What prompted Johnny to confide in Rab? How did Rab and Mr. Hancock help Johnny?  What prompted Johnny's decision to visit Merchant Lyte?This is all in the book Johnny Tremain.

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marbar57 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The book, Johnny Tremain, is delightful piece of historical fiction!  It superbly portrays life in the 1700's and gives a vivid description of the events leading up to the Revolutionary War through the eyes of 16-year-old Johnny Tremain of Boston.

At the beginning of the story, Johnny Tremain is a silversmith's apprentice.  Money is tight and they need more silver orders.  Johnny, in an effort to help his employer, agrees to fill an order for a Mr. Jonathan Lyte, a Boston merchant.  It is the Sabbath and it's against the law to work on that day.  He is almost done, when the constable is heard making his rounds.  Johnny tries to finish up quickly and spills the liquid silver.  He accidentally puts his hand in it, burning it severely, and rendering himself handicapped and unable to work.  At the urging of his wife, his employer has to let Johnny go and he leaves, homeless and jobless.

He meets Rab, who works for John Hancock, a printer, and Rab takes him in to work for them.  Rab and Mr. Hancock belong to a secret society called "The Sons of Liberty", an organization that's bitterly opposed to the king's taxes and tyranny.  Johnny gains their confidence, is invited to their meetings, and starts delivering messages and papers to their members.  Eventually, he participates in the Boston Tea Party, and wishes to join in the fighting of the Revolutionary War.  But, his hand prevents him from using a gun and he's pursuaded that he can help the war effort better by staying home and helping The Sons of Liberty.

Johnny's full name is Jonathan Lyte Tremain, and his dying mother left him a silver vase which she told him was given to her by her father.  Because she married beneath her station when she married Johnny's father, she was driven out and denied her inheritance.  But she told him on her deathbed that Mr. Jonathan Lyte was his uncle and if he ever got into a situation that he needed help, he was to go to his uncle and show him the vase.  That's why he went to visit Mr. Lyte.

Much more happens in this book than can be told here, and it behooves anyone reading this post to obtain the book and read it for themselves!  It'll be time well spent!