The Essence of Change in a Person in Johnny Tremain
In life, nothing will ever stay the same – including yourself. Whether the change is due to uncontrollable circumstances or it is voluntary, it will happen. Esther Forbes’ Johnny Tremain, a historical fiction novel, captures the essence of change in a person. When the book begins, Johnny Tremain, a talented 14-year-old boy, is apprenticed to a silversmith and has a bright future. There is only one problem – Johnny is lofty, egocentric, and selfish. As life takes Johnny on innumerable twists and turns, Johnny transforms from his boyish, immature self to a patriotic, mature young man, willing to sacrifice himself for his country and friends.
At fourteen, Johnny Tremain has everything a teenage boy could ever want. He is the main breadwinner at the Lapham’s, which means that he is much too valuable for chores. He has the respect of the other boys on the wharf, and his future looks very promising. Johnny lives in a small world, his life revolving around work, tormenting Dove, a fellow apprentice, and dreaming of when he will have his own silver business. This small world at the Laphams’ makes him largely unaware of the political strife going on between Britain and America.
However, Johnny’s big mouth and prideful attitude often get him in trouble. Johnny knows he is talented and smart, and he acts it. Everyone at the Laphams’ knows “that Johnny Tremain was boss of the attic, and almost the house” (Forbes 2-3). Johnny’s bossy treatment of the other apprentices draws the criticism of Mr. Lapham, who repeatedly corrects Johnny’s attitude. As well, Johnny’s constant insults provoke Dove’s hatred.
As well as his bad traits, though, Johnny is reliable, loyal and caring. Every morning, Johnny is the one that urges Dove and Dusty out of bed – he is the first one of the apprentices dressed and ready for work, and the first one at the shop each day. Another trait that proves Johnny is a dynamic and round character is loyalty – although Paul Revere offers him a position in his shop, Johnny stays with the Laphams, кecognizing that they need him to provide for the family due to Mr. Lapham’s failing health and Dove and Dusty’s inability. Johnny is also caring. There are several displays of this soft characteristic in Johnny’s hard personality – one would be when Johnny carried Cilla’s sick sister down the wharf to get some fresh air in the middle of the night – although tired, Johnny did so anyway out of pure love for the girls.
Johnny’s life drastically changes due to a crippling accident. Johnny is working on a sugar basin in the workshop. As the time to cast it nears, Johnny orders Dove to pass him a crucible. As revenge for Johnny’s dictatorial behavior that day, Dove hands Johnny a cracked one. The fire’s heat makes the crucible collapse, and Johnny lunges towards the scalding silver. He slips, and his hand comes down on top of the silver. Johnny’s hand will never be the same.
After the burn, Johnny lies in the dark for days, depressed and numb. One glance at his crippled hand is enough to know that his life as a silversmith is over. Life continues, though, and soon Johnny must start looking for new work. However, Johnny вoes not want to find a job and accept his old life as over. He diminishes his chance for work by being rude and arrogant. At the Laphams’, Dusty and Dove make fun of him and Mrs. Lapham throws insults at him. She is convinced Johnny has become a criminal. Although Johnny has done nothing dishonest, “If pushed a little further, he might have taken to crime” (Forbes 116). Johnny has never felt more worthless.
Life eventually brings Johnny to the Observer, where Johnny becomes a horse boy. Johnny’s new life is very different from his old one at the Lapham’s. Mrs. Lorne never ask him to do chores, and he has most of the week to himself – he only delivers papers Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Johnny spends the rest of the week riding express for the Afric Queen, devouring novels in the library, and spending time with Rab.
Rab is Johnny’s role model, and he influences Johnny in countless ways. One thing Rab teaches Johnny is to think before he speaks instead of immediately becoming heated. Johnny realizes that this works to his advantage when a servant accidentally douses him in water. By holding his tongue, he gets some apple pie and meets Sam Adams.
Another change that comes over Johnny is to do with politics. “…he changed from knowing little enough about the political excitement, and caring less, to being an ardent Whig.” (Forbes 109). Johnny becomes politically informed by reading the Observer, listening to the leaders of the revolution, and living with the Lornes.
Johnny experiences a wake-up when he realizes what a beautiful young lady Cilla has become. Johnny realizes that he is now a young man as well, and it is time for him to go courting young ladies. Even so, Johnny never thought that the person who would make his spine tingle would be Cilla, the gawky girl of his childhood.
