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cow that lowed, the man who milked, the chickens that came running
and the woman who called them, the fragrance streaming from the
plowed land and the plowman. These he possessed. . . . The wood
smoke rising from the home-hearths rose from his heart.
This passage from Chapter XII describes
how Johnny develops his sense of self and his sense of country simultaneously.
In the aftermath of the first battle of the Revolutionary War, Johnny
looks around at his countrymen, who are optimistically preparing
themselves for war. He finally realizes who he is and what identity
he has been seeking—he is an American. He is a patriot, a soldier,
an idealistic believer, and he believes in the equal rights of man.
Until this moment, Johnny has modeled himself on Rab and has tried
to comport himself based on Rab’s beliefs and behavior. But now
Rab is dead, and Johnny realizes that he is an independent person
and more than just Rab’s follower. He has developed into someone
who feels strongly about a cause. Without Rab, he must now govern
his own actions based on his own ideology. Likewise, Johnny realizes how
important it is for America to fight for its own right to govern itself,
and he is ready to fight for this goal.
Ace your assignments with our guide to Johnny Tremain!