Friday night was an interesting night here at the house. The other high school girl that I home educate came over with her family and we settled into the couch with a big spaghetti feast and an interesting topic movie to view. The movie, Inherit the Wind, is a 1960 classic. It is a historical/fiction piece of work that walks along the sequence of events pertaining to a significant court case in American history dubbed the "Scopes Monkey Trial" of 1925. Specifically what happened was that a teacher was prosecuted by the state of Tennessee for teaching Darwin's theory of Evolution in his class when state law mandated that only Creationism be taught.
I purposefully did not tell the girls any more than that. I did not tell them that watching this movie would cause just about every fiber of their anger and indignation to rise up and protest the ignorance, haughtiness, and arrogance in the details of the characters portrayed. I did not tell them that it would cause them to evaluate more closely how easy it is for man to fall and lose sight of morals. I did not tell them that it would be a perfect example of showing that when a person does not know why they believe what they believe......in anything, it would cause that person to fall hard and possibly not recover. Nor did I tell them that the movie would cause them to be even more aware of not putting people on high pedestals, high pedestals that are sure to topple over with the slightest breeze.
Instead I let the movie unfold itself to them. It did not take long before I started receiving the looks. You know those looks that flash, "Did they just say what I think they said?" That was soon followed by sighs, gasps, tisks, and then verbal expressions. About an hour into the movie they couldn't contain their thoughts anymore and we stopped for a bit of discussion.
It was such a great night. I was so proud of each of the girls as they broadened their comfort zones and delved into discussions of: what is moral, what is correct, is anyone immune to the character faults portrayed, how fast does ignorance feed, and is ignorance ever satisfied.
We talked about the fact that this trial essentially changed the face of the American education system. We brought up the truth that nothing good will ever happen by simply looking the other way.
I love this movie. I have watched it 3 times now and I think it needs to find a permanant home on my shelf. The truth and conflict of the movie really strike a chord in me. The dialog is deep and thought provoking, leaving my mind in motion long after the movie ends.
Here is a short clip with Gene Kelly as his movie character E.L. Hornbeck, portraying the newspaper reporter H.L. Mencken.