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The year is 1861. The United States is changing, and in more ways then not, seperaration. Departing from the way of life once shared with its neighboring countries to the south, the north is now thickening its line of boundries. They arent using a marker to to make a clear deseption of land, they are using lines of young men, brave, courageous, soldiers.
The basic area covered by the Creighton\'s is their rural home streach in southern Illinois. Farmland and livestock make up their half-acre homeland along with small, cabin house. Much of what gathers around that is any thing but a short distance away.Unlike us, who are for the most part surounded by other families the Creightons don\'t have this luxiouri. Their closest neighbor was practically miles away. Producing much of what is needed to survive, the family was able to keep from experiencing long trips into town, over 15 miles away.
In April of 1861, the Industrial areas of the northern colonies, was challenged by the differing side of the south. Years of fighting would be made of the conflicting feelings between the two lands. Blood shed, lost land, and conquering of major rivers would be seen through out five long years. The Union, northern colonies, surpressed through severe weather conditions.
Jethro Creighton, the protagonist, is young and idealistic when the Civil War begins. At first he thinks the war will be neat, full of marching soldiers and demonstrative patriotism. He learns the realities of war soon enough as he watches his three brothers, his cousin, and his teacher go off to fight. One of his brothers, Bill, chooses to fight for the Rebels, his views start to change more and more.
At the start of the First battle at Fort Sumter in April of 1861, jethro is only 9 years old. He is but a small boy, yet his heart is one of a grown man. He does the labor of his families half acre land. Often completing more then exspected of him. He is eager and willing to forfill any duties his family asked of him.
As the story unfolds signs of maturity shine through Jethro. He is able to comprenhend more and value things with his own ideas.
"Jethro sat quietly watching his teacher\'s spber face. He thought of the boys frozen under the snow at Donelson, he remembered that he had not loved Tom as he had Bill and Shadrach, and suddenly the warm, firelit room, the smell of food, the shelves of books, all wakened a feeling of guilt in his mind. He wondered if Tom had a coat and blanket; he thought of the bitter cold outside and shuddered involuntarily."
This shows Jethro\'s feelings first really show any change. He realizes that he may have felt more distance between one brother then the other, but that he still cared fore them and remorsed for them equally. And that they were both brave men. The war was in little ways altering his inner feelings. He was able to feel for all of the soldiers what he did for the ones he loved the most. Grasping now, the idea of war and the terror that he was once excited about.
Through out the book Jethro\'s main occupation changes. He is at first needed to help take care of the families estate, and do simple tasks. He is given the chance to be educated as well. In the books beginning he is young and not much is exspected of him.
As the story progresses he is to with hold more chanllenging tasks. Town was a very distant trip. More then 15 miles away from the Creighton\'s home. Jethro is asked to take this trip into town. His return home is a success and leaves Jethro proud of himself.
As more and more men in his family leave to forfill their duties in war his work load increases. He also continues to gain the education not everyone was given the opportunity to engage in. He is able to read books, teach himself proper speech, and read the papers to learn about the changes in battles and the war as well.He can also read letters he recieves from his borthers in action.
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