- And in a way he had died in that room; at least something had happened and the bright little silversmith’s apprentice was no more. He stood there again at the threshold, but now he was somebody else.” pp. 159-60 The narrator offers this comment about the Birth and Death room, when Johnny returns to it after having lived with Rab at the Boston Observer.
- “’It’s no good to me. We’ve . . . moved on to other things.’” p. 174 Johnny makes this statement about his silver cup when he and Cilla return to the Lytes’ country home and Cilla urges him to take back the cup.
- “No . . . you can’t keep even little green apples forever. It would wizen up, or grow ripe, or it might not. Human relations never seem to stand completely still. This apple, for instance, it might ripen into something better than it now was, or, unromantically, it might rot in his pocket.” p. 184 Johnny thinks these thoughts as he reflects on the little green apple given to him by Cilla following their discussion about names and romance.
- “’We give all we have, lives, property, safety, skills . . . we fight, we die, for a simple thing. Only that a man can stand up.’” p. 192 James Otis delivers this stirring comment at the final meeting of the Boston Observers.
- “That flag—it stood for Magna Carta, the Bills of Rights, Charles the First’s head upon a block, centuries of struggle for ‘English Liberty.’ But over here there had grown up a broader interpretation of the word “liberty”: no man to be ruled or taxed except by men of his own choice. p. 235 Johnny considers this point as the British soldiers prepare to move against Lexington and Concord.
- “What chance—what shadow of a chance—had those poor, untrained, half-armed farmers at Concord? O God, be with us now.” p. 236 Johnny offers this prayer as the British army begins its march against Concord and Lexington.
- “How old are you Johnny?” p. 249 Johnny and Mrs. Bessie exchange these words as Johnny prepares to put on Pumpkin’s uniform and risk his life crossing into Charlestown.
- “How curious a thing is war! Last week—no, yesterday—this man was, in a way, his friend. p. 253 Johnny makes this observation as he watches the wounded Lieutenant Stranger return from battle.
- “This was his land and these his people.” p. 125 Johnny feels uneasy as he listens to the sounds of a Tory, who has confronted a group of Sons of Liberty, being beaten.
“’And what’s that—a boy or a man?’”
He laughed. ‘A boy in time of peace and a man in time of war.”
“’Well, men have got the right to risk their lives for things they think worth it.’”p. 267 Johnny comes to this understanding, following Rab’s death, as he walks about the area in Lexington where fighting first broke out. But Johnny heard a low moaning in the street, close to the shut door. That Tory, who had been so brave—and foolish—as to follow the Sons of Liberty down a black alley was alone now—was sobbing, not from pain but from humiliation. Johnny declined to taste the punch.”