Across Five Aprils

by Irene Hunt

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Can you write a one-chapter sequel to Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt?

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Across Five Aprils ends with Jethro having taken responsibility for his family farm for the last four of the titular five Aprils. After Lincoln's assassination, Jethro feels there is no "beauty in the world around him or any serenity in his heart." Nonetheless, the story ends on a hopeful note as the slaves are freed and the country moves forward into an unknown but promising future. Jethro himself is facing a new chapter in his life as he prepares to obtain an education like Shad and Milton.

A short sequel to Across Five Aprils might begin a year after Jethro has left home to pursue his education. The world changed significantly in a short period of time, so the sixth April could begin by describing those changes through Jethro's perspective. It is likely that he would experience some conflict between his familial responsibilities and his desire to continue his education and pursue a career of his own.

Jethro is a sensitive and socially conscious young man, so it is also reasonable that the events of the war and the tragedies in his own family would have led him to an altruistic career path as a teacher, politician, or writer. A sequel could take Jethro through the early stages of becoming a politician, as his life was deeply touched by Lincoln's career.

Here is an original example of how a sequel to Across Five Aprils might begin based on these premises:

The southern Illinois sun was setting over the cabin as Jethro arrived back home after nearly a year of being away. It was a familiar sight even though so much about his home and his life had changed. The country had changed, too. After the war, much progress had been made, but Jethro knew there was still plenty to be done. That was part of the reason why he took to his university studies so diligently. Whether he went into law or chose to turn his love of language into a writing career, the events of the war and Lincoln's assassination had set it in Jethro's mind that he was going to make a difference in the world, one way or another. Like Shadrach and Milton, Jethro knew his journey began with an education.

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