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Howard Fast: A Critical Companion
by Andrew Macdonald
Greenwood Press, Westport, Connecticut, 1996
Chapter 6, pp 101-114

April Morning

(1961)

April Morning is as good a book as I have ever written, as nearly perfect a book as I could hope to write. And I doubt whether I will again equal the balance, the mood, of April Morning, and personally I like it better than most of my work.
Howard Fast, Counterpoint
April Morning, first published in 1961, has gone through almost fifty editions in hardcover and has sold millions of paperback copies. Fast lists it in his bibliography as a "book for young readers," and it is most certainly a fine story for middle-school students -- it is read in almost all of the fifty state school systems -- yet it is a tale for adults as well, a very sophisticated portrait of the first day of the American Revolution and the varying reactions to violence and the start of a new era. Of it Fast says that generations of children "have taken from it a deep feeling of what America is and how it came into being" (Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series 185). April Morning partakes of many of the techniques and themes found in Fast's earlier books, but, possibly because it came after the turmoil of his Communist party years, it has a quieter, sweeter, almost nostalgic tone quite different from the earlier Revolutionary War books. Perhaps this is because April Morning's narrator, Adam Cooper, is only fifteen years old, but Conceived in Liberty: A Novel of Valley Forge (1939) and The Proud and the Free (1950) both include young men, initially in their teens, as central characters, and both indulge harsh, bitter sentiments about the war and their fates.
April Morning, in contrast, is characterized by moderation and balance. There is a virtually perfect relationship between literary character and research, with the sights and sounds of April 19, 1775, effectively integrated into the narrative. What Adam eats, drinks, wears, uses, says, thinks, and so on ring completely true, and become a touchstone for the character of Adam himself: we see that he is what his surroundings have made him, and we construct for ourselves mental images that duplicate his world.
Characteristic Fast messages about the Revolutionary War are present but moderated. The war, like all other wars, was messy, nasty, and brutish, fought by the young (sometimes the very young), the poor, and the old, not just the fit and hearty. The American forces were characterized by a nearly total lack of elementary discipline and order but made up for this lack of professionalism with their spirit, their sometimes wild improvisation, and their capacity to retreat -- the British would say to run away -- to fight another day. Most of all, the Americans were defending their own land and were thus true citizen-soldiers inspired by the ideal of liberty, in contrast to the conscripts and mercenaries of the British, who formed the best-disciplined armies in the world but were inferior as individuals.
Our vision of the complex series of events that made up the opening of the Revolution, the shot heard round the world, comes through the innocent eyes of Adam, and the great achievement of the book is that neither Fast's underlying message nor Adam as a character suffers. Just as in the earlier books, we see here that war is bloody, terrifying, and disgusting, yet we understand that the colonists had little choice and that some wars are more justified -- or are at least more inevitable -- than others. We learn this complex paradox through Adam, yet the limits of his fifteen-year-old understanding are never transcended. Among a distinguished set of novels about the conflict, April Morning is probably Fast's best Revolutionary War book.

PLOT DEVELOPMENT: COMING OF AGE WITH THE REVOLUTION

The plot is carried along by Adam's voice, as he tells us of his life and surroundings. He is criticized by his father for laziness and disrespect, and then he argues with Levi, his eleven-year-old brother, about Adam's saying a spell to remove a curse from the well water. Adam goes into his house and talks to his mother and then his grandmother. The family sits around the dinner table, and Adam's father again dresses down his son; we begin to see him as a man of strong opinions, firmly expressed. Joseph Simmons, a relative, stops by. He has been chosen to write a statement on the rights of man by the committee, the men of the village acting to define their positions on their hopes for liberty from Britain. Adam at fifteen is a year too young to participate in the committee meeting that night -- he has gone to visit his girlfriend Ruth Simmons -- but he recounts his father's version of events. We find that his village, Lexington, is in emotional and intellectual turmoil about the exciting events of the incipient revolution.
Lexington is awakened in the middle of the night by a lone rider with the news that the British army has left Boston and is marching on the village. Adam slips out to join his father and the reverend, who are discussing with the committeemen what their response should be if a thousand or more British troops march in to be opposed by the seventy-nine-man local militia. Adam, carrying his weapon, a fowling piece, signs up with the militia and joins his father on the village common.
The British army marches in just before dawn. There is a brief standoff; a shot is fired, redcoat soldiers shoot dead Adam's father and several others, and there is chaos on the village green. Adam and the militia scramble to escape, and the youth hides out for the night in a smokehouse. Almost caught the next morning by a British patrol, he escapes into the countryside, where he meets an older man, Solomon Chandler. They walk together toward where the British army has disappeared, up the road to Concord. They meet Adam's cousin, who learns of Adam's father's death. As they move toward Concord, they are joined by more and more men.
The men gather along a stone wall lining the road to Concord, and a rider announces the British army is retreating. As the redcoats march past, they are shot at by Adam and the other colonials, who retreat into the fields and then move ahead of the retreating army. Adam experiences terror, exhilaration, confusion. A wounded redcoat shot from his horse turns out to be a boy not much older than Adam. The men, about 150 of them, move on to Lexington, where houses are burning. They cut over to the Menotomy Road to catch the British in their retreat from Lexington. From a windfall of trees, Adam shoots at the British until he passes out from exhaustion. He straggles back to his home.
Adam bathes and then goes to mourn for his father. He and Ruth declare their love. Cousin Simmons points out that all the men will have to decide whether to join what will become the Continental army, now forming to attack the British in Boston. Adam returns home to his grandmother and mother; now he is a man facing enormous decisions.

