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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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How is Clive affected by PTSD? How do the other characters respond to this? When Clive begins to form a relationship with Helen, what doesn't he want her to know or to see about him? Is he ever able to overcome this?

Created: 10/18/21

Replies: 13

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2754

How is Clive affected by PTSD? How do the other characters respond to this? When Clive begins to form a relationship with Helen, what doesn't he want her to know or to see about him? Is he ever able to overcome this?

How is Clive Lovett affected by PTSD? How do the other characters, including his boss, Mr. Shackleford, seem to respond to this? When Clive begins to form a relationship with Helen, what doesn't he want her to know or to see about him? Is he ever able to overcome this? How does his experience in the cave with Two ultimately change Clive and "[shift] earthquake-like his entire view of existence" (105)? 


Posted Oct. 22, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Laura C

Join Date: 04/30/21

Posts: 14

RE: How is Clive affected by PTSD? ...

Clive suffers survivors guilt from having lived when his friend Millford was killed in the war. He shares his experience reluctantly with his close friends and with Helen as their relationship develops. He doesn’t want Helen to see the hideous scars that he bears and be repulsed by them.


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

Join Date: 11/21/16

Posts: 46

RE: How is Clive affected by PTSD? ...

Clive is scarred both physically and mentally by the horrors of WWI that he experienced. His guilt over the death of his friend, Milford, makes him drown himself in alcohol to forget. It is only when in rescuing Two when he believes he sees Milford that Clive feels a sense of hope to his future. With Helen he is fearful he will be rejected because of his scars.


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

Join Date: 07/18/11

Posts: 28

RE: How is Clive affected by PTSD? ...

As stated above, Clive is physically and mentally scarred from WWI. Mr. Shackleford knew enough to let Clive have his space when having a particularly bad time. The story followed his trajectory towards healing, beginning when he saw his deceased friend Millwood after Two Feathers' accident and sang with him. This helped him overcome the overall horrors of the war. It seems that as his relationship with Helen progressed that he was overcoming fear of rejection due to the physical scars, although the end result of that was not addressed in the book.


Posted Oct. 25, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Maggie

Join Date: 01/01/16

Posts: 334

RE: How is Clive affected by PTSD? ...

I agree with all three comments. Also I saw the compassion of Mr. Shackleford when he would ignore that Clive was drinking due to his depression and unable to leave his home to work. Clive falls in love with Helen but is afraid for the relationship to go too far because of his scars from the war, emotionally and the horrible scars on his body. He thought the physical scars would disgust her.


Posted Oct. 25, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gerrieb

Join Date: 09/03/19

Posts: 125

RE: How is Clive affected by PTSD? ...

I agree with all the comments above. I also feel that Clive begins to believe that the dead are not gone forever. Seeing Milford, talking to True about the Native American beliefs and his discussions with May,(Shackleford’s wife) and their open conversation about ghosts and the after life help him find some peace.


Posted Oct. 26, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
peggyt

Join Date: 08/10/17

Posts: 215

RE: How is Clive affected by PTSD? ...

Clive periodically would take to drink and stay home for a few days. Others just tended to ignore this because they liked him so much otherwise. There was not much understanding of PTSD at this time or for a long time afterward. He did not want Helen to see his scars so he avoided having sex with her and told her he didn’t want to ruin her reputation.


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

Join Date: 12/11/17

Posts: 11

RE: How is Clive affected by PTSD? ...

When Clive is overcome by his PTSD he takes to his cabin and bed and uses alcohol to dull the painful memories. Mr Shackleford overlooks this because Clive is such a valuable employee. However, some of the other workers don't like that Clive is given special treatment. When Clive started seeing Helen he didn't want her to see his physical scars because she might be repulsed by them. We don't know if he ever shows her - the closest she came to seeing them was when they became very amorous and she satisfied his needs. During the cave rescue, Clive had his cousin (who had been killed in battle in the same foxhole as Clive), visit spiritually and they sang an old song from the war. After that Clive was able to see other spirits around people. He developed a different attitude about death and it seemed he was able to overcome the PTSD.


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

Join Date: 05/11/15

Posts: 84

RE: How is Clive affected by PTSD? ...

I agree with all the above comments. I'm hopeful that Clive's developing physical relationship with Helen will help him overcome his reluctance to be seen - it has helped him with his drinking, and we see him ever so slowly coming back to life.


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

Join Date: 07/14/12

Posts: 68

RE: How is Clive affected by PTSD? ...

Clive's PTSD problems have been well discussed in the intelligent comments made by others. One thing that occurred to me was that Clive not only could see Milford and Little Elk, but other native women working at their tasks. I took this to mean his spirit was opening up, he was embracing life in a way he never had, and that Helen would indeed be able to reassure him in time that his physical and mental scars were not off-putting.


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

Join Date: 02/18/15

Posts: 406

RE: How is Clive affected by PTSD? ...

At times Clive would be overcome by his PTSD. There was no way of knowing when or what would trigger the memories of the war. Mr. Shachleford did not know of the condition, but understood that Clive needed this time. Clive himself didn't understand what was happening to him, but knew he had to ease his pain. The episode in the cave when his deceased buddy appeared and sang with him, began his realization that life does go on. More and more he began to accept himself and the changes that were happening. I believe that his feelings for Helen also helped him. He is embarrassed by his scars but Helen is a strong woman and in time he will see that she can accept and love him with both his memories and his scars.


Posted Oct. 31, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
BuffaloGirl

Join Date: 01/13/18

Posts: 127

RE: How is Clive affected by PTSD? ...

Clive’s PTSD manifested itself in his isolating himself from everything except the animals and in his binge drinking when the pressure of remembering WWI became too much. “When Two Feathers Fell from the Sky” is very spiritual in its outlook and the spiritual aspects of Clive and Two (with help from Little Elk) are what saved them and the Park from evil.

Clive had both visible and invisible scars that he was afraid of having seen. The episode in the cave, his later sightings, and his discussions with Mrs. Shackleford illustrated his spirit awakening. Helen started out as a somewhat rigid matron who saw herself as being benevolent to Two, rather than racist. But the reader also sees her character’s attitudes change through it’s interaction with Two and Clive. I believe her acceptance of Clive as he is does much to help him overcome his fears.


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

Join Date: 05/23/20

Posts: 109

RE: How is Clive affected by PTSD? ...

Clive was a brave and compassionate character...very likable! I think that as his relationship with Helen grows, he will overcome his shame of the scars. Helen seems like an understanding woman who will get him to open up more and more.


Posted Dec. 07, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
julianna

Join Date: 10/10/13

Posts: 41

RE: How is Clive affected by PTSD? ...

Agree with above comments about Clive and Helen. Clive was a good counter to creepy Jack.


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