What is the irony of James Otis attending the last meeting of the Observer in Chapter 8 of Johnny Tremain?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The irony of James Otis attending the last meeting of the Observer in Chapter 8 is that the leaders of the budding revolution had not wanted him to come, but he showed up anyway.  Once there, Otis amazed the group with his great oratorical skills, clarifying their mission and reminding them of some very important points.

James Otis had suffered a blow on the head in the course of his early revolutionary activities, and the injury had had lasting repercussions.  The other members of the group, especially Sam Adams, began to believe that Otis had lost his wits, and when they were making arrangements for the final meeting of the Observer, they were careful to leave him out of the loop.  Otis somehow learned of the plans anyway, and showed up at the meeting place uninvited.  His mental instability was characterized by periods of extreme lucidity, and he was at his best at the time of the meeting.  Otis took the opportunity to expound upon their mission, emphasizing that if they succeeded, their victory would benefit all, throughout the world, who struggled for freedom.  Except for perhaps Sam Adams, the men are spellbound by his words, and carry on the jist of his exortation, that they are fighting simply so "that a man can stand up", as a rallying cry as they head out to fulfill their objective (Chapter 8).

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Johnny Tremain

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