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.

Essays on Absalom, Absalom!

The story of “Absalom, Absalom!” takes place during the era from 1833 to 1909.  It is the chronicle of the Stupen family of Jefferson, Mississippi, the patriarch of which is Thomas Stupen who arrives in Jefferson in 1833, arriving with a French architect and several slaves.  Thomas ends up marrying the daughter of a local merchant who gives birth to a son and a daughter.  The children grow in uncultivated northern Mississippi countryside.  Thomas’ son, Henry, goes off to college where he meets a debonair student, Charles Bon, with the two becoming fast friends.  When Henry brings Charles home for Christmas, Charles seems to fall madly in love with Henry’s sister, Judith.  Thomas comes to realize that Charles is his own son from a prior marriage.  When Thomas tries to warn Henry, Henry believes his father is lying to him and leaves with Charles.

After Henry and Charles serve in the Confederate Army, Henry returns home and is told the whole truth about Charles, including the fact that Charles was given birth by a woman who was part black.  This information causes Henry to turn on Charles and when Charles returns to marry Judith, Henry murders him in front of the plantation gates.  Years later, Henry is murdered himself by a half-sister who was born of one of Thomas’ black slaves.

  • The story’s presentation was considered innovative when it was written.  Presented as a series of flashbacks as the events were related by different people telling the character Quentin Compson the details they were individually aware of, the story follows Quentin’s efforts to learn more about the history of the Stupen.    As each person relates their knowledge to this twenty year old college student, the dynamics of the tale come into focus. Describe the strengths and weaknesses of this approach and how effectively the approach was used in the novel
    The novel covers several controversial topics, including divorce, incest, racism and slavery.  Select one of these topics and discuss how the story presented the topic, how the topic itself affected the flow and outcome of the story and how these views have changed over the years in our society.

To piece together the puzzle of “Absalom, Absalom!” takes particular talent that many students lack.    The intricacies of its presentation give many students difficulty.  The novel’s name itself even holds somewhat hidden significance with the name Absalom coming from the Hebrew language, meaning “Father” or “Leader of,” giving a hidden hint of the novel’s nature.  Our skilled writers are available to assist in development of essays on this and many other literary novels.  Contact us today and let us assist you in the writing of your next essay assignment.

Filed under: College literature papers — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 12:56 pm
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