Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin - Heefner 1 Colette Heefner October 26, 2007...

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Heefner 1 Colette Heefner October 26, 2007 Professor Lawson Academic Writing Alabaster’s VS Ants At the time of naturalist Charles Darwin’s explorations, many parts of the world were at war. Americans were in a Civil War, Canadians were fighting for freedom from the British and overall, from Mexico to New Zealand there were battles taking place (Hickman 1). A common ground each of these countries had, however, was religion; the great majority of people in the 1850s had a devout belief in a God, whatever his name may be. When Darwin came out with his theory of natural selection and stated that God, the one figure the world believed in, was not responsible for creating Earth, an uproar took place. This statement was so difficult to believe and because of it, people began to question their thinking. Darwin’s shocking theory absolutely altered people’s view of themselves, even if they wished to disregard his findings. Just putting a thought in someone’s head is enough to alter their view of themselves, and with over 400’s pages of theory in his book Origin of Species , Darwin definitely went beyond that. Two stories that depict this grief and displacement are the film Inherit the Wind and A.S. Byatt’s novella Morpho Eugenia . The protagonists in each believe in Darwin’s work, though they are vigorously challenged by the outside, resulting in great anguish for many of the characters in both pieces. On May 5, 1925, John T. Scopes was charged for violating a law of Dayton, Tennessee: “it shall be unlawful for any teacher…to teach any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals” (Tennessee Evolution Statutes). Along with
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Heefner 2 whether Darwinian Theory was true or not, the freedom of teaching and freedom and learning were principle aspects of the case (Darrow and Malone to Defend Scopes). His controversial trial was depicted 30 years later by playwrights Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee and became a film in 1960. The reenactment named Inherit the Wind is based upon this trial in a fictional setting. Scopes, a relatively minor figure in the real drama in Dayton, becomes Bertram Cates, a central figure in the play, who is arrested while teaching class, thrown in jail and successively taunted on the stand by Matthew Brady acting as William Jennings Bryan. The onscreen defendant, Henry Drummond, works passionately to open up the eyes of Hillsboro’s citizens playing Clarence Darrow, Scopes’ lawyer in Dayton. Alongside the rest of the Biblebelt town in Tennessee in the 1920s, two specific characters in Inherit the Wind that are put in compromising positions because of the case. Bertram Cates’ fiancée Rachel Brown is caught between the science teacher she loves and her extremely conservative and religious father, and Matthew Brady’s loyal wife Sarah Brady finds herself troubled while standing behind her husband’s firm beliefs as the case progresses. Rachel Brown is torn from all angles by the trial in Hillsboro.
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This essay was uploaded on 02/26/2008 for the course WRTG 101 taught by Professor Lawson during the Fall '07 term at Ithaca College.

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Charles Darwin - Heefner 1 Colette Heefner October 26, 2007...

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