Throughout Johnny’s entire time at the Observer, the revolution grows in strength and size. Johnny quickly becomes a part of the revolution, taking part in the Boston Tea Party and being a messenger and spy. As the war draws nearer, Johnny’s roles become bigger. At the beginning of Johnny’s life at the Observer, Johnny’s involvement in the revolution is being there for the Observer meetings and running small errands when needed. By the end of the book, right after the war has started, Johnny puts his life at risk without a second thought to relay messages to Dr. Warren. The roles Johnny plays in the war help him realize that he is a part of something much bigger than himself, and that nothing revolves around his comfort and happiness.
Throughout the entire book, Johnny undergoes many changes to his personality. Some are due to the war, others simply due to meeting the right people. Even when faced with the prospect of a restored hand, Johnny thinks only of being able to fire a gun for his country instead of his own personal gains – Johnny is no longer the selfish, arrogant, naive and temperamental young boy he once was. He is a patriotic, selfless, and mature young man. I believe that Johnny is a truly dynamic, round character who we can learn valuable lessons from.
- Forbes, Esther. Johnny Tremain: Harcourt Publishing Company, 1943.
- Johnny Tremain. SparkNotes, https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/johnnytremain/character/johnny-tremain/#targetText=When%20we%20first%20meet%20Johnny,talented%20young%20silversmith%20in%20Boston.
Military Uniforms of the British and Colonists’ Armies During the Revolutionary War
Johnny Tremain Project
My project is about the military uniforms of the British and colonists’ armies during the revolutionary war. First, I’ll explain the organization of the armies before the war, and I’ll also take an in-depth look at the different uniforms for each of the armed forces.
Throughout the novel, British soldiers are stationed in Boston. As the story progresses and the conflict escalates, even more troops are sent in. The British are commonly referred to as the “Red Lobsters” because of their red uniforms. In Boston itself, there are also many different ranks of soldiers, such as Generals, Majors, Colonels and Lieutenants. Although, in the book, the uniforms themselves are not described very much, each type of soldier had his own special uniform.
The colonists, at first did not have any uniform of their own, as they were rather unorganized and weren’t really an army. Eventually, they did get uniforms and became a real fighting force, thanks to the help of other countries, such as France.
The British were a strong army with over 48,000 men fighting all over the world at the outbreak of the war, though only 8,000 were in North America at that time. The British had to hire mercenaries to suppress uprisings in North America, as they could not afford to use their own troops. They only added one regiment to the force in North America before October 1777, when they suffered a large defeat at the hands of the colonists. They then changed the laws of recruitment so that they could conscript more men. By the end of the war, they had an army of 110,000 of whom 56,000 were in America, seven times the number they had on duty at the beginning of the war.
The foot soldiers or infantry formed the main line of attack. There were two kinds of infantrymen, the grenadiers and the light infantry. The grenadiers were the stronger and taller of the two, for their original purpose had been to throw grenades at the enemy. The light infantry were smaller and supposed to be better marksmen then the grenadiers, able to outflank the enemy.
During the War of Independence, the infantry were dressed according to regulations adopted by the British army in 1768, which made certain changes inspired by the Prussian army. The coat became shorter and tighter, and the waistcoat and breeches, formerly blue or red became white or beige. The cloth hats of the grenadiers became fur hats, believed to have based on those of the French grenadiers captured at a battle that took place during the Seven Years’ War in 1762.
All soldiers wore black hats, red coats, white or buff waistcoats and breeches, stockings, black knee-high gaiters and shoes. Each of the various regiments had different coloured cuffs, collars and lapels to differentiate themselves from each other.
The main difference between the two types of infantry were their hats. The grenadiers had a tall fur hat, while the light infantry had a small, low hat that was similar to what the other soldiers wore. The grenadiers also had a metal crest on their hats with the King’s crest and the motto nec aspera terrent, which means ‘Difficulties be dammed’.1
Apart from a few things, the grenadier and infantry uniforms are basically the same. Both carry a musket with a bayonet and wear a knapsack on their back. The infantryman (illustration a.) has yellow cuffs, collar and lapel to show that he is part of the 9th Regiment of Foot, while the grenadier (illustration c.) has no specific colour on his outfit. As mentioned before, the infantryman and grenadier have very different hats.
Only two dragoon, or cavalry regiments were sent to North America for the war, the 16th and 17th Light Dragoons. The dragoons (illustration c.) wore special helmets, red coats, white waistcoat and breeches and black boots. This dragoon officer, belonging to the 17th Regiment, has white facings on his coat, while members of the 16th had blue facings. He also carries a sword, like all officers.
The Colonists’ Army:
Before the war, the forces available to defend the colonies were divided into three categories. First was the militia, which, apart from a few groups consisted entirely of white males. These men met at irregular times for training, and as the conflict between the British and the colonists escalated, ‘Minutemen’ companies were formed. Second were the state regiments that were recruited from the militia when major campaigns were undertaken. The size and duration of these operations varied, but the normal obligation was for one year. The third group were the Volunteer Companies which were raised every once in a while in the more populated areas from the richer members of the militia. This militia drilled more often than the normal militia and also had a uniform.
