In Inherit the Wind the presence of multiple symbols allow many intriguing notions to be exposed to the reader. Although symbolism is peppered throughout the entire plot there exists translucent representation such as; The Golden Dancer, Drummond weighing both controversial books and the monkey. Firstly, a great example of an abstract object in “Inherit the Wind” is the Drummond’s infamous “Golden Dancer”. When Drummond was a young man he saw a beautiful golden rocking horse that was flawless to the eye.
When Drummond would pass by this store he only paid attention to the masterpiece sitting in the window display and it would reignite his love for it. Unfortunately, the horse was worth a week’s wage for this father therefore, he couldn’t afford it. But, on his 8th birthday he woke up to a surprise! He found the dazzling “Golden Dancer” afoot his bed.
When Drummond hopped on it’s back and rocked back and forth the horse suddenly split, in half! That’s when Henry realized it was all shine and no substance. Much like in the story there are ideas and people that are deceiving to the eye. A great example of this is Matthew Harrison Brady, the strong and large man who is viewed as a confident, intelligent and kind man to the people of Hillsboro. He’s of such high reputation in Hillsboro that he possesses an almost god-like presence among them. When Brady arrives to Hillsboro he’s greeted with a passionate crowd ( 19-23). Even though this was his first visit to Hillsboro they awarded him the honorary colonel position by the Governor and Mayor. But, as the story progresses the people of HIllsboro’s perspective of him changes drastically.
He goes from viewed as a highly respected man to an absolute idiot. This occurs because he makes outrageous claims such as talking to God himself, “God tells me to oppose evil teachings of that man” (99) (Brady referring to Darwin) or crying while yelling “Mother! They’re laughing at me! Mother!” (102) to his wife, Mrs. Brady. The idea of “never judge a book by it’s cover” like Drummond did with his “Golden Dancer” was also displayed using Mathew Brady. Another iconic symbol in the story is when Drummond is alone after the case is settled and he finds the Bible and Charles Darwin’s: Book of Evolution in the courtroom and he picks them both up, one in each hand and weighs them like a beam scale, they were even.
The beam scale is an iconic symbol within the judicial court and it symbolizes “the balance between truth and fairness sought after in the justice system.” (Booker, Renee and E.E Hubbard) The idea in this scene is that both books possess a significant value and he judged them fairly like a judge should. In the story the judge was lopsided in favor for the Bible as if the scale was tipped.
The judge did not allow Drummond to call any witnesses to stand an example of this is when Drummond said, “I wish to call Dr. Amos D. Keller, head of the Department of Zoology at the University of Chicago”, Brady said ,”Objection” and the Judge replied with “Objection Sustained.”(81-82) This is a clear example of the injustice Drummond received during the trial from the judge. When Drummond weighs the books evenly it is represented that there shouldn’t be bias when entering situations and to be open minded even when you favor a side.
When an issue arises a conclusion can never be drawn without knowing both sides of the conflict. The truth can only occur when both sides are heard and judged fairly. Lastly, the symbol of the Monkey displays the idea that evolution is as possible as the events written in the bible. The peoples of Hillsboro solely believe in the words of the Bible and reject the idea of evolution being even the slightest chance possible. The first time a character displayed a belief in evolution in the story is Hornbeck.
He reflects this idea by saying; “How could you ask for better proof than that? There’s the father of the human race!”(16) and “Shield your eyes monk! You’re about to meet the mightiest of your descendants” (17) to the monkey that stole Melinda’s coin. Even though he says it jokingly he implies that humans are just evolutionized monkeys which is the idea of evolution. In conclusion, Inherit the Wind gives forth a plethora of ideas delivered through symbolism itself. Specifically, the monkey, Drummond weighing the books, and the “Golden Dancer” are all swindling symbols that require vast analysis to uncover it’s deeper meaning to the plot as a whole.
Thus, it is with this prominent symbolism that remains in Inherit the Wind that delivers a enlightening experience to the reading.