one within the other. It looks like a doughnut. There are signatures on the "doughnut." The men who sign the round robin make a pact for mutiny. Captain Jaggery asks Charlotte to look for one, and she finds one. The round robin symbolizes rebellion.
Charlotte thinks about what she had found when searching for a needle, "There had been a pistol. There had been a round robin. With the warnings given to me by Captain Jaggery--and ever mindful of the possibilities revealed to me by Zachariah--I had little doubt about the meanings of my discoveries. The crew was preparing a rebellion."
Charlotte spies a bird from the Caribbean called a blood bird, which lived one thousand miles off, was perched on a branch in the ocean. The bird was a symbol, a warning that a hurricane was coming.
Charlotte asked, "What kind of storm would blow a bird that far?" Barlow answers, "Hurricane."
The hurricane symbolizes the conflict on the Seahawk. During the hurricane, Mr. Hollybrass is killed with Charlotte’s dirk and her handkerchief is in his hand. Captain Jaggery tells the crew that Charlotte did it to avenge Zachariah's death. However, she is innocent and Zachariah is alive.
Charlotte describes the ship in the storm, "It was as if that rhythmic action was the true beating of our own hearts--as if, were we to stop for more than a moment, the heart of the ship might cease all beating too."