Study Guide

Johnny Tremain Friendship

By Esther Forbes

Friendship

This makes us want to sing "You've Got a Friend in Me" like we're Buzz Lightyear and Woody the Cowboy. Don't worry, we won't. Friendship isn't one of the more in-your-face themes in Johnny Tremain, but it's always there, running constantly underneath the surface, so constant that we take it for granted, a bit like a certain silvermith's-apprentice-turned-newspaper-delivery-boy (cough, cough) takes Cilla for granted. Johnny's interactions with his friends tell us a lot about his character and do a lot to form his character. For example, while he is capable of having strong feelings for people, especially Cilla and Rab, he has a really hard time expressing those feelings. It's not always easy to be Johnny's friend.

Questions About Friendship

  1. If you had to choose which character is Johnny's best friend, who would you pick and why?
  2. How do Johnny's relationships with his friends shape his character?
  3. Could any adult characters be described as Johnny's friends, or are all his friends close to his own age?
  4. What is the relationship between friends and family in the novel? Could any of Johnny's biological relatives be described as friends? Could any of his friends be described as family?

Chew on This

While Johnny sometimes has trouble making friends, he is a good friend to have.

Johnny's tendency to pick fights with his friends is a coping mechanism he uses when he's uncomfortable with the emotions he's feeling.