What ideas would be most worthy of a literary discussion about Johnny Tremain? 

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hmassman eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Interesting question! In the book Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes, there are numerous components worthy of literary discussion. However, some of the more interesting components include the book’s point of view and foreshadowing.

Throughout the book, Johnny Tremain’s perspective illustrates the book's point of view. With this, the readers learn more about Johnny’s thoughts, feelings, and ambitions. However, there is also some questioning about Johnny’s opinion versus reality. For example, Johnny’s opinions occasionally change or he might not possess accurate information.  Specifically, his opinion about politics, people, and many other concepts alter throughout the book. As seen in the text, his point of view changes:

“He [Johnny] had never noticed before how beautiful was the stitching, and it hurt him to think he had been too proud to wear them, for now he was old enough to appreciate the love that had gone into their making.”

Additionally, Forbes also utilizes foreshadowing in the book. Foreshadowing allows the readers to speculate about future events and encourages the audience to continue reading.  In this book, foreshadowing is commonly utilized. For example, foreshadowing is used before Johnny’s hand is burnt, such as with the instruction he receives about “pride coming before a fall.” As Mr. Lapham illustrates:

“like I tried to point out to you. God is going to send you a dire punishment for your pride.”

This statement acts as a foreshadowing of the injury Johnny soon experiences with his hand.

Consequently, there are numerous options for literary discussion in the book. However, these choices illustrate some of the most noteworthy literary devices utilized and indicate how the text should be understood. Because of these features, readers should remember that the point of view might not represent reality (but rather Johnny’s perspective) and that several of the dialogues act as foreshadowing for future events.