Free Study Guide for Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt-Book Summary|
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Huntís next work was Trail of Apple Blossoms (1968). In 1969, Irene Hunt retired from teaching to write full time. She then published No Promises in the Wind (1970), The Lottery Rose (1976), William (1977), Claws of a Young Country (1980), and finally Everlasting Hills (1985), which won the Parentsí Choice Award in 1985.
Across Five Aprils begins at a time in history when the nation was ďgrave and absorbed in the anxious thoughts of that springĒ. The events behind these feelings were the seeds of the American Civil War. Abraham Lincoln had hoped to cool the nationís passion with his inaugural address, but on his fist day in office he received the news that Major Anderson was running out of supplies at Fort Sumter. Within weeks, Northern newspapers carried stories that Andersonís men would be pulled out, though Lincoln, in reality, had given no such order. Public opinion supported the reinforcement of Fort Sumter at all costs. Lincoln, however, chose to resupply provisions only, not men, arms or ammunition, unless the fort was attacked.
The character Cousin Wilse Graham accurately interprets the historically supported motives and purposes behind Lincolnís plan when Wilse stops by the Creighton house (Chapter 2) and the family discusses the war. The ensuing attack on Fort Sumter elicited a rallying response in the North, and forced the other states to choose whether to align themselves with the North or the South. This marked the beginning of the war. The dilemma of the individual states was also the dilemma of individual families. This is illustrated by the characters John and Bill Creighton, dear brothers, who fight violently when they discover they have chosen different sides (Chapter 3).
The battle at Pittsburgh Landing [Shiloh] described in Chapter 5 was the first battle that had casualties in excess of 20,000 - more than Manassas, Wilsonís Creek, Fort Donelson and Pea Ridge combined. It launched the country into total war. Public opinion was for, and then against Grant, then for him again when it was realized, especially by Illinoisans, that Pittsburgh Landing was a strategic success. This vacillation of public opinion forms a major theme in Across Five Aprils. Hunt presents the differing views by having the events of the war described alternately by newspapers, conversations, first hand accounts, and letters from soldiers.
In this manner the novel progresses, informing the reader on Civil War history as the story of Jethro Creighton evolves. Uniquely, the war drives the story rather than acts as a simple backdrop as in other Civil War novels. Much of the book draws on stories and recollections of Huntís grandfather who, like Jethro, was a boy of nine at the beginning of the Civil War. But in addition to family records and letters, Hunt adds knowledge from extensive research into Civil War history. Across Five Aprils is as much a history lesson and chronicle of the times as it is the story of a young boy coming of age during the American Civil War.
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Cassie, Donna L.. "TheBestNotes on Across Five Aprils".
. 09 May 2017