Swallows and Amazons Chapter XII: He was glad he had brought the compass

From Mae Thinks

There’s some lovely detail again here, and also some wondrous fallibility. Warning: I may be more critical of this chapter than of its predecessors.

I used to hate writing conversation when I was at school – it all felt tedious and contrived, and seemed to take forever to communicate the important information in a way which was remotely believable, and I didn’t think my hypothetical readers would have that much patience. Had I paid more attention to passages like this, I might have given them more credit.

But then the lengthy conversation about the relative heights of the younger crew members turns out to be more important than it first appears. Yes, it reinforces messages we have already had about Roger’s status in the family, Susan’s sense of responsibility, John’s need to plan for all of them. But it also sets the context for the declaration that Roger won’t need to reach the lantern…

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