The Double Helix Essay

The Double Helix Essay

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The Double Helix

 
"The discovery of the structure by Crick and Watson, with all its biological implications, has been one of the major scientific events of this century." (Bragg, The Double Helix, p1) In the story of The Double Helix, James Watson tells of the road that led to the discovery of life's basic building block-DNA. This autobiography gives insight into science and the workings within a professional research laboratory that few members of society will ever be able to experience. It also gives the reader an idea of the reality of life for one scientist and how he struggled with the problem of DNA. However, the author's style is marked by his lack of objectivity and inclusion of many biased opinions and personal prejudices.

 

One example of this ongoing subjective style can be seen in Watson's writing on women, particularly in his dealings with Rosalind Franklin. The fact that Watson believes that all women are good for is pleasure and keeping house can be seen in the word choice and style of several passages throughout The Double Helix. These passages' subjects include Rosalind Franklin's appearance, appeal, and acceptance of the double helix model and concept.

 

In the first several chapters of The Double Helix, James Watson gives detailed descriptions of the places and people who were of some importance in this charade of science. Watson wrote of his personal history and of how he arrived at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge. In this laboratory was a yet-unknown thirty-five year old man named Frances Crick . When Watson joined the team at Cavendish it was to help continue studies on the structure of proteins. Some of the people in the lab that Watson mentioned were Sir Lawr...


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...be shed. In comparing several passages written about Rosalind Franklin, it can be seen that Watson carried a certain style and pre-determined opinion of women and their place in society. In the first passage written about Rosy's appearance, Watson criticizes her choice of dress and then tries to blame her family for the way she turned out. The second passage dealt with Rosy as a presenter and her appeal to the audience, particularly Watson. In the final passage, Watson is shocked to find that Rosy can be rational and was not always being outrageous. By examining the amount of objective and subjective material in three of Watson's passages, it is viable that his style can be fingerprinted by his lack of objectivity and by his splashing of personal opinions.

 

Works Cited

Watson, James. The Double Helix. WW Norton & Company, New York London. 1980.

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