April Raintree Reflection: Chapter 1
The first chapter in the novel April Raintree by Beatrice Culleton gives a very intriguing background to April. We learn about her mother, father and most importantly her younger sister April. We are introduced to her living situation and how terrible it is. It is given from the view of a child, leaving the reader to use their common sense to fill in the blanks. I found myself feeling very sorry for April at the beginning of the book, having to raise her sister all by herself because she thought her parents were ???sick??™ and needed medicine to get better. When her parent??™s would take this ???medicine??™ I just wanted to tell April what was really going on and to go talk to someone. Even though they got taken away from their family during the chapter I still feel terrible. I hate how young Cheryl is, because if she knew what was going on with her family, she wouldn??™t be able to understand even if she wanted to. If I were in April or Cheryl??™s situation I don??™t think I could cope with all the stress at such a young age. It seemed obvious that they would get taken away from their family, just because the story had to move forward and there had to be conflict but I didn??™t want it to happen. Nobody wants to be separated from their family, no matter how bad or neglecting they are towards you. Everyone needs someone to love, and be loved back whether they show it or not. I didn??™t find this chapter the most interesting of the novel, but it kept me interested in the story and kept me flipping the pages.
April Raintree Reflection: Chapter 9
In the ninth chapter April has already married Bob and moves to Toronto to move in with him. She is overwhelmed with the parties, mansions and most importantly her complete and total loneliness. Cheryl comes to her house for Christmas and April is excited and nervous for Bob??™s mother??™s reaction. They also get a chance to catch up with each other and Cheryl finds out that April went searching for her parents and didn??™t tell her. I found that this chapter was the turning point for April and Cheryl??™s relationship. Looking back on the novel I feel that it only got worse from this point. This is to be expected because even though they are blood related they were raised in two different families, which allowed them to become two totally different people. Cheryl has been able to live without her sister for a long time, and I think it becomes clear that she doesn??™t want to live with April anymore. I think their different opinions about the Native people are a lot more important than the reader thinks at this time. I think that because it is such a big part of their lives that it hurts Cheryl to see April not care, and hate those people. To Cheryl, it??™s like hating yourself, and your heritage. If I were Cheryl, I would probably be just as upset because I would have it written on my face if there was anyone to hate it, it should be the person who is judged all the time with it.
April Raintree Reflection: Chapter 11
This chapter is the most intense chapter in the book. April gets raped, and it is described so perfectly to make the reader feel exactly how scared; humiliated and distraught April was during this terrible time. Just thinking about this scene in the chapter makes me want to cringe and scream at the same time. I want to cringe because I hate being a bystander in those situations, but I also want to scream so I can help her and save her because I know how much it is going to affect her life from that day on for the rest of her life. On the news when you here about children that are getting raped, they don??™t go into full detail and I now understand why. I can??™t imagine how anyone can go to sleep at night with those vicious memories inside their head. It makes me so angry that people would sink so low to hurt someone so terribly emotionally and physically without thinking. Those people should be hurt just as bad because they will never know how those experiences affect the rest of their victim??™s life. I have no sympathy for rapists; no matter what their situation is or even if they were threatened. There should be absolutely no reason for someone like this to get away free, and if there is a death penalty this situation should be the ones where they use it. I know this may seem very harsh, but what they did is more than harsh, it is disgusting, disrespectful and just an overall terrible thing to do. I feel so much for April in this chapter and I feel bad judging her because I don??™t know what it??™s like to have something so traumatic affecting my day to day life.
April Raintree Reflection: Chapter 12
In chapter twelve Cheryl apologizes to April for making her go out to get her things, April goes out with Roger and April and Cheryl buy a house together. If I were Cheryl, the guilt I would feel for letting my sister go out into that part of town would never leave me, but I don??™t think Cheryl saw it as being that bad. I think this because Cheryl was a prostitute and it probably wasn??™t that abnormal for those things to happen to people walking on the street, especially young women. I was happy that April and Cheryl decided to move in together because I think that at that specific time in their lives they needed emotional support to help them get through. Even though they are both adults at this stage I always think it??™s important to have someone to come to just in case there is no one else to turn to and living with your sister would give you that feeling of comfort and security. Although April was the one who just recently gotten raped I still think Cheryl is the dependent one in their relationship. She comes across as someone who does her own things and marches to the beat of her own drum but I believe that deep down she just wants someone to love her for who she is and will support her through all her decisions. We could automatically put the blame on April for not being a good sister but I think it boils down to Cheryl and how stable she is as a human being. In the novel, Beatrice Culleton makes her come across as stubborn, smart and dependent. We never see Cheryl as being anything but wanting to be with her sister. Later in the novel we find out that she learns to depend on whiskey to solve her problems because she loses faith in her sister. It is hard to judge Cheryl??™s actions because we don??™t know what her life was like from her point of view, only April??™s.
