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Johnny Tremain Themes, Motifs, and Symbols

Johnny Tremain Themes, Motifs, and Symbols
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Johnny Tremain Themes, Motifs, and Symbols in book

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  • FREEDOM IS WORTH FIGHTING FOR
  • For what do we fight? Only that a man can stand up.
  • PRIDE GOES BEFORE A FALL
  • WAR MAKES BOYS INTO MEN
  • Johnny Tremain focuses on the lead-up to the Revolutionary War and the reasons the colonists fought. As James Otis argues, the characters (both historical and fictional) are willing to fight and die for the freedom and equality of future generations.
  • At the beginning of the book, pride is Johnny's greatest flaw. Mr. Lapham warns him against it, but Johnny doesn't listen and "falls" as a result. His desire to prove that he can create the perfect sugar basin leads to his burn and ruins his hopes of being a master silversmith.
  • When Rab leaves for the militia, he seems like a man, leaning down to kiss Aunt Lorne and Rabbit goodbye. Johnny feels like a sulky child left behind. By the Battles of Lexington and Concord, Johnny has grown up enough to accept death and consider joining the army.
  • JOHNNY'S CUP
  • Let there be Lyte
  • JOHNNY TREMAIN THEMES, MOTIFS, AND SYMBOLS
  • THE COLOR RED
  • Johnny's Lyte family cup symbolizes the British aristocracy (upper class). Early on, Johnny is obsessed with the Lytes (especially Lavinia) but he only becomes happy and successful once he loses his cup and moves on. This embodies the Revolutionary belief that success in life should be based on what you do, not what you are born.
  • The color red is symbolic of the British troops that invade Boston. These troops increase the tension between the British government and the colonists. As a result, the color red is usually negative - a reminder of blood, death, and the enemy.
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