Study Guide

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party Part 3, Chapter 20

By M.T. Anderson

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Part 3, Chapter 20

  • Goring writes a letter, dated June 17, 1775, from Cambridge, to his mother and sister:
  • The company is on the move.
  • They don't know their destination or purpose, but they've fallen in line with a bunch of wagons carrying empty barrels.
  • Those barrels make him think how much it would stink to die for empty barrels, since the dead—without their souls—are a lot like empty barrels.
  • They're led to Cobble Hill, and then to Charlestown Mill Pond, where they fill the barrels with water and bring the barrels back to the hill.
  • This is all done at night; he can see men everywhere working to build things—they're fortifying the Hill in one night, and it's a crazy amount of work.
  • In the middle of all this work, he sees Octavian in the middle of digging.
  • He doesn't call out to him though, because he notices how silent everyone is and how there's a white man with a cane overseeing Octavian and his group.
  • The next morning, men start taking up arms, ready to defend the fort they've just built.
  • Goring's company is in charge of bringing water to everyone.
  • Then dawn comes and everyone just stops because their fort is open for anyone to see.
  • As the sun rises, they see people scurrying around on the ships, crying out because they've just seen the militiamen on Bunker Hill.
  • The militia are all ready: company after company, made up of regular villagers, looking down at the Bay, ready to defend their homeland.
  • The Brits start firing cannons at them.
  • Goring tells Shun that there will never be another morning like this one.
  • The Adjutant tells his company—which controls the provisions—to fall back to Cambridge, and as Goring's company returns, he can hear the fighting starting up.
  • While on the road, he also sees Octavian in his new group.
  • Octavian holds up his hands, which are blistered and bloody, and—for the first time—he smiles at Goring.
  • That's because he's finally found his cause.
  • Goring holds his hand out to Octavian, but Octavian's Corporal orders him back in line.
  • Goring's now back at camp and only hears confusing reports of how the Redcoats are in Charlestown and trying to storm the Hill.
  • Goring then ends the letter with a Biblical line asking the Lord to help guide them to establish their work through their hands.

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party Part 3, Chapter 20 Study Group

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