George Washington's Socks

by Elvira Woodruff

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What are Israel Gates' character traits in George Washington's Socks?

Quick answer:

Character traits of Israel Gates include humility and loyalty. Israel Gates is a key figure in Matt's journey, serving as his mentor after he is separated from his friends.

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In George Washington's Socks, protagonist Matt meets Revolutionary soldier Israel Gates after he gets separated from his friends. Matt is initially impressed by Israel's humility; through his background story, Matt learns that not all Revolutionary soldiers are chasing glory. Some, like Israel, just want to do the right thing for their country.

Another of Israel's distinguishing characteristics is his capacity for mentorship; he shows Matt how to stay warm in the bitter winter and promises to always stay by his side. He also teaches him the important colonial skill of trading, walking Matt through a trade for his shoes.

Israel's mentorship demonstrates for Matt the importance of loyalty and friendship, especially during times of war. Once Israel becomes sick, Matt faces the difficult decision of whether to abandon his friend for the safety of the army or to stay by his side until his death. Due in large part to the loyalty that Israel showed him, Matt waits with the soldier so that he does not have to die alone. This decision is key to Matt's character development; later in the text, he reflects upon this moment and feels proud that he did the right thing.

In this context, Israel is a mentoring character who teaches Matt how to demonstrate humility and loyalty.

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