Johnny Tremain Chapter 3 Summary

Instructor: Shelley Vessels

Shelley has taught at the middle school level for 10 years and has a master's degree in teaching English.

In chapter 3, Johnny struggles to adjust after his injury. Life is moving on without him in the Laphams' household, he's not feeling welcome anywhere, and he can't get a fresh start with a new job. But at the end of the chapter, Johnny gets an idea!

A New Life for Johnny

In chapter 3 of Esther Forbes's Johnny Tremain, life is different for Johnny. He can't find work and everything he does is scrutinized; how much food he eats and how much time he spends in the house is watched closely. Just his presence makes Mrs. Lapham angry.

Because Johnny knows how unwelcome he is at the house, he tries to eat as little as possible and to stay away as much as he can. However, Cilla will secretly put food in his jacket pocket. Because of her kindness, Johnny dreams of the nice things that he can do for Cilla in the future.

A Stranger's Kindness

When looking for a new job, Johnny enters a printing press. Although he doesn't get hired, one of the workers, Rab, shares his lunch with Johnny. The two boys chat together, and for the first time since his accident, Johnny is treated just like everyone else.

A Meal with a New Friend
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A New Apprentice, Tweedie

Mrs. Lapham is working to bring a new apprentice, Tweedie, into the shop. Part of the hiring process for Mrs. Lapham is to make sure that any new apprentice is single and will be a potential suitor for one of her fatherless daughters.

There is something about Tweedie that Johnny does not trust. Johnny feels that Tweedie is too old to be an apprentice, and he questions why Tweedie won't sign his contract but will keep eating meals at the Laphams'. Johnny believes that Tweedie could even be a criminal. He complains about Tweedie to Mrs. Lapham for all to hear, and she is furious at these accusations. She slaps Johnny across the face and kicks him out.

Another Meeting with Mr. Hancock

After many failed attempts at getting a skilled labor job, Johnny decides that he would try working for merchants. If he is going to go this route, he is going to try to get a job with the best: Mr. Hancock. During his meeting, he passes the reading and arithmetic tests with ease, but when he is asked to write he fails miserably. His writing is the worst they have ever seen! When Johnny shows his hand to Mr. Hancock, he turns away in disgust and Johnny is told to leave immediately, even though he was injured working on a piece for Mr. Hancock.

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