Search This Blog

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm -- Reader’s Guide


Summary: A plague prevents human reproduction. So a group of scientists clone themselves--a group that grows to see themselves as superior to their “parents.”

Biology: What is cloning? How does it work? What have been some of the major breakthroughs in cloning? Can we clone humans?

Ethics: Should we clone humans? other animals? Make a list of pros and cons.

Why is the opening somewhat ironic: “What David hated most about the Sumner family dinners was the way everyone talked about him as if he were not there.” How does the “family” at the end differ in their concern for David than the first?

What are some other ironies? Consider the effects of the breaking the dam to protect the clones as well as what David finds when he returns home.

David’s interest in his cousin Celia is shocking to our society at least for reasons of biology, yet how is the shock of biology later trumped, yet following another biological impulse, we feel it necessary?

Why do Walt and David want to stop the clones? Are they overreacting or acting as they must? Explain.

When the accident occurs, the clones seem to know and respond faster than the originals. Why might that be? Think about what people say that fraternal twins can do.

What does the title mean?

How did you feel about the ending? Write your reasons why. If you agreed with David, try writing why you think the clones chose correctly, or vice versa.

Read the last four paragraphs again. What do you think they are suggesting? It can probably be read in more than one way: A celebration of life that’s returning, where humanity (as a part of life) will triumph or because lack diversity they will not survive as the trees, insects and birds. Choose one and support your answer from the text.

No comments:

Post a Comment