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April Morning by Howard Fast

By bignerds Jun 28, 2008 818 Words
"When I turned back to the house, my father called after me and asked me did I figure I was finished. "I figure so," I said, and then my father said, in that way he has of saying something that cuts you down to half of your size or less:

"Slow to start and quick to finish."
So went the character Adam about his life, and so went the book, April Morning, by Howard Fast.
Throughout the book, an underlying theme of starting a task slowly and finishing the task quickly. The character Adam is slow to start his chores, but quick to finish his responsibilities; Adam's father, Moses Cooper is slow to begin to let his son try and prove himself as a man, but Moses is deadly quick to finish that process, literally; the beginning of the American Revolutionary war is slow to start on April 19, 1775, but the battle at Lexington Green is over in a matter of minutes; and as a whole, the book April Morning is slow to start, but ends in the period of one day.

Adam Cooper is a boy of fifteen, who wants nothing more than to feel loved and respected as "young man" instead of a "boy" by his father. He receives his chance and receives his father's affection for the "first" and last time the morning of April 19, 1775, the day the British Army marched to Lexington Green where his father perished in the "first" battle of the American Revolutionary war. With the death of his father, Adam is literally turned into a man during the course of the day. As a boy, Adam runs as soon as the first shot is fired on the Green, which is the shot that kills his father, and he hides in a smokehouse and cries for hours before gaining the courage to run away from the British army and the town in which he lives. As a man, Adam helps the Revolutionary cause to fight the British all day long as they march down Menotomy Road to and from Concord. Adam cracks the door to "manhood" by signing the muster book at dawn; by dusk he has stepped through and slammed the door behind him.

Moses Cooper has always maintained that his eldest son, Adam, was a dreamy, fool-hearted, and immature boy. Moses begins to see that his son is becoming a "man" when Adam steps up to sign the muster book in the town hall, and by only looking his father in the eyes, "…said more than all the words that ever passed between us". Moses Cooper takes the first step in allowing his son to embark on his own journey, by allowing Adam to sign the muster book and join the rest of the men on the common at Lexington that morning. Little does Moses know at the time that he will only be allowed to make this one gesture for Adam to become a man. However, as Moses is never able to "allow" his son to take another step towards manhood, this gesture is also his first and his last.

The American Revolution was a long time brewing here in what used to be the colonies, but with one shot fired at Lexington Green, the Revolution was in full swing. Six men died for their country and their cause in the period of about ten minutes at Lexington, and after that over a thousand British troops were killed over the period of about twelve hours. Although the war itself lasted over a period of years, the battle of Lexington and Concord were sitting in anticipation for hours waiting for the British to arrive. Although at the beginning there was no intention of a war, the Americans started a war with one simple act of defiance by standing on their common and refusing to move, thereby "provoking" the British Army to fire upon the men.

The book April Morning begins at dusk on the evening of April 18th, 1775, and continues on for 202 pages to the evening of April 19th, 1775. During that 24-hour period, a boy becomes a man, the greatest Revolution of all time starts, and the history of the United States begins. However, up until page 50, or ¼ of the book, not one of the above events has taken place. Adam speaks about things that mean very little in the scheme of the book, and not until page 55 that anything significant in the scheme of the book occurs. However, after page 55, Howard Fast throws you into the story like a bullet being shot out of a gun, and in order to fully comprehend everything that happens, you have read those 150 pages at least twice. The book is highly interesting and informative, but the author brings you into the story slower than a snail.

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