The men in the militia were the first to fight the British, in the battles of Lexington and Concord. These ‘Minutemen’ were able to ready themselves in a very short time and proved valuable at the beginning of the war. As mentioned before, they were rather unorganized, meeting to train intermittently. Since they were almost all farmers, they had little or no training and did not have any uniforms.
The militiaman in illustration d. is dressed in civilian clothes. He is wearing a hunting shirt, which was the preferred campaigning dress. Even George Washington recommended it, because it was practical and could be worn in the winter or summer. This militiaman is carrying his own gun, a powder horn, a bullet bag and a heavy fowling piece. He also has a knapsack across his shoulder, probably containing his few possessions.
The First Uniforms:
The first military uniforms were adopted by Congress in November 1775. These uniforms had brown as their primary colour, with the various regiments being distinguished by coloured cuffs, collars and lapels. But in 1775, they could not produce many things and there were shortages of clothing, blankets and woolen and cotton goods. As a result, Congress was unable to clothe the army in these new uniforms.
In September 1778, 20,000 uniforms in blue and brown faced with red were received from France and were able to clothe Washington’s army during the winter of 1778-9. Early the next year, he suggested a new plan for the uniforms in which each state would have a different colour. He also suggested that the soldiers should wear overalls instead of breeches, wool in the winter and linen in the summer.
In May, the Board of War countered with another plan. They proposed that all soldiers except for the wagoners were to wear dark blue, with white linings and buttons and white waistcoats and breeches. The final plan approved by Washington created four infantry groups, each with a different facing colour. Therefore New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut had white facings and buttons. New York and New Jersey had buff facings, waistcoats and breeches and yellow hat, lace and buttons. Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia had red facings and white buttons. Finally, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia had blue facings with white laced buttonholes and buttons.
The infantryman pictured here (illustration e.) is part of the North Carolina Regiments, so therefore, he has blue facings and white buttonholes and buttons. He is carrying a knapsack on his back, but in this picture, he does not have a musket.
Under the uniform scheme adopted in 1779, the dragoons, or cavalry had blue uniforms faced in white. This dragoon officer (illustration f.) is wearing a special helmet, similar to the one that the British wear. In addition, he carries a sword, as do all officers.
While I was writing this project, I discovered something interesting. What I discovered was that even though all the uniforms in the British army looked very similar, there were actually many small differences. In Johnny Tremain, the author refers to all the British as being the same “Red Ants” or “Red Lobsters”, but in fact, they were many small differences in their uniforms; both with regard to the type of soldier and the rank. For example, only officers carried swords, to show that they were more powerful. In addition, only relatively high-ranking officers wore epaulettes on their shoulders. Although these differences were small, they were very important.
Serious Changes of Jonathan Lyte Tremain in the Novel
In the novel Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes, Jonathan Lyte Tremain undergoes some very serious changes. It is this reader’s impression that as Johnny grew up in Boston, Massachusetts in these Pre- Revolutionary War times, he matured much since the time hat he left the Lapham household, until the end of this novel. Some examples of his maturity were:
- When he learned to control his temper.
- When he learned to treat people (especially Cillwith respect.
- When he helped his country in the war against England.
The first example of Johnny’s maturity was when he learned to calm down and hold his temper. He did this by counting to ten every time something angered him. An example of this, is on pages 109+110 when Sam Adams’s housekeeper Sukey throws her dishwater out of her door without looking. She hit Johnny with the dish water when he was riding past. Instead of yelling at her and telling her what h thought of the matter, he counted to ten and found that it had worked. Sukey cleaned him off and gave him a piece of pie. Johnny also was lucky enough to meet Sam Adams while he was sitting in his kitchen. Johnny quickly gathered that patience definitely had its rewards.
the next way that Johnny had matured in this novel was the way he learned to treat others with respect. This mainly applied to Cilla and Isannah. When he was young, he used to insult and tease the two sisters. But after having been away from them for so long, he realized just how much he needed them as friends, or enemies. Johnny used to call Cilla a skinny, pale faced child, but now he though of her as young, and beautiful. He began to like Cilla. He made a promise to them. Every Thursday and Sunday, while delivering his newspapers, he would meet them at the water pump, just to say hi and to talk. They would meet at the water pump because Mrs. Lapham had sold Cilla And Isannah to the Lytes and they were sent there to fetch the drinking water. Unfortunately for all three of them, Johnny could not keep his promise of meeting the two girls at the water pump. His work was very demanding.
