Discussion Topic

The trade and agreement between Johnny Tremain and Pumpkin


In Johnny Tremain, Johnny and Pumpkin make a trade where Johnny gives Pumpkin a farmer's outfit and helps him desert the British army. In return, Pumpkin provides Johnny with a musket for the colonial militia. This exchange highlights the growing tension and differing loyalties during the Revolutionary War.

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Describe the trade between Pumpkin and Johnny in Johnny Tremain.

Johnny gets Pumpkin the items he needs to attempt an escape from the British Army. In return, Pumpkin gives Johnny his musket.

Pumpkin, who is a private in the British Army, has little heart for fighting the Americans. All he wants out of life is to have a little land of his own and to be a farmer. Pumpkin tells Johnny that, although if it comes to fighting, they will "fight like hell," in reality a lot of the British regulars sympathize with the rebels. There has been a huge problem with desertions in the British Army, and Pumpkin himself plans to make his own escape,

When (he can get him) a smock such as farmers wear. When (he can get him) an old hat with black hair sewed in it, hanging down...when (he can get) a farmer who'll swear (he's) his hired man and can take (him) out past (the) guard on the Neck.

Johnny tells Pumpkin that he can get all those things for him, and that in exchange, he wants the young British soldier's musket. An agreement is made whereby Johnny will secure the items Pumpkin has requested and hide them in the hay in the Lyte's barn, as well as arrange for a Lexington farmer to smuggle him out. Pumpkin will leave the musket hidden in the hay when he picks up the smock, hat, and wig, and meet the farmer on Thursday when he comes in for market.

The trade goes as planned, but Pumpkin does not appear at the appointed time to make his escape with the Lexington farmer. Johnny worries about him for awhile, then concluded that he must have gotten away by some other means. Sometime later, Johnny learns that Pumpkin has been captured, and witnesses his execution at the hands of a British firing squad (Chapter 9).

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What deal do Johnny Tremain and Pumpkin make, and why do they agree to it?

Johnny Tremain tells Pumpkin that he will get him a smock like farmers wear and a hat with dark hair sewed into it to obscure his face. Johnny says he will bring Pumpkin the clothes he needs and stash them underneath some hay in the barn. Cilla will inform Pumpkin where the clothes are hidden, and Johnny will also have a Lexington farmer take Pumpkin past the army's guard under the guise that Pumpkin is his hired man. Johnny does this in return for Pumpkin's musket. Johnny asks Pumpkin to hide the musket where Johnny hides the clothes. Pumpkin makes this agreement so he can try to escape from the army, and Johnny makes this agreement so he can give Rab a well-functioning musket to use while drilling in Lexington.

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