Saturday, October 6, 2012

Chasing Sunsets

Because of all the political nonsense that's been swirling around for the past few months, I felt compelled earlier this week to reread Inherit the Wind, one of my very favorite pieces of literature.  It was assigned to us in middle school and, like Dandelion Wine, it migrates from my bookshelf to my nightstand every year or so, each time giving up another secret as I explore it with more maturity.

The play, about a high school biology teacher on trial for telling his students about evolution, grapples with timeless issues - issues that are as unresolved now as they were in 1925, when the real-life case the story uses as its source occurred, and as they were in 1955, when it was written during the height of the McCarthy era - of faith and science and patriotism and loyalty.  At this reading, though, it was the theme of progress that jumped out at me.  Progress is inexorable; it is unrelenting and uncompromising and, yes, it does come at a price.

But it also gives us possibilities that we never dreamed of, opening doors that we never knew existed and showing us worlds that we never before imagined.  Who could have known, when we first took to the skies, that one day we'd be chasing sunsets across oceans above the clouds?

photograph taken over the Atlantic, westbound; September 20, 2012

5 comments:

  1. I was unaware that Inherit the Wind exists in book form! I watched the movie version [which I'm assuming is based on this book?] in my history class in high school, and I really enjoyed it. I think the controversy in the story - about evolution and the Scopes monkey trial and whatnot - is complete nonsense. but hey, I'm a science student. :)


    also, on a different note, I really love that last sentence/question. I think you phrased that really beautifully.

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  2. It is in book form! I've seen the 1960 film (with Spencer Tracey) and I know it was critically acclaimed - but I loved the text so much more. Read it if you can! I'd love to hear what you think if you do find the play :)

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  3. Wow, sounds like a fabulous book. That quote is thought provoking. I may add this to my "Half Price Book" bucket list, if there were such a thing.


    Thanks for the insight and suggestion!
    -Heather

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  4. it is - I'm sure you can find it at used bookshops :) I think we're so used to immediate progress in this day and age that we take it for granted. does that make sense?

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  5. Kristin from VignettesOctober 8, 2012 at 8:41 AM

    Beautifully said. I love books that keep speaking to you even after being read over and over again!

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