Student Question

How and why does Lieutenant Stranger treat Johnny differently?

Expert Answers

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Lieutenant Stranger treats Johnny as a friend.

The Lieutenant is above all a good and decent person, a quality which Johnny recognizes immediately.  Capable of laughing at himself and appreciating spirit in another, Stranger responds with grudging respect when Johnny spooks Goblin with the Lieutenant astride to keep the horse out of the British Army.  The Lieutenant has a tremendous passion for horses, and sees Johnny first and foremost not as an enemy, but as an individual with whom he can share this interest - "once both were in their saddles they were equals" (Chapter IX, Part 2).  Although as a member of the occupying army Lieutenant Stranger can commandeer Goblin, he does not.  Instead, he works with Johnny to teach the horse to jump hurdles on the Common.

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