12 Jul 2009

Essays on Across Five Aprils

Few events can alter the image and nature of a nation than that of war and presidential assassinations.  When the two events are combined, the nation is truly changed forever.  During the 1860s, the United States was engulfed in a civil war that pitted brother against brother and neighbor against neighbor, the stresses of the war reaching even young children, many of whom were forced to grow far faster than any child should.

This basic fact is the basis of “Across Five Aprils,” a 1964 novel by Irene Hunt which earned her an amazing four literary awards and won second place in the two years following its publication.  Following the growth of Jethro Creighton during the events of the Civil War, Hunt reveals the intense emotions the civil war generated, demonstrating the ebb and flow of such emotions through Jethro’s efforts to determine the events of the war through newspaper articles and the many rumors bantered about by those of his community.  The only stable voice throughout the novel is the one character that is never actually present:  President Abraham Lincoln.  Throughout the novel, the President represents a single solidifying force that even Jethro, as young as he is, looks to for guidance during the troubling times.

  • In the course of her novel, Hunt shows the fickleness of public opinion and how in many cases it can feed on itself.  Compare and contrast our current environment and compare it to that of the Civil War.  How has public opinion affected the war efforts?  What differences might there be when comparing the two?
  • A major theme of the novel is that of Jethro’s forced maturing during the events of the Civil War.  Though the war is far from where Jethro lives, he is still strongly affected by it.  In what ways was Jethro affected and how did these effects change Jethro?

Growing up, Hunt was exposed to the stories of the Civil War from her grandfather.  The dynamic passions of his tales stirred Hunt’s imagination, but it wasn’t until well into her late 50’s that her first book was written.  Each of her novels follows a basic philosophy she has held for years that all books serve a significant purpose in our society, including fiction novels which are useful for teaching children the fundamental values of our society.

Finding these lessons can at times be complicated, requiring experienced writers to read between the lines, so to speak.  Our staff of seasoned, talented writers stands ready to assist you with this and many other literary topics.  All we need is your order.

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