Inherit the Wind, written by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, is a play based on the famous Scopes Monkey Trial. Bertram Cates is accused of teaching the theory of Evolution to his elementary school class in Hillsboro, Tennessee. The state of Tennesse currently has a law prohibiting the teaching of Evolution in schools. The state prosecutes Cates, defended by Henry Drummond, and hires famous politician, lawyer, and self acclaimed Bible expert, Matthew Harrison Brady. As the play evolves, the idea of how people think becomes the central focus for the trial. Brady, the lawyer expected to win the trial, testifies for the defense, and during his examination proves to the jury and courtroom that his knowledge of the Bible is not as strong as he claims. He loses much popularity. The jury finally ruled in favor of the state of Tennesse, and Cates is ordered to pay $100. Brady, outraged, tries to give a speech to the courtroom, but the disgusted crowd leaves him, and his life comes to an end. Cates and his lover, Rachel Brown, organize an impromptu trip away from the state. This novel expresses the ideas of how people think and shows the idea that people are not always as they appear to be.

Description of the Major Characters

Bertram Cates: Cates is the defendant in the trial case. The state of Tennesse arrested and prosecuted him for teaching the theory of Evolution to his elementary class. Cates is a quiet man with humble intentions. He never expresses any religious beliefs. He loves Rachel Brown, the daughter of Reverend Jeremiah Brown. He is eventually found guilty as charged and is fined $100.

Matthew Harrison Brady: Brady is the prosecuting attorney in the case. He is a failed presidential candidate three times. He claims to be an expert on the Bible and shows his devout Christian views throughout the play. He is rather clever, but fails to demonstrate his claimed knowledge of the Bible when examined by Drummond. He ends up winning the case but dies shortly thereafter.

Henry Drummond: Drummond is the defending attorney in the case. He is a famous lawyer from Chicago. He never claims to be a Christian or an agnostic, but he defends the idea that everyone has the right to think. This right to think is what Drummond places on trial above the actual teaching of the Theory. He ends up losing the case. He presents himself as being a truly good human being and works for what is right.

E.K. Hornbeck: Hornbeck is the cynical journalist and reporter for the Baltimore Herald. He despises Brady and his devout Christian views and makes Drummond the hero of the case in the newspaper.

Reverend Jeremiah Brown: Rev. Brown is a ferverent believer in God. He condescends among any non-believers and has a very narrow minded view. He preaches that people should fear God.

Rachel Brown: Rachel is torn between her lover, Cates, and her harsh father, Rev. Brown. She is strapped down to her father in the beginning of the play, but comes to realization that her father is not the ideal figure of worship. She comes to believe that your own opinions and views are what truly should inspire you to do what you would like. At the end of the play, Rachel leaves Hillsboro with Cates.


I liked the fact that this book showed both sides to the case of Evolution versus Creationism. It gave an unbiased view of both parties. The characters evolved into people whom you could believe to be real people. They were classic characters who took a stand on their beliefs. The fact that this story is based off the famous Scopes Monkey Trial makes it a classic read. All in all, the book was a great read.

I did not like the fact that the book was short. It had a great ending, but an afterward would have been nice to read. I would have especially wanted to see where Rachel and Bert ended up.

What can we learn from reading this book?

This book teaches us that not only are people not as they always appear to be, but the fact that tolerance and knowledge can bring us farther than narrow mindedness and ignorance. It shows that while Brady won the case, he truly lost because he died without seeing the outcome of his work. Drummond, who lost the case, showed the readers that keeping an open mind and being tolerant of other people's beliefs can take you farther in life.

Essential Questions

How do we handle our individual differences? We humans handle our differences in many different ways. One way is to fight out our beliefs in either a verbal, physical or political way. This probably is not the most effective way, however. Another way, and most likely a more effective way, is to either talk out the differences with the other person or to ignore it and let it pass over you. Either way you look at solving individual differences, there are many methods we, humans, use.

Does tolerance equal acceptance? Tolerance does not necessarily equal acceptance, but tends to make people more acceptable. By being tolerant of others, people tend to accept you and your ideas as well. This leads to you being a more acceptable person, and more people will become attracted to you based on your outlook on different ideas.

Can we tolerate someone/something without agreeing with them/it? Just because you don't agree with someone or something does not mean that you cannot tolerate them or it. It is perfectly possible to tolerate someone or something without agreeing with them or it. By being tolerant, you are accepting that someone's or something's ideas are not in sync with your own. You can be tolerant without agreeing to someone's or something's ideas.

Characterization Essay

Honors English II ITW ESSAY.docx

What did I learn from writing this essay? From this essay, I learned that people do change throughout different courses of events and throughout time. In addition to the characterization part, I learned how to better integrate quotes into a well developed essay. I also learned how to better use major and minor supports to make my point refer back to topic sentences and thesis statements.

What did I do well in this unit? I performed well on the assessments and processed the case well. I made my own interpretations and thought for myself on the stances that each person took on different problems.

What areas could I improve on? I could probably improve upon my depth when I answer questions in the packets.