MCMLS Mitchell Fiction Book Club discussion

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Unsheltered > Alternating Time Periods

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Librarian Molly | 219 comments Mod
Why do you think the author chose to set the story in two different centuries? And why these two in particular?


message 2: by Michele (last edited Jun 08, 2020 11:28PM) (new)

Michele (mlbose) | 126 comments These two time periods are similar in that they are full of changes that are challenging people to rethink “life as we know it” and challenging us to become “unsheltered”. Mary and Thatcher’s time with the theory of evolution and Willa’s time with environmental concerns, capitalism and consumerism, and political correctness. In both time periods, I think Kingsolver gives us a nice representation of characters who refuse to look at things differently and those who are open to change. Perhaps Kingsolver chose to switch between two periods as a way of showing that ideas and norms have and always will be challenged. As people and societies move through time, we are constantly evolving and rethinking.

It could be that Kingsolver chose these two time periods specifically because we as readers could relate easier. We are all familiar with the controversies surrounding Darwin’s theory of evolution and how it turned the world upside down. Going back further in time may not have been as relevant to readers and not have the same impact. And of course we are living in Willa’s time so we can all easily relate.


Librarian Molly | 219 comments Mod
Hmmm, interesting idea Michele. I never thought of Ms. Kingsolver choosing the time periods so the reader could better relate.

I also wonder if they were chosen as a time of unrest and political change. Having us look back on a time when Darwin's theories were so polarizing and then setting her modern story in 2016, well....you see my point.


message 4: by Michele (new)

Michele (mlbose) | 126 comments Completely agree about unrest and political changes during these time periods.


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