A Struggle Between Greed And Lack Of Wisdom In Esther Forbes’ Novel Johnny Tremain

June 7, 2021 by Essay Writer

Universal Concepts:Johnny Tremain

In the story“Johnny Tremain”,by Esther Forbes, the main character, Johnny Tremain, struggles with his arrogance and selfishness prior to the Revolutionary War. Several concepts, like pride, disillusionment, and loss, are introduced by events that the protagonist encounters such as his work as a silversmith,his crippled hand, and the loss of Rab.These concepts are further reinforced by the thoughts and actions of Johnny Tremain in response to events.

Johnny Tremain displayed the concept of pride in the story when he was making a handle of a silver basin for John Hancock, a wealthy man from Boston. This was shown in the passage, “By Sunday noon, Johnny, following Mr. Revere’s advice and his curve, had got the model of the handle exactly right. He could tell with his eyes closed. It felt perfect.” After experiencing many failures, he prided his success in making the handle perfectly. Evidently, we see him seem to “soak” in the satisfaction of his achievement, further displaying the concept of pride in this passage.

The concept of disillusionment was revealed when Johnny Tremain realizes that because of his crippled hand, he cannot pursue his dream of being a silversmith. The text states,”He got up, stood facing them stiffly, his bad hand jammed into his breeches pocket. ’I’m going out,’ he said thickly.” In this section, we can see the reality of the situation dawn on him and affect him mentally. From the disillusionment, we also see him turn away and avoid the comfort from others in the Lapham’s household.

The idea of loss is shown in the novel when Johnny Tremain was informed of Rab’s death.Upon fully facing the truth that Rab was dead, he felt as if,”He had moved off into a strange lonely world where nothing could seem real — not even Rab’s death.” This is significant to note because we can already see that losing Rab had affected Johnny Tremain emotionally and had given us a sense that he finds the experience almost surreal. And with its surreal feel, he also felt the loneliness with the death of Rab, showing the massive impact that losing Rab had.

In the novel, Johnny Tremain’s actions are similar to certain events in my life. Upon being discouraged, Johnny Tremain turns away from the comfort of others. I recall many times when a family member or friend were discouraged, and when I attempt to comfort them, they quickly turn away. In conclusion, the concepts in the novel- pride, disillusionment, and loss- have been displayed through the thoughts and actions of Johnny Tremain.

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