'House': moral awakening

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A thoughtful new drama, "A House Divided" (Showtime, July 30, 8-10 p.m.), based on a true story, contributes to the ongoing understanding of American history and individual moral awakening.

Sam Waterston stars as a wealthy plantation owner in mid-1800s Georgia who rapes his 14-year-old slave. The child born of this union is light skinned and the mother relinquishes the little girl to her father so that she may live her life in freedom. Raised as a white, Amanda (Jennifer Beals) learns the truth about her racial heritage when she is about to marry.

Her husband rejects her when he learns her history, and she becomes a teacher. Her estranged father leaves her a fortune upon his death, but the will is contested by her paternal uncle.

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The TV film is about reconciliation within a family - mother and daughter, father and daughter - as well as with one's identity. It's also about a peculiar period in American history, and about justice being done despite rampant prejudice. A woman of mixed-race heritage wins from a white male jury her rightful inheritance. Amanda America Dixon became the wealthiest woman in the state of Georgia.

In all, it's a well-written drama, with unexpected twists - just like life.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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