55 pages 1 hour read

Irene Hunt

Across Five Aprils

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 1964

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Literary Devices


Irene Hunt’s use of setting is a prominent feature of Across Five Aprils, on both the large scale and the small scale. She uses the larger scale setting of the American Civil War as the backdrop for the story of the Creighton family. Several famous battles and generals and historical events are mentioned, all of which have a direct impact on the characters in their rural region of Southern Illinois. Jethro’s journey from boy to man is inextricably tied to this historical setting.

On a smaller scale, the novel is centered around the setting of the Creightons’ farm, which serves as a microcosm of the country. The colors and shadows of the land reflect the mental state of the characters, and the cabin seems to change as both the family and the country suffer through the destabilizing horrors of war. About halfway through the war, the cabin is described as having “the look of a lonely old man brooding in the summer sunlight” (114). By contrast, before the war, “the little house had buzzed with the teasing and squabbling and hilarity of a crowd of young people” (114). The sense of strong community before the war has been disrupted, a change that is reflected in the cabin itself.