STRUCTURE

April Morning covers the events of a little over one full day, April 19, 1775, in and around Lexington, Massachusetts, and on the Concord and Menotomy roads. As is frequently the case with other Fast works, the chronology and the geographic locations are carefully integrated, so that time and place serve to structure the narrative. The book is divided into eight titled chapters or sections, each constituting a stage or point in Adam's experience:

Chapter TitleSituation/Events
"The Afternoon" Adam with father, brother on farm; Adam whipped for saying a spell over the well, showing disrespect. Adam boyish, family centered.
"The Evening"Adam with family, Cousin Simmons at dinner. Adam still boyish, too young for committee meeting.
"The Night"The British are coming. Adam joins men in militia on commons, signs roster. His father chides Adam about being unready for attack.
"The Morning"The British come. Adam's father is killed. Adam and others run.
"The Forenoon"Adam hides in smokehouse, talks to brother Levi. Escapes to countryside, joins Chandler on way to confront British.
"The Midday"First battle on Concord Road. Adam fights, retreats, confronts enemy again. Talks with Cousin Simmons.
"The Afternoon"Second battle, on Menotomy Road. Adam fights, sleeps, returns home to Lexington.
"The Evening"Adam back at home. Confronts mourning for father, professes love for Ruth, discusses future with Cousin Simmons, accepts responsibility for future decisions. Adam has reached manhood.

Adam's movement from boyishness to incipient manhood takes place in under thirty hours, yet his rapid maturation is perfectly credible given the momentous events of that long day. There is a neat parallel between Adam's coming of age and the colonial Revolutionaries facing up to the seriousness of their endeavor. We have been witnesses to Adam's complaints about being put upon by his father and to his near-whines about not being considered an adult. As we listen to Adam, we also hear what the adult colonials are discussing: their complaints about the oppression of the British. As cousin Simmons's final talk with Adam makes clear, the events of the day will force all the colonials to face signing the muster books and joining the army to drive the British from Boston: they can no longer simply complain and argue. Adam's story and that of his soon-to-be country come together: both have moved from adolescence to manhood, symbolized in the acceptance of responsibility.

