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When Two Feathers Fell from the Sky


A deliciously strange and daringly original novel from Pulitzer Prize finalist ...
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Was the treatment of animals, and specifically the animal deaths, a problem for you in this book?

Created: 10/23/21

Replies: 14

Posted Oct. 23, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
RebeccaF

Join Date: 08/24/14

Posts: 45

Treatment of animals

Was the treatment of animals, and specifically the animal deaths, a problem for you in this book? Do you think that cruelty to animals is harder to read about than violence between humans?


Posted Oct. 23, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
janines

Join Date: 11/21/16

Posts: 46

RE: Treatment of animals

I wasn't troubled by the animals per se in the book While it's probably better to keep animals in their natural habitat, if animals are humanely cared for in zoos, I think these could be ok environments - that may put me at odds with others who disagree.
At any rate, I think the Glendale zoo staff tried to take care of the animals as humanely as possible but the reason for acquiring the animals were not necessarily correct - competition with other zoos and money! Two Feathers represents the side of the argument that animals shouldn't be in zoos. Her ability to communicate with animals and learn of their real nature gives pause for reflection on what's really best for animals. I personally think cruelty to humans or animals is wrong. I don't think you can create a moral equivalency between the two. Both are wrong; both are horrible.


Posted Oct. 24, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
RRO

Join Date: 07/18/11

Posts: 43

RE: Was the treatment of animals, and ...

I echo what janines said above about the animals. I know that some people are horrified at how animals were treated in the past, and I agree it was wrong, but one needs to put it into historical context to understand it. There are no more diving horses (that I know of), and they were popular even through the 1960s (re Atlantic City Steel Pier). Treatment of animals is so much better today than in many historic times, to the benefit of both animals and humans.


Posted Oct. 24, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
catherynez

Join Date: 01/27/18

Posts: 82

RE: Was the treatment of animals, and ...

I agree with both of the above comments. Yes, it is terrible how the animals were treated in the past. I am glad we have learned from the past and treat animals much better now.


Posted Oct. 24, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gerrieb

Join Date: 09/03/19

Posts: 154

RE: Was the treatment of animals, and ...

Yes, I was disturbed by the deaths and the treatment of the animals in the story. Interestingly, True’s sadness over Ochre and her connections with the other animals made it easier to bear. I think I was able to grieve with her a bit. However, I still very much enjoyed the book. I generally will not read a book with violence against animals in it as I find it too distressing. I don’t particularly enjoy books with graphic violence against humans either, although most books contain some, but I do find it more upsetting when it is violence against animals. I think I prefer the violent acts, if necessary to the plot line to be “ off the page “, so to speak. I think it is the gratuitous violence that is the most repulsive and I absolutely can’t stand the over used trope of violent acts against women as the main draw of a plot.


Posted Oct. 24, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
janeh

Join Date: 06/15/11

Posts: 211

RE: Was the treatment of animals, and ...

I never "enjoy" learning about the deaths of animals, but I think the way the author presented the situations was realistic without being disturbing.


Posted Oct. 24, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Maggie

Join Date: 01/01/16

Posts: 386

RE: Was the treatment of animals, and ...

I never knew about horse diving so I was distressed to know that people thought this was fun entertainment. It bothered me when Ocher died and the way the mare died especially when she sensed there was a problem. Also sad to know the mare was left to ‘rot’ where she landed. Of course I knew it would be impossible to get her out. I was sad for Two as she loved her mare and felt it was her fault. She should have listened to Ocher. I was distressed when the two zoo animals were electrocuted as again they were Two’s special friends and I dislike it when people are cruel to animals.


Posted Oct. 28, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
patriciah

Join Date: 12/11/17

Posts: 11

RE: Was the treatment of animals, and ...

The killing wasn't a problem for me - it was part of the plot and the author allowed the characters to grieve over their loss. There was also a satisfying retribution - although Two Feathers wishes she had been the one to carry out the punishment.


Posted Oct. 28, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
djcminor

Join Date: 03/14/19

Posts: 184

RE: Was the treatment of animals, and ...

I never like to see animals mistreated. I do know, however, that people in the past (and some even today) have not always been kind to animals.


Posted Oct. 29, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
josephinej

Join Date: 05/11/15

Posts: 84

RE: Was the treatment of animals, and ...

I agree with those above about putting things into their historical context. I had never heard of horse diving - oh my! I confess to enjoying zoos, especially when my children were young, but now I worry about animals in them. I was so sad at all the animals' deaths, but they were important for the story - and the lessons we need to draw from that.


Posted Oct. 29, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gwenc

Join Date: 07/14/12

Posts: 77

RE: Was the treatment of animals, and ...

Personally I was able to handle it, but have friends (and a relative) who will not touch a book if an animal dies in it. People's deaths, for the most part, don't bother them. Honest!


Posted Oct. 29, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
BuffaloGirl

Join Date: 01/13/18

Posts: 150

RE: Was the treatment of animals, and ...

I understand why the author wrote the story as she did, including the deaths of Ocher, the hippopotamus, and the cinnamon bear, but that didn’t make reading about them any easier. The little bear’s death especially was difficult to read. Violence to animals (and children) has always been harder for me because they are usually innocent, unable to defend themselves, and targeted for no fathomable reason. I appreciate that in the USA we have advanced enough to recognize animal cruelty and criminalize it.


Posted Oct. 30, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
reene

Join Date: 02/18/15

Posts: 435

RE: Was the treatment of animals, and ...

The death of animals is always difficult for me to read,possibly due to their innocence. However in the case of Ocher, he understood more than his human handlers did. It did portray the time period and the zoos. And how much more the Native Americans understood about animals and nature. Unfortunately, I just saw that an award was given for a photo of an elephant performing underwater in a tank. These trained elephants are still enduring unbelievable torture (called training). It helps when a book like this makes us aware of certain conditions and bring to light some of these abuses.


Posted Nov. 10, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
djcminor

Join Date: 03/14/19

Posts: 184

RE: Was the treatment of animals, and ...

I have a hard time when animals are mistreated or are killed. The story brings home the mistreatment of animals by too many. It also puts forward respect for animals by Native Americans.


Posted Nov. 14, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
judyg

Join Date: 04/20/11

Posts: 40

RE: Was the treatment of animals, and ...

I am a huge animal lover as I suspect many of the readers responding above are as well. Janine S spoke about a moral equivalency between animals and human. The zookeepers and performers genuinely cared deeply for the animals according to the author. So the evil character in the book was the only one associated with mistreatment of these animals directly. However, Two Feathers described the closeness she had with Ocher and how she relied on him to judge the safety of the jump. In the end she did not listen to his warnings. Most humans have yet to reach a full reliance/belief in animal intelligence. And, the courts do not punish animal cruelty at a level equivalent to human cruelty. This subject is squarely in front of us today as Humankind battles climate change and animals becoming extinct. Many zoos today participate in savings the species and providing natural environments as much as possible. So the story didn’t bother me but the experience of hearing about any kind of animal cruelty or suffering from the elements in real time bothers me immensely. The author presented the deaths in a carefully moderated manner.


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