Swallows and Amazons Chapter VII: “You’re to swim as well as splash”

From Mae Thinks

I’m interested in the boundaries these siblings set for each other. Titty doesn’t want John and Susan to know that she’s practicing being a cormorant, but she’s absolutely fine with telling them that she’s diving for pearls. I think her shyness comes from the slight possibility that the former might work: she wants to completely exclude the possibility of catching fish with her hands, even though she’s grown-up enough to know that it’s almost certainly a silly idea.

There’s a similar dynamic later, with the dowsing in “Pigeon Post”, and I think it is one of the reasons I love Titty so much. I spent quite a bit of time practising flying when I was about her age, just in case I could – and I certainly wasn’t going to tell anyone about it. I think I still have the same tendency, and I’ve been working hard at letting people see me try stuff I might actually succeed at, too.

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