GENERIC CONVENTIONS

April Morning has frequently been compared to Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage (1895), and for understandable reasons. Both books focus on an adolescent boy's rapidly becoming a man as the result of brutal testing in combat. Both books show the young person as acting out the role of adult without a real understanding of what is involved, and both have the boy run and hide in terror at first, then later stand and fight like a man. Both focus on final acceptance by the community of men and on the acceptance of responsibility by the newly mature young person. As maturation novels combined with historical novels, they share the same genre.
The differences between The Red Badge of Courage and April Morning are, however, very instructive, for they show how opposite the intentions of Crane and Fast are. Fast is writing an antiwar novel, showing the enormous costs of even a "good" war like the American Revolutionary one, and Adam's loss of his father, his destroyed childhood innocence, and quite possibly his own future life and the well-being of his family are a huge bill to pay. War is not a game or a maturation therapy; there are no "red badges" in April Morning. For all the virtues of Crane's portrait of a young Union soldier coming of age, his story is in no way integrated into the larger social conflict, for Crane's interest is in the test of manhood, not in the interconnections of society and character.
Rather than comparing April Morning with The Red Badge of Courage, it might be more helpful to hold up as a model a novel like The Catcher in the Rye (1951), odd though that might seem at first. While all three novels are coming-of-age stories with an adolescent as their central character, and all three provide youthful perspectives, Holden Caulfield and Adam Cooper share tonal similarities in their complaints about the injustices and hypocrisies of the adult world. Both young protagonists test those around them with mildly rebellious behavior, and both move uneasily from childlike to adult reflections on their environments. Both capture the bitter-sweet ache of the teenage years, and both are memorable for their decency and purity.
The major creative contribution of April Morning is the wonderfully convincing voice of Adam, a first-person voice that not only commands our attention and affection but also reflects the surrounding community and time period very credibly. Whether J. D. Salinger's seminal novel about an adolescent male's losing his innocence paved the way for Adam is an interesting question of literary influence, but such a formulation of the question allows us to see April Morning in a quite different perspective. Certainly it is a book about a young person learning to fit into a sometimes uncomfortable, sometimes hostile, environment. Adam's physical awkwardness parallels his inability to come to terms with his father, as he tentatively struggles to discover his own beliefs. Adam, like a young person putting on outrageous clothes to test his parents, advances doubts about the existence of God, about the righteousness of community leader Isaiah Peterkin, about unexamined belief itself. He is his argumentative, contentious father's son and as such must find his own separate identity. As a result of this easily recognizable pattern, his story has a universality missing from the more limited dimensions of Red Badge and similar maturation stories.
Fast's forte, as we have seen, is the amalgam of the protest novel and the historical novel. As a protest novel April Morning is muted, apart from the very real antiwar elements. At this point in his career Fast seems content to allow descriptions and situations to carry the burden of the message, and there are no overt protest novel elements. The history is not so much downplayed as integrated into plot and situation, and in a way that is entirely appropriate to the limited domestic world of a fifteen year old who has not traveled widely. What did Boston-area colonials eat in 1775? We hear about the evening meal of soup, meat cakes, potatoes, parsnips, and boiled pudding, including a discussion about the Dutch influence on the pudding termed "donkers." What armaments did the Lexington and Concord farmers employ against the British army? Muskets (lethal up to a hundred paces) and rifles (lethal up to four hundred paces), each dictating a very different set of tactics. What was on the minds of the colonials before the first shots? The conversation at the Cooper dinner table could supply a colonial history class topics for a seminar.
April Morning is thus a very well-integrated novel, perhaps Fast's best. Although nominally a book for young readers, the sophisticated topics it raises are equally valid fare for adults. Like young Adam himself, the book is moderate and sensible, one looked back on with a mental smile of pleasure.

