Christopher ZhangMs. RaposoENG2D1-08January 11, 2018 Every action that is done or word said in a story, novel, or play has its own meaning. The symbols in any piece of literature can consist of simple ideas or deep interpretations. The symbol could be something dramatic, such as someone finding out they have cancer; or it could be merely a hand gesture. In Inherit The Wind, some parts of the play stand out giving the reader a deeper meaning of what is actually there.
Many symbols can be identified throughout the play, such as Howard and Melinda’s conversation, Drummond’s story about The Golden Dancer, and Drummond’s actions after the trial. Firstly, Howard and Melinda’s conversation represents evolutionism battling creationism and illustrates the idea that what people think should be respected. For instance, in act two, scene two, Brady questions Howard what Cates has taught him in class. During Howard’s time on the stand, he seems to show that he knows a lot about evolutionism. Afterward, it is Drummond’s turn to question Howard, and he asks Howard if he believes in everything that Cates read to him from the book Darwin thought up. Howard responds saying “I’m not sure.
I gotta think it over.” (73). After reading this sentence the reader can imply that since Howard is not sure whether or not the book Darwin wrote is wrong, therefore there is something in the book that he believes is true. Another example is in the first scene of act one, where Howard explains to Melinda that “When the whole world was covered with water, there was nuthin’ but worms and blobs of jelly.” And you and your whole family was worms!” (Lawrence 4). From this quote, the reader can interpret that in the beginning, cells evolved over time to form humans, thus representing evolutionism. Melinda, shocked, replies to what Howard thinks exclaiming “that’s sinful talk!” (4). Thus, Melinda, being a Christian herself, represents creationism.
In addition, Howard and Melinda’s ideas oppose each other, yet they are still friends, which symbolizes the idea that people should not alienate someone for what they think. Therefore, one can have a different belief and befriend those of other cultures. Furthermore, Drummond’s childhood story about the Golden Dancer portrays the themes that one should not judge a book by its cover and should be certain in what they think. The moral of Drummond’s childhood memory is that even though something can look beautiful and perfect on the outside, it does not necessarily mean that the inside is the same. However, the opposite can also be true; unworthy on the outside, but perfect on the inside.
For example, the reader can infer this message when Drummond advises Cates that “whenever you see something bright, shining, perfect-seeming—all gold with purple spots—look behind the paint!” (110). Likewise, Drummond also advises Cates to “show it up for what it really is!” (110). This phrase indicates that one should be confident when supporting what he or she thinks. For instance, Cates believes that a law in the town he lives in is wrong.
Throughout the trial, Cates builds up his confidence, and although he did not win the case in court, he has won the trial in his heart. Thus, appearances are often misleading, and one should stand up for what he or she believes in. Finally, the last idea that can be found in Inherit The Wind is that the information in both books are equal and can be applied to one’s life. For example, during the trial, Drummond says to Brady “The Bible is a book. A good book. But it’s not the only book.
” (98). This signifies that neither the Bible or Darwin is wrong; they are both correct. Another example can be seen when Drummond packs his belongings up and prepares to leave the court. On his way out, he notices Rachel’s copy of Darwin and a Bible on the judge’s bench. Drummond balances the Darwin and Bible in his hands, and then “slaps the two books together and jams them in his brief case, side by side.” (129). From the narration, the reader can infer that neither creationism nor evolutionism is wrong; they are both equally right.
When Drummond puts the two books into his brief-case side by side, the reader can conclude that one can read and take pieces of information from both books and apply the advice into their life. Hence, both books contain advice that can be used as guidelines for one’s lifestyle. Ultimately, there can be no doubt that Inherit The Wind illustrates many different symbols each with a different idea or life lesson. The conversation between Howard and Melinda, Drummond’s Golden Dancer rocking horse, and Drummond taking a Bible and a Darwin home are only a few of the many symbols in the play.
All in all, every symbol has an idea of its own that can be applied in one’s life.