In Across Five Aprils, what does Ellen try to do without and why? What happens as a result of her decision?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chapter 5 opens,

Ellen lay in her bed, limp with the agony of a headache. It always happened when the supply of coffee ran out. 

When coffee prices soar to seventy cents a pound, with predictions that it will only go higher, "Ellen is appalled at the expense," and she has tried to do without it. But, she cannot stand the excruciating headaches that she suffers when she does not have a strong cup of black coffee. Ellen tells her husband, "This need for coffee is an evil hold on me."

Finally, after she has endured the pain in her head for ours, Matt Creighton sends Jethro to fetch some from their neighbor, Nancy. Fortunately, Nancy has the coffee, and she gladly relinquishes it, telling Jethro to express her well wishes. But, before he leaves, Nancy talks of how lonely her little boys are with their father at war; she asks Jethro to come and play with them. Obviously, too, she is lonely as she watches Jethro depart with melancholy.

Once Ellen brews this coffee, she feels fine, but most of the day is gone. She and her husband converse quietly in a corner. 

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Across Five Aprils

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