Student Question

What are the settings in Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes?

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The setting for Esther Forbes's young adult novel Johnny Tremain is crucial to the story. The novel is set in Boston during the Revolutionary War. Many of the characters are well known figures from the war against England, including Sam Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere and others who were key figures in the Whig movement.

More specifically, the story is set in several places, including the Laphams' home, the courthouse, the Lyte's grand mansion, the print shop, as well as some small taverns in which Johnny regularly stops to deliver messages for the cause.

One of the most significant settings in the novel, of course, is Boston Harbor, the site of the Boston Tea Party and the place where Samuel Adams rallies his fellow Whigs to do the famous deed with the tea in the harbor.

“Friends! Brethren! Countrymen! That worst of Plagues, the detested tea shipped for this Port by the East India Company, is now arrived in the Harbour: the hour of destruction, of manly opposition to the machinations of Tyranny, stares you in the face.”

The other significant setting is not in the book for long, but it is the battlefield at Lexington, where the Revolutionary War has begun by the end of the novel. 

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