Act II Summary

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 792

Act II opens where act I ended. Leslie and Sarah are unsure about Nancy and Charlie's submissive stance. When Leslie and Sarah approach, Charlie threatens to scream. Nancy is much calmer. Leslie pokes Charlie and Nancy in the side, but neither one moves. Leslie and Sarah decide that Nancy and...

(The entire section contains 792 words.)

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Act II opens where act I ended. Leslie and Sarah are unsure about Nancy and Charlie's submissive stance. When Leslie and Sarah approach, Charlie threatens to scream. Nancy is much calmer. Leslie pokes Charlie and Nancy in the side, but neither one moves. Leslie and Sarah decide that Nancy and Charlie are relatively harmless.

Charlie is unsure about the creatures, while Nancy is fascinated by everything about them. Leslie and Sarah decide to approach them again. Leslie pokes Charlie hard, causing Charlie to speak. Leslie replies several times, but Charlie will not speak to the creature. Nancy finally sits up and greets Sarah. Charlie only says hello after Nancy encourages him.

Sarah and Nancy believe that the tension has been diffused, but Leslie and Charlie are still uncertain of each other. With Nancy's prodding, Charlie assures Leslie that they are not unfriendly. Though Leslie and Sarah speak English, they do not understand many of the words and ideas that Charlie and Nancy use.

Nancy tries to shake Leslie's flipper, but Leslie cannot grasp the concept. Nancy and Charlie explain the concept of the handshake, as well as their differing anatomy. The lizards have only legs and flippers. Nancy finally shakes hands with the lizards. Charlie tries to shake hands with Leslie, but Leslie is still uncertain about him. Leslie and Charlie talk about their differences. Leslie asks about their clothing. Among other things, Nancy tells them that clothes cover their sexual organs.

This leads to a discussion of the humans' sex organs, especially Nancy's breasts. The lizards do not have these organs. Nancy shows Sarah, who is fascinated. Leslie also wants to see, but Charlie is uncomfortable with the idea. To change the subject, Charlie asks about their children. Sarah and Leslie have produced seven thousand eggs. Leslie is appalled when he learns that the humans do not lay eggs. Nancy explains human gestation and that they have three children.

When Nancy tells them that they keep their children for many years, she also explains the concept of love. This and all other emotions are foreign concepts to the lizards. Charlie asks how Sarah and Leslie became paired. Leslie fought off other lizards when Sarah reached her maturity and started to mate. He wanted her, but emotions did not play a role.

Charlie brings up the idea of disloyalty in Leslie and Sarah's relationship. This upsets Nancy. The issue also confuses Sarah and Leslie. Charlie is nearly attacked by Leslie when he angrily compares the male lizard to a fish. The women calm the men down and Leslie explains his disdainful attitude toward fish. They discuss the ideas of prejudice and difference.

Sarah looks up and sees birds flying by. Leslie becomes defensive. Nancy explains to Sarah that the birds are seagulls. The females compare them to underwater rays. Nancy tells Sarah that she has seen photographs of rays. Nancy and Charlie cannot explain what photography is to her, so Sarah believes they are insulting her. When Leslie returns, Sarah explains what has happened.

Abruptly changing the subject, Nancy declares that Charlie believes that they are dead. She continues to dig into Charlie, sarcastically saying that no wonders are possible. Leslie and Sarah catch on to her meaning, to some degree, but Leslie is confused by the idea that reality is an illusion. When Leslie asks Charlie to explain it, Charlie becomes angry.

After Nancy calms him down, another jet flies by. Leslie and Sarah are fearful. Nancy and Charlie explain the idea of the airplane. Charlie talks about other machines including those that go undersea. Nancy tells the lizards about the times in Charlie's youth when he would sink under water and stay there. Angry at Nancy, Charlie changes the subject and asks the lizards why they came out of the sea in the first place. They do not know, other than they have changed somehow and do not belong there anymore.

This prompts Charlie to explain the idea of evolution, but Leslie and Sarah do not understand it fully. The lizards can only think in terms of themselves. When Sarah asks if progress is good, Charlie is uncertain. Every term and idea has to be explained to the lizards, leading to more frustration for Charlie, as well as Leslie and Sarah.

Charlie asks Sarah what she would do if Leslie went away and did not come back. Nancy becomes angry at him for asking. Sarah is upset by the question and wants to go back to the sea. Leslie hits and chokes Charlie for making Sarah cry. Leslie and Sarah decide to go back. Nancy tells them to stay because eventually they will have to come back. Nancy, and to some degree Charlie, offer their help. Leslie accepts their offer.

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Act I Summary