Upper School Summer Reading

Summer 2017 Reading Selection

Across Five Aprils

Across Five Aprils Assignment

Freshman Class

Answer each of the following items in paragraphs of approximately 100 words or more. As you write your answer, be certain to follow the pattern of analysis: “statement—evidence—connection.” This means that you make an interpretation (a statement), then you cite relevant passages from the novel (evidence), and finally explain how that evidence supports (or connects to) that statement.

  1. Identify at least eight major characters of the novel. Select a one sentence passage for each character and explain how that passage best represents that character’s personality. Cite in parentheses the page number of selected passage.
  2. Referencing an on-line dictionary, identify the form and function of a crucible. Apply that
    Identification to the settings of the novel and explain how the various settings
    function as crucibles for Jethro Creighton.
  3. Because of his resolve and magnanimous correspondence, Abraham Lincoln is a
    compelling hero to Jethro. Explain how the “coarseness” of Lincoln, nevertheless, reveals the true meaning of beauty to Jethro.
  4. An odyssey is an adventurous journey that drives a character to experience challenges of the mind, heart, and spirit and to be transformed into a person with new knowledge of himself, of others, and of the world. Why may a reader consider Across Five Aprils to be an odyssey?

Sophomore Class

  1. Answer each of the following items in paragraphs of approximately 200 words or more. As you write your answer, be certain to follow the pattern of analysis: “statement—evidence—connection.” This means that you make an interpretation (a statement), then you cite relevant passages from the novel (evidence), and finally explain how that evidence supports (or connects to) that statement.
  2. Pick three characters from the novel and analyze their perceptions, attitudes, values, and beliefs in the development of their identity.
  3. Where a person lives impacts how he or she feels about national events that unfold. Explain the role of setting in the novel.
  4. There are certain characteristics a person must possess to overcome hardships and heartbreak. Pick two characters from the novel that show these traits (at least three traits for each character).
  5. After identifying one of the many themes found in Across Five Aprils, identify four quotes from the novel which support and reflect that theme.

Junior Class

Answer each of the following items in an essay of 300 or more words. Be certain to clearly assert your thesis and to support your interpretations with relevant passages from the novel. MLA form required.

  1. In chapter 6, the narrator says, “If someone had asked Jethro to name a time when he left childhood behind him, he might have named that last week of March in 1862” (70). Write a couple of paragraphs in which you compare and contrast the person Jethro was before his trip to Newton with the person he is by the time he discovers the coal oil in the well. Identify the events that force Jethro to leave childhood behind.
  2. “War feels to me an Oblique place” wrote the poet Emily Dickinson on the Civil War. Explain the meaning of this quote in relation to Across Five Aprils. Feel free to research Dickinson’s poems related to the Civil War. Connect that quote to what Bill says to Jethro when Jethro asks whether or not the North will win the war: “I don’t know if anybody ever ‘wins’ a war, Jeth.”

Senior Class

Answer each of the following items in an essay of 400 or more words. Be certain to clearly assert your thesis and to support your interpretations with relevant passages from the novel. MLA form required.

  1. Abraham Lincoln is an inspirational hero to Jethro Creighton. Read Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address, the Gettysburg Address, and the Second Inaugural Address. What “portrait” do these speeches reflect of Lincoln’s character? Why would a young boy like Jethro be drawn to him?
  2. The American Southern writer, William Faulkner, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950. In his acceptance speech, he stated that a truly effective writer is one who
    must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid, and,
    teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop
    for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal
    truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed—love and
    honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. …The poet’s,
    the writer’s duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to
    help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage
    and honor and hope and pride and pity and sacrifice which have been
    the glory of his past. The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of
    man; it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and
    prevail. With Faulkner’s ideas in mind, how does Across Five Aprils achieve the status of significant literature?