KEY CHARACTERS

The key character is Adam, who has all the charm and frustrating qualities of a bright young person questioning his environment. Just as his father cannot say grace without giving the Lord a piece of his mind, so Adam, a chip off the old block, argues with Ruth and Granny about Isaiah Peterkin's well-known religious hypocrisy, about the free-thinkers he has heard hold forth in Boston, and about his rights to manhood: he is only nine months away from his sixteenth birthday. But Adam is sweet-natured and docile, and his main concern is his brother Levi's betrayal of him when he reports the spell Adam said over the well water, a superstition his father cannot abide. Adam provides the reader with an idealized version of growing up in a village, uncorrupted by big city values.
Adam has several sets of characters who guide him toward maturity in the short space of about twenty hours. Appropriately, these characters represent increasing distance from the family environment in which we first encounter him. Adam is clearly a favorite of his Granny, who spoils him and protects him somewhat from his father's stern criticism. His mother feeds him his favorite food, and we see that Adam is still a child, sheltered and petted by the women of the family. His father, Moses, is intimidating to Adam and points out that Adam has the physical size of a man but not the behavior of an adult. At first, Moses seems simply argumentative and difficult, but he becomes more sympathetic when he continues his harsh criticism on the village green, and we realize how justified he has been: Adam's careless preparation of his musket could cost him his life. Moses Cooper is trying to prepare his son for manhood.
Ruth Simmons, Adam's girlfriend, also tries to push Adam in the direction of greater maturity and self-understanding, as we see when they walk out together, that is, go courting. But it is only after the debacle on the village green, with his father dead and the British pursuing him, that Adam begins to receive the full guidance of others. He meets Solomon Chandler, an older man with white hair who calms him down, encourages him to cry and mourn, feeds him, and talks to him about the nature of cowardice and bravery. Solomon is a figure of experience, a former soldier in the French and Indian Wars, prepared and ready to do battle, and he serves as a mentor and guide to Adam. Along the Concord Road, Adam meets his cousin Joshua Dover, and then a whole group of men from Lexington, including the reverend and Cousin Simmons. They treat Adam with restraint and solemn formality. It is not simply that the loss of his father has changed him; it has also changed how he is viewed by others. Cousin Simmons becomes his final tutor, teaching him what to do in battle, leading him away from the most dangerous spots, and staying with him throughout the day.
When Adam finally returns to his home, he again meets with his mother, Granny, and Ruth, but with all three women he behaves differently, for he is now the household head and ready to face responsibility. Cousin Simmons raises the issue of leaving Lexington to fight in Boston. At the end of the novel Adam still has not made his decision, but we know from his mature demeanor that when he does decide, he will make the correct choice.
The other characters are well rounded and credible, even when their function, as with Solomon Chandler, is primarily to act as mentor and guide to Adam. Fast has them speak a convincing brand of English in which less is more: their restraint and lack of effusiveness even under extreme circumstances ring exactly true as the style of a less emotive age than our own. Biblical cadences, always apparent in older American dialects spoken in Protestant areas, echo in the speech of the characters; dignity and orderliness characterize even the dinnertime discussions around Moses Cooper's table. The ferment and chaos of revolution and political change are delivered in measured Augustan prose style, and Fast is careful to avoid even a hint of linguistic anachronism. April Morning is thus as valuable for its linguistic merits as for its political history.

THEMATIC ISSUES

Theme exists at three main levels in April Morning. Adam's maturation is the theme in the foreground, the putative justification for the plot. In the immediate background is the common Fast theme of agrarian innocence, here set against the intruding British rather than against the corruption of the city or of aristocratic decadence as in other Fast protest novels. The third thematic level is incidental; like stage props or theatrical flats, several themes come up in the discussion to set the stage and define the concerns of the period. The most important concern the tactics and strategies used by the colonials against the British.

Maturation

Adam Cooper at fifteen is halfway between a boy and a man, on the one hand enduring youthful conflicts with his father and seeking comfort from his grandmother, on the other trying to stay up late with the adults and appreciating being called "young man." Adam enjoys sweet carrot pie, his gun, and his innocent relationship with his girlfriend, Ruth. As we have seen, Adam comes of age under fire, and just as the horrors of combat force him into manhood, so too the whole colonial "army," not a real military organization at all but rather a collection of farmers and countrymen fighting with birdshot fired from ancient hunting pieces, comes together as the beginning of a fighting force.

The Horror of Battle

As is always true of Fast, the battle scenes are horrific but effectively written. They are brutally realistic, quite unlike the stylized images painted by Trumbull (The Death of Dr. Joseph Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill, The Death of General Mercer at Princeton), Emanuel Leutze (Washington Crossing the Delaware), or Currier and Ives, the creators of some of our most memorable Revolutionary War imagery. Adam's battles are loud, sweaty, frightening, exhilarating, exhausting, and emotionally disturbing. Among their best realistic characteristics are the humanizing touches given to the enemy, hated intruders though they are. Here, a dead redcoat turns out not to be a fearsome "lobster," as the colonials called the British, but "a young boy with a pasty white skin and a face full of pimples, who had taken a rifle ball directly between the eyes" (147). The reader inevitably thinks of Adam himself, about the same age. Both British and colonials are caught in an escalation of violence out of control, and while Fast clearly sees the future Americans as being in the right, he never shrinks from writing honestly about the true cost of war, paid for by the blood of innocents on both sides. Maturity is a painful business, whether for a young boy or a youthful nation, for it involves facing up to a world full of difficult choices, some of them evil ones.

