Student Question

How do Rab and Grandsire Silsbee symbolize admirable American characteristics?

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In the book Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes, Rab and Grandsire Silsbee represent admirable American characters during this time period.

Beginning with Rab, this character demonstrates several different positive American attributes. For example, Rab is a patriot who is willing to sacrifice his life for his country. Furthermore, he works diligently and demonstrates compassion for others, such as Johnny. All of these characteristics express admirable traits of American individuals during this time. As the text reveals:

“And some of us would die––so other men can stand up on their feet like men. A great many are going to die for that. They have in the past. They will a hundred years from now––two hundred. God grant there will always be men good enough. Men like Rab.”

Furthermore, Grandsire Silsbee also portrays commendable American characteristics. Although Grandsire Silsbee’s character is not as noted as Rab’s character, Grandsire illustrates positive traits as well. For example, he exemplifies patriotism through his dedication to his country and his soldiers. Regardless of his personal sufferings, Grandsire continues serving his country. As the text demonstrates:

“But he knew the old Major [Grandsire] wouldn’t stop. He had to get his men on to Cambridge and the siege of Boston.”

Consequently, both of these characters are utilized throughout the story. Although Grandsire is not as noted, both of these characters represent admirable American individuals.

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