April Raintree Reflection: Chapter 14
Chapter fourteen mostly takes place in the courtroom where April is questioned about her rape and is forced to answer questions about it, making her uncomfortable and making her relive that terrible evening. Cheryl decides to support her sister by coming to the trial. In the chapter, we find out what Cheryl??™s job was when April was in Toronto. She a prostitute and they thought it was Cheryl they were raping, not April. When April heard the news, she couldn??™t force herself to believe it. It??™s as if her mind went blank and she couldn??™t process anything else at that moment. Cheryl had told April that it was all her fault from the very beginning, and it turns out that it was true. It says in the book when April asked Cheryl if it was true that Cheryl just sat there and said nothing like she was expecting it. If I were April I would??™ve smacked my sister across the face a few times. I wouldn??™t be able to control my anger. I??™d probably have steam coming out of my ears, I??™d be so furious. A bit later in the chapter one of the rapists goes to the stand and claims that he was drunk and didn??™t know what he was doing. I threw the book across the room at this point. I was so upset, and angry with everyone and I felt so bad so April. April has done absolutely nothing to deserve people like this in her life. All she does is try to make her life enjoyable for herself and does what is right for her, which is how everyone should live his or her lives. No one, no matter what his or her situation is, should have those things happen to him or her. It??™s not something you wish upon someone. It??™s the last thing you want to happen to anyone, even your worst enemy.
April Raintree Reflection: Chapter 15
Chapter fifteen is not too long of a chapter but it certainly has a lot in it. The main event in this chapter is the fight between April and Cheryl. Recently, Cheryl has been drinking quite often and not staying at home either. Cheryl comes home one afternoon completely wasted and says things to April that are so rude and disrespectful it??™s hard to imagine that Cheryl is April??™s sister. Cheryl, in the earlier chapters seems like the one who has her head on her shoulders and could stay away from this stuff but I guess she proved us all wrong. It makes me upset to see a girl with such drive and motivation to throw it all away for a bottle of whiskey which only makes her feel that much worse about life. I can understand how she is upset and is going through a hard time but alcohol is not a permanent cure. It might make you feel like everything is okay for a few hours but after, when you pass out and wake up, you are still right where you started and you then realize that nothing has gone away. It??™s actually gotten worse because now you have to deal with a major hangover as well. In the end, Cheryl slams the door and walks out. Even though it may seem like this is a good thing I beg to differ because when someone is drunk it is better to take care of him or her instead of letting him or her go on the street where they could be taken advantage.
April Raintree Reflection: Chapter 16
When I read this chapter, I cried for a good half an hour. It is so emotional for the reader I can??™t even describe how I felt reading it. At the end of the chapter when we find out that Cheryl jumped off the bridge just like her mother did, my heart fell into my stomach. I felt like April did. I felt alone, like a part of me has been lost and could never be found again. She was the character you couldn??™t help but love throughout the whole book, and you just wanted to tell her that so she would rethink this selfish act. Suicide is something that I cannot understand personally because I have never experienced such depression. I can??™t imagine how the author felt writing this knowing that her two sisters went through this very same thing. I am honestly speechless about this ending. It??™s so sad that it took death for April to realize what Cheryl had been trying to get across for so long. Cheryl did not deserve this life, or to die this way. I want her to come back to life and change her life for the better but maybe this is the way it was meant to be. Maybe, this is what would??™ve happened no matter what path she??™d taken. It??™s one of situations that you can??™t even question, you just have to take a deep breath and let it sink in.
April Raintree Overall Reflection
At the beginning of the book I had to force myself to read it because I couldnt get into it, but as they started to get older I couldnt put it down. I fell in love with the characters and their differences and how they complimented each other so perfectly. I wish we got to see both sides of the story, from April and Cheryl??™s point of view. However, I think that in order for us to believe Cheryl??™s end result there had to be another side of Cheryl that both April and the reader never see. It??™s a realistic story which makes it that much spookier. People actually live this life and for people like us, who have food to eat and a stable home life it is impossible to comprehend. It would seem so easy to just leave home if things were bad, but when you grow up in that situation from such a young age it is normal to you. Throughout the book we mostly heard about April??™s story, which I think was used as a distraction from Cheryl??™s life to create more mystery. When I was reading about April??™s fabulous rich life I was always worrying about Cheryl and what she was up to. She was the underdog that you wanted to come out on top and make a difference just like she said she would when she was younger. I think I lost all hope in Cheryl when later in the book she came home drunk. Seeing anyone you care about loses all control and just not care anymore, makes you worried but also makes you not care anymore. It shouldn??™t be your responsibility to make someone realize why his or her life is worth living; they should know that by themselves without being told. Even though I lost all hope, I still wished, in the back of my mind that she would surprise me and make me smile like she did when she sent April that letter with all the spelling mistakes in it. This novel clearly shows the ups and downs of living the way these girls did. It showed the constant struggle to succeed and be better than their names, and the colour of their skin. It starts off as such a hopeful book, and in the end is a hopeful book as well. There a lot of events that occur during the novel that make you lose hope but even when Cheryl dies, April find hope, and promises to continue what Cheryl has wanted from the very beginning.