Theme is a story’s universal message. In “Another April” two themes are the cycle of life and the innocence of youth.
The story is about a grandfather’s decline and eventual death.
"Who is Grandpa going to see?" I asked.
"He is not going to see anybody," she answered softly.
"I heard him say that he is going to see an old friend," I told her.
The child does not realize that Grandpa is talking about dying, and Mom knows that he is going to die. She keeps the child in the dark, because not knowing any better is safer. When Grandpa goes to say goodbye to the old turtle, it is a metaphor for his death.
The young narrator does not understand what is really happening to Grandpa.
Mom had dressed Grandpa as if there was snow on the ground; but there was not. … When I looked at Grandpa and then looked out the window at the sunshine and green grass, I laughed harder. Grandpa laughed with me.
The child does not realize that Mom is worried about Grandpa’s health since he is dying. It just seems like a fun game, because Grandpa acts like a child. The young narrator just thinks the day was about Grandpa’s conversation with a turtle.
This story is an example of an unreliable narrator. The first person narrator is a child young enough to not fully understand Grandpa’s illness or Mom’s sadness, but old enough to understand that Mom is worried about Grandpa. Through the child’s careful observations, the reader knows the truth—that Grandpa will soon die.