Johnny Tremain Study Guide

Johnny Tremain By Esther Forbes

Johnny Tremain is apprenticed to the master silversmith Ephraim Lapham. His fellow apprentice, Dove, decides to prank Johnny, but the prank goes horribly wrong and Johnny's thumb fuses to his palm after being exposed to molten silver. Johnny is forced to give up his apprenticeship, no longer able to do the delicate work. The townspeople of Boston react with a range of attitudes from extreme kindness to intolerable cruelty, and Johnny has trouble deciding how to react.

He plummets into a deep depression, but is finally rescued from its blackness by the Lornes, a kindly family that owns a hand-operated printing press. They do printing jobs on contract, and also publish a regular newspaper, the Boston Observer. He meets Rab Silsbee, who is slightly older than Johnny, and shows it well.

Rab becomes Johnny's best friend and role model, helping Johnny to mature. He introduces Johnny to politics, including Boston's unique political scene just prior to the American Revolution.

Tremain joins the household, works at the print shop, and starts making money delivering newspapers to the people of Boston. His position provides him a very unique position from which to observe the events of the American Revolution. As those events unwind, Johnny meets, assists, and befriends several prominent figures from American history, including Paul Revere, John Hancock, Joseph Warren, and Samuel Adams. He is transformed from an apathetic political bystander into a dedicated Whig.

Finally, war breaks out, and Rab is shot and killed. Johnny is furious, and vows to continue his struggle. Doctor Warren examines his hand, and discovers that only scar tissue connects the thumb to the palm. He cannot assure that Johnny will ever be a silversmith again, but Johnny will certainly be able to use the musket that Rab gave him before he died.

Questions for Johnny Tremain Study Guide

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For what purpouse do johnny and rab build relationsships whith dove and residents of the Afric Queen?

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What evidence can you find that in the chapter that suggests that johnny's accident has not completely succeeded in curing him of his pride?

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What does the location of the Lapham house tell you about the family's social standing in Boston society?

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