Across Five Aprils

by Irene Hunt

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What are the physical & mental changes in Jethro in Chapter 12 of Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt?  Does he become more like Bill?

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As the war approaches its fifth April, Jethro is thirteen years old.  He has grown tall, and although he is still "slender", his muscles have a tautness achieved through hard physical labor.  His face has become more angular, and "the great blue eyes of his early years (have been) darkened by shifting lights of gray and green".  Jethro's "golden curls" have straightened out, and his hair is now "a slightly waving thatch of light brown...combed neatly back of the ears".

At thirteen, Jethro has lost the carefree, exuberant nature that characterized his youth.  There is "a reserve about him that (has) grown steadily greater with the years", and he is brooding and introspective, much like his brother Bill.  Like Bill, Jethro thinks deeply about things, and because of this, he understands that things in life are not black and white.  Jethro looks forward to the coming of peace with mixed feelings, because he knows that the end of combat will not necessarily bring an end to hostilities, and that there will be problems of huge proportion to be overcome when the battles are over.  Jethro's outlook on life has become similar to Bill's, who had agonized over what part he would play in the war.  To Bill, neither the North nor the South was completely in the right; he could never be sure where he stood because he always looked at situations from multiple perspectives.  Jethro has indeed become like Bill, sharing the same deeply thoughtful nature that is both a blessing and a curse (Chapter 12).

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