Esther Forbes

  • Oct. 7th, 2010 at 10:43 PM
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I've several times spoken of my interest in how people felt and thought as being greater than in what they actually did; I suppose one of the most fundamental groupings of novelists is into two classes: those who primarily want to know what is done, and those whose interest is largely in why. For better or worse I belong to the second group. I was anxious to show young readers something of the excitement of human nature, never static, always changing, often unpredictable and endlessly fascinating.

From Chapter Eight of Johnny Tremain

  • Aug. 31st, 2010 at 10:54 PM
beth_shulman: (black and white tree scene)
     ..."Sammy," he said to Sam Adams, "my coming interrupted something you were saying…'we will fight'. You had got that far."
     "Why, yes. That's no secret."
     "For what will we fight?"
     "To free Boston from these infernal redcoats and…"
     "No," said Otis. "Boy, give me more punch. That's not enough reason for going into a war. Did any occupied city ever have better treatment than we've had from the British? Has one rebellious newspaper been stopped—one treasonable speech? Where are the firing squads, the jails jammed with political prisoners? What about the gallows for you, Sam Adams, and you, John Hancock? It has never been set up. I hate those infernal British troops spread all over my town as much as you do. Can't move these days without stepping over a soldier. But we are not going off into civil war merely to get them out of Boston. Why are we going to fight? Why, why?"
     There was an embarrassed silence. Sam Adams was the acknowledged ringleader. It was for him to speak now. "We will fight for the rights of Americans. England cannot take our money away by taxes."
     "No, no. For something more important than the pocketbooks of our American citizens."
     Rab said, "For the rights of Englishmen—everywhere."
     "Why stop with Englishmen?" Otis was warming up. He had a wide mouth, crooked and generous. He settled back in his chair and then he began to talk. It was such a talk as Johnny had never heard before. The words surged up through the big body, flowed out of the broad mouth. He never raised his voice, and he went on and on…
     "…For men and women and children all over the world," he said. "...for even as we shoot down the British soldiers we are fighting for rights such as they will be enjoying a hundred years from now..."

     "It is all so much simpler than you think," he said. He lifted his hands and pushed against the rafters. "We give all we have, lives, property, safety, skills…we fight, we die, for one simple thing. Only that a man can stand up."


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