April Morning Summary

Howard Fast

April Morning

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April Morning Summary

SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics.  This one-page guide includes a plot summary and brief analysis of April Morning by Howard Fast.

April Morning, a novel written by Howard Fast in 1961, is often chosen as assigned reading for middle school English and Social Studies classes, and is classified as a young adult story due to the age of the protagonist and coming of age theme. Other major themes include non-violence, human rights, and the concept of truth.

The novel takes place during the Battle of Lexington, one of the first battles to take place during the American Revolution. It begins on the afternoon of April 18, 1775. Moses Cooper sends his son Adam to draw water from the well for his mother, Sarah. Adam does this, and has a premonition of death. He says an incantation to draw away evil spirits, and returns home. He goes to his Granny, with whom he debates religion. The family is religious, praying over their dinner of bread pudding and donkers. During the meal, Moses begins an argument with Adam about the spell, which he heard about from Adam’s tattling little brother, Levi. Cousin Simmons arrives, though, and the argument is interrupted. Simmons asks Moses to criticize his letter, which is about human rights. Another debate arises, and Moses says rights come from people, not God.

After dinner, Adam plans to meet up with Ruth, a girl he has a crush on. But before he can see her, Aunt Simmons talks to him and feeds him pie. Finally, Adam and Ruth are allowed to leave for their walk, and they talk about their dreams and futures. They kiss, and Adam walks Ruth home. Adam sees Levi cleaning his gun, which he does not like, but his mother allows it. He hears his parents discussing the committee meeting, and eventually he falls asleep.

Adam is woken up suddenly by an anxious Levi. Levi tells Adam about a rider in the night who stopped in the middle of town. People all around are waking up, watching the rider, asking his purpose. The rider announces to everyone in the streets that the British are coming to march through the town. He turns and rides away, disappearing. The people begin to argue about what they should do, including mustering the militia. They finally agree, and Adam signs up. He walks Ruth home, and as he approaches his home, he hears his parents discussing how he is finally a man. Yet when he enters, his father is angry with him and tells him to go load his gun and go to the muster.

Adam and the rest of the men arrive at the green, and soon the militia muster is on order. The women and children are ordered inside. They stand waiting for hours until the redcoats arrive, marching into town. The British have bayonets aimed at the militia, and then fire at them. Adam’s father falls, and Adam runs to hide. He is hidden in a smokehouse until Levi comes in, and tells Adam to leave town. The British are searching the town for local men. Adam runs and meets Solomon Chandler. The man comforts Adam and offers him food; they talk about things that happened. Then they walk, meeting Cousin Dover, Cousin Simmons, and the Reverend. The group arrives at the militia encampment, which is planning several ambushes. Adam shares his story of survival at the encampment for those who were not there. It is referred to as the massacre on the Lexington green. The militia sends men to scout ahead; they return with news of the British arrival. The militia fires several rounds, but then retreats over a hill. They are not pursued, and they begin once again to plan their next ambush. They rest for the night.

The next ambush comes without warning, while Adam, exhausted, is asleep under some brush. He is rudely awakened after hearing Cousin Simmons and the Reverend speaking about him while looking for his body. They think he has been killed or taken. Adam exits his little hiding place in the bush and calls to them. They are relieved to find the young man alive and well, and to Adam’s great relief, they decide to send him home to his family. When Adam arrives back home, his little brother runs to greet him; he expected Adam to be killed. Levi walks Adam into the house, which is occupied by a group of mourners. These include Ruth, Granny, and Adam’s mother. Adam’s mother tells him to go get a coffin for his father, and then take it to the church. Adam obeys, and speaks to the coffin maker about the recent events. He returns home, eats dinner, and lights the candles by his father’s coffin, after his mother’s orders. Ruth keeps him company. Adam walks Ruth home. He finally returns home and sleeps, exhausted.