Study Guide

Across Five Aprils Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

By Irene Hunt

Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

As the great philosopher Jagger taught us, we can't always get what we want. But he entered into history long after the Civil War, so we'll forgive the Creightons and company for not getting that message and still dreaming the big dream in Across Five Aprils. There are a lot of high expectations for the war, society, and the future in general, and while some of them are based in reality—like Jenny hoping to marry Shad—others deserve a good ol' fashion facepalm, like thinking the war will be "no more than a breakfas' spell" (1.30). Unless breakfast lasts for four years, that dream was way off-base.

PS: If you know about a breakfast that last for four years, please tell us. Shmoop loves breakfast.

Questions About Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

  1. Do anyone's plans for the future change once the war begins? Whose and how so?
  2. Which individual has the most far-fetched dream? Who has the most realistic?
  3. If you were placed in Jethro's shoes, how would your current plans change?

Chew on This

The person whose hopes, dreams, and plans suffer the most is Matt.

Once the war finally is over and (mostly) everyone is home, plans for Jethro's future start back up again, proving that war cannot completely destroy hopes and plans; it can only postpone and change them a bit.