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Johnny Tremain

Johnny Tremain

by Esther Forbes

Johnny Tremain Chapter 2 Summary

The Pride of Your Power

  • Johnny is working on Mr. Hancock's sugar basin, but he's reached the end—he can't believe it either—of his own skill. Because Mr. Lapham isn't paying attention to much of anything but his naps and his Bible, Johnny takes his work to another silversmith for advice. Second Founding Father Alert: it's Paul Revere. Yes, that Paul Revere.
  • Revere shows Johnny how to fix his silver problems and tells him he'll buy out the rest of his apprenticeship from Mr. Lapham. Hey, Revere ain't afraid to poach a good silversmith. Johnny tells him the Laphams would starve without him, though, so loyalty points go to Johnny.
  • It's Saturday by the time Johnny gets his design right, and he has to get that sugar basin done today because tomorrow is Sunday and the basin is due on Monday. Colonial Boston, and more importantly, Mr. Lapham, do not mess around with Sabbath breaking. There are some pretty hefty fines, in addition to the threat of a fiery afterlife.
  • Dove does anything he can to inhibit Johnny's work, like a jerk.
  • Then Mr. Lapham decides he's going to revive a household habit of starting the Sabbath at sundown on Saturday. He gives Johnny another lecture about pride, while Johnny is like, "Dude, are you running a business here or what?"
  • Mrs. Lapham is a bit more practical, and she decides they're going to get Grandpa Lapham out of the way and engage in some good old-fashioned Sabbath breaking.
  • On Sunday afternoon, everyone in the house is engaged in helping Johnny get that sugar basin made, especially our old friend Dove who sees a chance to get back at Johnny. He gives him a cracked crucible. A crucible—aside from being a play by Arthur Miller—is a vessel used to melt silver, and if it's damaged, the heat will break it.
  • Frankly, this next part hurts to read. Molten silver spills everywhere. Johnny's hand comes down on it. Singe. Yee—oww.
  • Guess why they can't call a doctor? It's Sunday. Johnny is Sabbath breaking, and the rest of them are aiding and abetting. If they call a doctor, they'll definitely get caught, so they call the midwife instead.
  • Johnny spends the next few days in a pain, infection, and laudanum-induced haze.
  • When they finally take the bandages off, Johnny's thumb is attached to his palm. Goodbye, silversmith career.
  • The part Johnny hates the most is the way the girls—except for Cilla—scream and recoil from his hand; for several weeks, he wanders around Boston during the day feeling sorry for himself and being rude to everyone.
  • Finally, Mr. Lapham sits him down and tells him he'll have to look for a new trade and that he needs to forgive Dove. Oh—and that this is God's punishment for his pride. Way to be helpful, Grandpa Lapham. Also, this is the first Johnny knew of Dove's involvement, so yeah, he swears revenge.

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