Ideas for Reports and Papers
1. Warfare in the 1860s was far different from what it is today. What are the differences? What has brought them about?
2. Today we think of Abraham Lincoln as one of our greatest presidents, yet in his own time he was disliked by many. Across Five Aprils mentions several reasons for his unpopularity. Find additional information on his unpopularity and his reelection to the presidency in 1864.
3. What were the effects of the Civil War upon the part of the country in which you live? Were the effects direct (such as battles nearby) or indirect (as in Across Five Aprils)?
4. Read Walt Whitman's poem "When Lilacs Last at the Dooryard Bloom'd." Explain how Hunt uses Whitman's images in her novel. Do the images take on different meanings in the context of the novel? Are the images equally effective in the poem and in the novel?
5. The changing season motif is an important element of Across Five Aprils. The deaths of Lincoln and Tom Creighton are all the more tragic because they occur during a beautiful spring. Describe some other examples of how events in the novel take on added significance as they are played out against the season motif.