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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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What was the Scopes trial and why was it both popular and contentious? How does the novel ultimately reconcile the two "large underlying and conflicting ideas" brought to the surface by this trial?

Created: 10/18/21

Replies: 5

Posted Oct. 18, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2754

What was the Scopes trial and why was it both popular and contentious? How does the novel ultimately reconcile the two "large underlying and conflicting ideas" brought to the surface by this trial?

What was the Scopes trial and why was it both popular and contentious? What "two large underlying and conflicting ideas" (141) did it bring into public view? Where did Clive stand on this issue, and what does Helen think about this? What did Clive mean when he said to Helen that "if William Jennings Bryan could've seen my monkeys, he might've rethought his position" (141)? Where does Two Feathers stand on these same issues? How does the novel ultimately reconcile the two "large underlying and conflicting ideas" brought to the surface by this trial?


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

Join Date: 11/21/16

Posts: 46

RE: What was the Scopes trial and why ...

I thought the trial was more of a "backdrop" event to the budding relationship between Clive and Helen and less of a thematic element. The Scopes trial was sensational in its time for pitting those who believed evolution was not inconsistent with religion against those who said the word of God as revealed in the Bible took precedence over everything else. Clive's statement shows he's clearly on the side of the evolutionists because having observed "monkey" behavior he could see the clear similarities between the ape and man in their actions. The novel deals with the need to respect nature and not impose values on others without seeking to understand the opposing side. I think the turtle race ending with the disposing of Jack's body by the turtles eating it shows that animal behavior is not often inconsistent with human behavior.


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

Join Date: 06/15/11

Posts: 195

RE: What was the Scopes trial and why ...

The trial was an interesting backdrop to what was happening in the characters' lives
although they seemed to regard it as more of just an exciting exchange of wits among
learned men. Perhaps as they journeyed forward in their own concepts of racism they
would begin to see the whole import of what the trial meant to mankind as a whole.


Posted Nov. 12, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
reene

Join Date: 02/18/15

Posts: 406

RE: What was the Scopes trial and why ...

The Scopes Trial was what was happening at the time in Nashville. It was the perfect event for Clive and Helen to attend without causing gossip around the park. Certainly a major historical event, but I felt it was treated very lightly in the book, Clive certainly had his strong opinion, working with his monkeys, but for the other characters it seemed to be just an event, like a carnival coming to town.


Posted Nov. 15, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
BuffaloGirl

Join Date: 01/13/18

Posts: 127

RE: What was the Scopes trial and why ...

The Scopes Trial was essentially the result of a set-up by the ACLU to get publicity for teaching evolution in schools. Most public schools at that time were still teaching a biblically based theory of creationism. I didn’t see the trial as being a central theme in the book, but rather a backdrop which showed the culture that the story took place in.


Posted Nov. 21, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Jessica F

Join Date: 05/23/20

Posts: 109

RE: What was the Scopes trial and why ...

Creation versus Evolution

I had to Google the trial, as I had no prior knowledge. I didn't find the back story useful to the book, except that it creates a "date" for Clive and Helen.


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