Johnny- Most Transformed Award
At the beginning of the novel, Johnny didn’t want anything to do with Negroes. He was racist and unkind to them. When he is captured by Cush, a Union soldier who also happens to be a Negro, he refused to follow his orders, only doing so in the end out of fear of what might happen to his family if he is killed. Later, when Cush wanted to learn how to read, seeing how he was never educated, Johnny refused at first, only giving in so that he could deliberately misinform Cush on some specific words, such as broke instead of brought, eagles instead of equal, and more. He didn’t see how Cush wasn’t that much different than himself.
Johnny never began to see Cush as a friend, or even as an equal, until Cush saved him from almost certain death. Cush had no idea that he was being tricked when learning to read, so he was friendly to Johnny and felt like he had an obligation to save him from the prison camp that he would most likely be sent to. When Captain Bartlett, another soldier, was actually going to send Johnny to one, Cush talked him out of it, making an excuse about the fact how Johnny was the only one who could handle the mules, when in fact, any good mule driver would have been able to use them. After seeing that Cush thought himself his friend, Johnny tried to correct his mistake of incorrectly teaching him. However, in Cush’s perspective, it was too late to be corrected. He had risked his life for a liar and schemer at heart. This proverb explains this scene perfectly, “Man is his own worst enemy.” Johnny, after seeing how Cush truly believed he is a friend, wanted to help Cush, yet his earlier actions are his downfall. Cush believed that he risked his life for a villain. Johnny’s character arc finally came to a close when Confederate soldiers capture Cush. Like Cush before him, Johnny risked his life for his friend, who was about to be executed. He has begun to realize that there is no difference between...
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