Forbes uses the action of the beginning of the Revolutionary War to create suspense.
The last few chapters of the book involve important events in Johnny’s life and in the life of the new country. Johnny is working on getting his hand repaired, and on deciding how he will be involved in the war. The revolutionaries are trying to get the war off the ground, and it is becoming more and more imminent. Violence has started, and the stakes are much higher.
For Johnny, the death of his friend Rab makes the war real, and causes Johnny to need to grow up. He can no longer look at the war as harmless fun. War is really happening, and very serious.
When Dr. Warren offers again to fix Johnny’s hand, he has an interesting response.
“Will it be good enough to hold this gun?”
“I think I can promise you that.”
“The silver can wait. When can you, Dr. Warren? I’ve got the courage.” (ch 12, p. 298)
Johnny will participate in the war in his own way, but he is convinced that he has the courage to move beyond his hurt, grow up, and do what he can for his country.