Purpose: Read to learn how a bully provides some comic relief amid the tragedy of war



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Across Five Aprils
Questions Chapters 7-9
PURPOSE: Read to learn how a bully provides some comic relief amid the tragedy of war.
1. What news does Dan Lawrence bring to the Creightons? How does Jenny’s outlook change as a result of this news? What does she seem to realize for the first time?

2. Describe the incident involving Sam Gardiner and Guy Wortman. What does this incident suggest about methods of dealing with bullies?

3. According to the narrator, what effect do the battles of Fredericksburg and Stones River have on Union soldiers and their supporters? In your opinion, why do these battles have this effect?

4. Whom does Jethro find hiding in the woods? What internal conflict does this discovery create for Jeth? How does he try to resolve this conflict?

5. What response does Jeth receive to his letter? What does this response suggest about the character of the person who wrote it?

6. Evaluate Jethro’s decision not to tell his father about the situation with Eb. Did he make the right choice? Why or why not?

7. What is your opinion of the decision that President Lincoln has made with regard to deserters? Is his decision fair? Give reasons for your answers.
LITERATURE AND WRITING

Chapter 9 ends with President Lincoln’s response to Jethro’s letter. Use this response, as well as other information in the chapter, to try to imagine what Jethro wrote in his letter. Then write your own version of Jethro’s letter to Abraham Lincoln. Before you begin, jot down main points Jethro wanted to make. Include a description of Eb’s situation as well as a request for the president’s advice. Be sure to use the proper form for a business letter.


Chapters 10-12
PURPOSE: Read to learn whether the end of the war will also mean an end to the conflicts between North and South.
1. What happens at Gettysburg? After this battle, why do people begin to suspect a conspiracy among the generals?

2. Why does Jenny go to Washington, D.C.? How does this journey mark an important turning point in her life? Explain.

3. Describe John’s meeting with Bill. What does Bill’s request suggest about the cost of following his conscience?

4. When does word come that the war has finally ended? Why does the narrator say that this April is the “saddest and most cruel” of the five?

5. What will Jethro do now that the war has ended? How does his decision reflect the Creighton’s values?

6. Do you think that Bill should come home now that the war is over? Give reasons for your answer.

7. In your opinion, why does Ross Milton say, “Don’t expect peace to be a perfect pearl, Jeth”?
LITERATURE AND WRITING

Imagine that you are Shad Yale. You are writing to Matt and Ellen to request permission to take Jethro back East with you and Jenny. Your plan is to help Jethro get a good education. List reasons that are likely to convince the Creightons to agree to your plan. Note how your plan is likely to benefit not only Jethro but other members of the Creighton family as well. Anticipate objections that the Creightons may raise and respond to each possible objection in your letter.


EXTENDING YOUR RESPONSE

If you could go back to the time of the Civil War, which character in the novel would you most like to be? Why?


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