Book Notes Chapter 2, The Pride of Your Power Notes from Johnny Tremain

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Johnny Tremain Chapter 2, The Pride of Your Power

The ensuing week, Johnny makes sure Mr. Lapham is on course to finish the sugar basin. Mr. Lapham shows the skills of his former years. Johnny, however, is not satisfied with his own work on the handle, although everyone else says it is fine. Friday evening after work, Johnny goes the silver shop of Paul Revere (unlike the Laphams, Paul Revere is well off that he does not live and work at his shop). Johnny asks Paul Revere about the shaping of the handle because he considers Paul Revere to be the best silversmith in Boston. Paul Revere offers Johnny some advice on fixing the handle. Impressed with the boy's abilities, Paul Revere inquires about buying Johnny's time (years of apprenticeship) from Mr. Lapham. Johnny is flattered, but he tells Mr. Revere that the Lapham family would not be able to survive without him.

Topic Tracking: Identity 2

On Saturday, Johnny gets the mold of the handle just right. Paul Revere's suggestion proves to be helpful. Johnny determines that he must cast and solder the handle before Sunday because the law forbids any work to be done on that day; everyone goes to church. Johnny yells for Dove to get charcoal. After a while, Dove brings back charcoal of low quality. Johnny hurls insults at the hapless Dove. This causes Mr. Lapham to scold Johnny about his pride again. To teach Johnny a lesson, Mr. Lapham stops work for the day, showing no concern that the sugar basin might not be delivered to Mr. Hancock on time. When a distraught Johnny tells Mrs. Lapham, she is so worried they would lose Mr. Hancock's patronage that she arranges for Johnny to secretly work on the Sabbath, or Sunday, even though it is against the law.

On Sunday, after the morning church service and while Mr. Lapham is away at the afternoon service, Johnny gets to work on finishing the sugar basin. As a way of getting back at Johnny, Dove hands him a cracked crucible. When Johnny pours the silver for casting, the crucible cracks and the silver leaks onto the furnace. Johnny loses his footing and his right hand falls into the melted silver. Because they are breaking the Sabbath law, Mrs. Lapham does not call a doctor, lest they be punished. Instead, she asks Cilla to fetch the midwife, Gran' Hopper.

Johnny is placed in the birth and death room, a little storage area used at certain times to treat sickness. After days of drugs and treatment, Johnny must deal with the fact that his thumb had grown into his palm. Mrs. Lapham expresses what everyone is thinking--Johnny is ruined as a silversmith. Pained at such thoughts, Johnny goes off by himself. When he returns, he notices that Mrs. Lapham and the girls have been talking about him. He enters the shop and sees Dove on his bench. It is the first time he has stepped into the shop in a month. When he criticizes Dove for not holding the crimping iron right, Dove mockingly asks Johnny to show him how. Feeling defeated, Johnny walks out to the wharf. He catches a sight of Mr. John Hancock, whose sugar basin was never completed (Mr. Lapham found out what happened and melted the whole thing down without explaining it to Mr. Hancock). Johnny walks along Hancock's Wharf and sees the other apprentice boys at their work. It looks as though they pity him. He feels like an outcast. At the end of the wharf, Johnny goes for a swim, eager to forget about his crippled hand.

Johnny is allowed to live in the birth and death room, away from the other boys. With his bad hand, Johnny has to resort to doing menial chores for the other boys, who are now more valuable. Mrs. Lapham treats Johnny like she did the other boys before. One day, Mr. Lapham tells Johnny that he cannot honor the contract he made with Johnny's mother, to teach her boy the silversmith's craft. But Mr. Lapham offers Johnny the choice to remain, provided he finds another trade. Mr. Lapham also asks Johnny to forgive Dove for handing him a broken crucible. Johnny had not known that Dove had done it on purpose. To Mr. Lapham's dismay, Johnny threatens to get back at Dove, no matter how long it takes. After thanking his master for his kindness, Johnny goes off and sees Dove and Dusty working. The two boys take pleasure in ordering Johnny around. Johnny goes to do his chores without saying a word, while the boys continue to mock him saying, "Look sharp, Johnny" (pg. 42).

Topic Tracking: Pride 3

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