Agrarian Innocence

A third theme is that farm life promotes simplicity and a connection to productive labor and nature that brings out the best in people. The Coopers live an idyllic country life that parallels that of Tom Paine's near-in-laws, the Rumpels:
On Weekdays, we ate our meals in the kitchen. On the Sabbath, we ate dinner in the dining room, and Mother set the table with china and silver. We weren't rich, but Granny's mother had been rich enough for china and silver. On weekdays, we ate with plainware. (11)
Throughout Fast's work the perfect life is epitomized by families such as the Coopers. The location is never urban, not even the lovely San Francisco of The Immigrants, where Higate Winery serves as the rural utopia. Perfection is a farm or rural village, where the residents cluster in large extended families and live off the fruits of their own labor, enjoying their truck gardens, vineyards, and other farm products. The lifestyle is characterized by a rigorous simplicity, here based on Protestant severity. The particular religious faith is irrelevant, for Jews and Catholics can live this way too. The key is self-reliance, self-restraint, social equality of all community members, an antimaterialistic philosophy, and generalized spiritual faith. This agrarian radicalism is almost Edenic -- what life would have been like if there had been no Fall.
From a Marxist perspective, urban life divorces the worker from the fruits of his or her labor, alienating the laborer from the elemental satisfactions of honest work and from the natural world as well. The representatives of urban life in April Morning are the British army, pushing arrogantly into Adam's Eden-like village on their way to Concord to uncover a colonial arms cache, forcing the committeemen who run the town and the local militia to choose between protecting themselves by force and heeding their religious prohibitions against violence. The British, mainly London street boys, are evil not because they are urban but rather because they are the arms of empire, of distant, European control bent on shaping the American continent into a mirror image of Old World aristocratic privilege. Face to face, the soldiers may look unsettlingly like Adam Cooper; as an armed force, they represent the status quo ante, a retrograde return to the ancient order of exploitation. The promise of a new start in America will be cut to ribbons by British bayonets if Adam's village fails to stand for the principle of self-determination.

Warfare and Brotherhood

Incidental themes in April Morning include numerous interesting historical questions, many of which come up at the dinner table in the Cooper household and in the discussions about possible revolution in the colonies. The most coherent and extended of these thematic details is important in Fast's other work; it comes up late in the novel and concerns the development of the Continental army's military tactics, a process we see examined in depth in an earlier Revolutionary War book and in a later one: "It makes sense. If we cluster together, the redcoats can make an advantage out of it, but there's not a blessed thing they can do with two or three of us except chase us, and we can outrun them" (April Morning 146). This is the lesson George Washington finally learns in The Unvanquished (1942) and applies to good advantage in The Crossing (1971): that the genius of the Continental army is to avoid direct confrontation, to retreat without panic, to avoid defeat, and to live to fight another day. As Adam says, "The most important thing I had learned about war was that you could run away and survive to talk about it" (142). The Continentals, after all, lived in America and were defending their own land; they could win by not losing, by simply outlasting the will of their distant enemy to fight. Fast's Revolutionary War books even suggest that the New World invented a new form of warfare, a "people's war" fought by citizen-soldiers, undisciplined and individualistic, who could retreat time and again yet never lose (though in fact this style of war is also characteristic of the Maccabee brothers in ancient Judea, in My Glorious Brothers).
Most significantly, Adam and his fellows learn that combat binds men together in a special brotherhood, one impossible to explain to those who have not experienced it. This common Fast theme had been best developed in two other Revolutionary War books, Conceived in Liberty (1939) and The Proud and the Free (1950). Along with the centrifugal force that makes soldiers scatter in pursuit of their own safety, there also comes a centripetal force -- an emotional power pushing men together for their mutual good and occasionally prompting feats of amazing heroism.
Thus, like the youthful Continental Army, young Adam learns discipline and youthful manhood, how to retreat without panic and despair, how to turn and strike back, as did Washington in Fast's The Crossing, how to be that new thing on the face of the earth: a citizen-soldier fighting not for hire or out of dire necessity but because of principle and social conscience. Seen in this light, Adam, Tom Paine, George Washington, and all of Fast's other colonials are simply different facets of the same rough diamond, the unpolished colonials who would gradually become the best fighting force in the New World.