Finally, he matured by standing up for his country as they fought the Revolutionary War. While doing this act, Johnny did many other things. One thing that he did was to deliver messages for the British soldiers quartered in Boston, Massachusetts. This all came about when Johnny was hanging around the Afric Queen. The British were looking for someone to deliver their messages who had a fast horse. Having seen Johnny’s horse Goblin ride before, they decided that Johnny would be a good courier. Because they were not aware of the fact that Johnny was a Whig, Johnny was really putting his life in serious jeopardy. Johnny deepened his danger even more when he overcharged the British officers for the job well done. Johnny also went to the edge when he got a musket for Rab. To do this, he had to plan carefully. First, he had to find a soldier who was willing to give up his musket. He found just that in Pumpkin. Pumpkin as a soldier who wanted to get away from the army life. He did not want to die on the battlefield. So, he made a deal with Johnny. Pumpkin was to leave his musket and army attire at a designated location. Johnny was to leave a smock and a straw hat with fake black hair attached to it in that same place. Then, they would exchange. So he would not be caught bearing a musket illegally, Johnny disguised himself in Pumpkin’s army uniform and went back home. when he got home, he gave Rab the musket. Johnny also put himself on the verge of death when the war had began. Rab had gone to fight in the war, and Johnny felt that he may be in trouble or even dead! Once more disguising himself in Pumpkin’s uniform, he went on a mission to find Rab. When he finally found Rab, he was dying from excessive blood loss. Nevertheless, Johnny had acted when he needed to and had succeeded at heart.
In conclusion, It is my opinion that Jonathan Lyte Tremain matured greatly over the coarse of his novel. He learned many valuable lessons in this story that can be used to infinite rewards. That is why this reader believes that Johnny Tremain has matured in this book.
My Impressions from Danger.com Book
Title of Book: Danger.com;@2//Firestorm/ Author: Jordan Cray Pages Read:1-60 Summary This book is about an kid, whos name is Randle, who is somewhat catorgized as a nerd, geek weirdo etc.
He gets a laptop from his dad and always goes online and chats. One day, he sings on and his computer goes on a rampage and automatically takes him to a chat room full of weird people all kind about community affairs. He stayed longer and figured out that they had some kind of secret code. He stayed longer and noticed that one of the members in the room was dominating and mentioned Thai die today, Saris tomorrow. The next morning, Randle read the newspaper and a big headline caught his attention. He read on and found that an Thai center at Knoxville had been bombed. The next day he read in the papers hat an town was bombed. the town was mostly populated
by seeks. Randle then remembered the sentence that one of the members in the chat had mentioned. he tan put figures together and found this out. Thai die today, Saris tomorrow meant Thai people die today, and Saris(seeks) tomorrow. Randle kept on going to the chat room and found out some how that the code that they were using had to do with the book, Johnny Tremain. He found out the secret code in the books and began to investigate. He investigations all lead to one punchline, they were a part of an assassination group. He bought this situation to the right authority and they made a joke of it and said that they were just pulling his chain. He ran away and decided to phone the FBI and they to said that it was a ridiculous as the grim reaper. Randle had no choice but to handle the business by himself. He decided to investigate in the situation more further and so he did. he traced the people in the chat room to a few kids in his school. One of them was a girl, named Maya, who was a computer genius and the other was a no-life, Named Josh, who had no friends. The next day at school it was time to go to drivers ed. class. Him , the teacher, Maya and Josh was the victims of the crash course.
At the end of the class, Maya was pissed off at josh for he was the first to drive. Randle saw that Josh was following Maya and decided to follow him. He followed him to an house where Maya had stopped to talk to this girl and then went inside. Randle then saw that Josh jumped out from the bushes he was hiding in and ran up to the door step and laid a bag down and then broke out and left. Maya came out and was about to pick the bag up, and at that moment, Randle screamed out and ran up to her and grabbed the bag and threw it in the air. After doing this he noticed that in the bag, was just cookies and jello. At this moment he was felling very embarrassed. Reader Response
I began to think that Radle was going nuts when he started to think that the group was a part of an assassination. Until later on in the story I realized that his predictions were true and that he was not stupid. The facts that he uncovered proved he was not stupid and proved me wrong. As the story went on he begin to uncover more clues that lead him to think the group at school was a part of the conspiracy. I admit, I did think they were.
>From what I read in the story, I think that the group should be investigated. When Josh had put an back on the steps where Maya was staying, I also had thought it was an bomb. I cant wait to find out what will happen in the rest of the story. The only way to find out is to keep on reading and that is what I will be doing.