81 pages • 2 hours readHoward Fast
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The coming night is used as a symbol for death and change. Physical death, as well as the death of Adam’s childhood, are presaged by the darkness, both literally and metaphorically. The story begins in the late afternoon, and in Adam’s words, “the time of day made me think of death” (4). Granny’s first words in the novel are “I see less and less” (6), prompting Adam to tell her that it is just the sun going down. Granny represents the old ways, and as the world changes she is unable to understand it.
That the chapters are identified by time of day reinforces this focus on the night and the day. April Morning takes its name from the chapter where Moses is killed. The morning represents beginnings, and Moses’s death is the beginning of Adam’s manhood, but it is in the “Night” chapter when Levi dreams of a red sky (denoting war and blood) and feels the terror of death.
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Night never returns after Levi’s dreams and the announcement of the approaching troops. Although Adam falls asleep at the end of the book, Chapter 8 is titled “Evening,” signifying that Adam has endured death and change, and that these “nights” are finished for now.
By Howard Fast