ALTERNATIVE READINGS: FREUDIAN/PSYCHOANALYTICAL AND FEMINIST INTERPRETATIONS

Two alternate readings may throw light on April Morning's essential nature. A Freudian/psychoanalytical reading might focus on Adam's successful acquisition of maturity, a case of Oedipal conflict resolved. In contrast, current feminist thinking looks askance at male coming-of-age stories based on experiences in combat, as does Barbara Lavette in the novels that feature her in The Immigrants series.
The title character could be seen by a Freudian critic as a case of unresolved conflict with authority. Freudian/psychoanalytical critics find the keys to human behavior in early childhood experiences and, especially in the case of the immature male, in challenges to the authority of the father or father figure over the love of the mother. This Oedipal conflict is a normal developmental stage for most males, an episode of competition that is resolved and put behind them, but some are unable to come to terms with their ambivalent feelings of aggression and fear toward the father and remain in a permanent state of rebellion against all authority, even distant authority. This generalizing of a conflict with a specific parent also manifests itself in a conflict about women, with the adult male unable to maintain a normal and mutually satisfying relationship with a female.
In contrast to Tom Paine, whose battles with his biological father, rebellion against authority figures, and inability to sustain a relationship with a woman fit the Freudian pattern, Adam Cooper can be seen as successfully resolving a typical Oedipal conflict. At the start of the book, Adam is suffering the sting of his father's disapproval, with the elder Cooper looming large in the son's mind. Adam seeks comfort from the women of the family, his mother and grandmother. He is still childlike, resentful of his father's apparently absolute and arbitrary control, and trying through complaint and charm to move the women to his side. When the invasion of the British army is imminent, Adam never asks his father's approval but goes to the village green to sign on with the militia. In symbolic terms, his ready acceptance of the colonial cause is a revolt against both his father's authority and that of the ultimate distant father figure, the English king. Even Adam's challenges to the religious orthodoxy of his family could be seen as rebellion against the most powerful father figure, the Supreme Being.
The British attack, however, forces Adam into an accelerated maturation, and as a consequence he resolves his Oedipal conflicts. He comes to see his dead father as a human being, high-handed but concerned for his son's welfare and anxious to enforce obedience to promote Adam's survival. The British enemy is similarly humanized and made rational, and Adam, whatever his degree of future involvement in the war, will make his decision on political and philosophical grounds, not on the stirrings of adolescent emotional revolt against authority. He is also clearly on his way to a mature relationship with his girlfriend, Ruth, who will replace his mother and granny as the significant female figures in his life.
If a Freudian perspective on April Morning is approving, a feminist one is decidedly negative. Feminist critics refuse to accept male definitions of what is human and normal, arguing along with Simone de Beauvoir that "the categories in which men think of the world are established from their point of view, as absolute" (The Second Sex 257). A feminist perspective thus might reject the validity of male perspectives on maturation: half of the human population plays by different rules, and perhaps the male rules are wrong.
An interesting feminist perspective on the question is offered by one of Fast's most memorable characters, the protagonist of The Immigrants series. What would Barbara Lavette say about Adam's march to maturation? (She calls herself no feminist early in the series, but her criticism of war is certainly based on feminist reasoning.) In Karachi, she says that "war is for men and idiots. Or are they the same?" (Second Generation 370). About Bernie Cohen, long a soldier, she says, "This man . . . has only one profession. He has a competence in death. Why on God's earth am I sitting here?" (Second Generation 425). Her father, Dan, agrees, calling war the "filthiest, bloodiest, stupidest rotten game man ever invented. There are no good guys and no bad guys. It's a lousy, rotten scam" (The Establishment 43). Bernie remembers what Barbara once said: that wars "were games, politics were games -- deadly, senseless murderous games of children in adult bodies. Glory, idealism, and courage were the three mindless labels" (The Establishment 72). Bernie's mission to Israel is even called a "Jesus syndrome," sacrificing one's self to save the world. Perhaps her strongest indictment of war is in The Legacy:
The crux of it is war -- the absolute definition of a man's world. They make us pregnant and there's the nine months of vomiting and trying to sleep with a belly that doesn't belong to you and screaming your guts out while you try to bring a new bit of life into this sorry world, and then these lunatics work out a solution for the whole thing in a place called Vietnam. (230)
Clearly Barbara Lavette would not subscribe to the notion that young men should find maturation through war; she believes just the opposite, that war is an addiction for males who have never grown up. Barbara's viewpoint is not uncommon among feminist thinkers. Many feminists have attacked the works of Hemingway and his imitators for their macho assumption that violence and war are ennobling masculine characteristics. Fast's own position, as the creator of both April Morning and of Barbara Lavette, is curious and perhaps shaded with some ambivalence. Barbara's philosophy is frequently close to Fast's own intellectual position, at least as shown when he writes in his own voice, but the evidence of his fictional protest books shows him, like Bernie, resigned to the reality of "just" wars. One would guess he would classify Adam's experience as an ugly historical necessity, but one to be avoided in the future at all costs.

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