Inherit the Wind begins in the small town of Hillsboro where Bertram Cates taught evolution in his science class. Since teaching evolution is illegal, he is going to go to court. Matthew Harrison Brady is brought in for the prosecution and Henry Drummond is brought in as the defendant, but these two are giants in the legal world which sets the stage for a monumental court scene. The town of Hillsboro shows their support for Brady when he arrives with banners and a welcoming picnic, so it becomes clear whose side they support in the case.
Once the trial begins, a variety of events in court lead the people's loyalty to sway from Brady to Drummond as everyone begins to understand the toleration of other people's opinions. By the end of the book, the characters have all drastically changed, and we, the readers, learn that appearances are not always reality as well as we can tolerate a difference in opinions without accepting them as our own.


  • Rachel Brown- Rachel is the reverend's daughter and is a teacher in Hillsboro. She doesn't know what to think about the trial, but she knows what the law says and wants Bert to admit he's wrong. Through the trial she learns to think for herself and matures.
  • Bertram Cates- Cates is a science teacher in Hillsboro who taught evolution to his class from their biology book. Teaching evolution is against the law, so the whole trial is revolving around Bert's action against the law.
  • E. K. Hornbeck-Hornbeck is a reporter from Baltimore who is out to get the story of the Hillsboro trial. He mocks the town of Hillsboro and is out to capture every detail of the trial. It's clear that he is siding with Cates, Drummond, and evolution due to his mockery of religion.
  • Matthew Harrison Brady-Brady is the prosecutor for the trial. He's a man firm in the Bible and admired by the citizens of Hillsboro. He is favored to win in the upcoming religion vs. evolution trial and is very confident in having a victorious outcome.
  • Henry Drummond-Drummond is the defending lawyer for Bertram Cates. He's a "giant" in the political world and is notorious to working the courtroom to make the guilty get ruled innocent. The whole town of Hillsboro is against him.
  • Reverend Jeremiah Brown- Brown is the reverend in the town of Hillsboro. He's a highly religious man who is repulsed by the mere thought of evolution. He's the father of Rachel Brown and strongly supports Matthew Harrison Brady.

Likes and Dislikes:
I really enjoyed reading Inherit the Wind for a variety of reasons. The whole storyline was interesting to me because I know my personal beliefs as far as creation vs. evolution are, but it the play reminded me that everyone has the right to believe what they want, and I need to tolerate different opinions. Reading in class as different characters also kept the book enjoyable because it was interactive and kept my attention the whole time. Overall I liked reading the book and had no serious dislikes against the play.

Essential Questions:

  • How do we handle individual differences?
    • You can handle individual differences by accepting the fact that everyone is different, each holding his or her own opinions, beliefs, and characteristics, and learning to tolerate the variety found between people.
  • Does tolerance equal acceptance?
    • Tolerance and acceptance are two different attitudes. Tolerance means that you allow others to hold their own opinion without holding objections to other people's thoughts. On the other hand, acceptance means that you take someone else's opinion and accept it as your own. Although both of these are attitudes towards the opinions of others, tolerance and acceptance are very different.
  • Can we tolerate someone/something without agreeing with them/it?
    • Yes, you can tolerate someone/something without agreeing with them/it because you can just respect their right to their own opinion without accepting it as your own.

What can we learn from reading the book?
There are two key lessons we can draw from Inherit the Wind. 1) Things are not always the way they appear. In other words, appearance may be different than reality. We learn this through the drastic changes in the characters' personalities and the drastic turn-arounds that they each make by the end of the book. The truth is deeper than first impressions. 2) Everybody has the right to think and hold their own ideas, and you don't need to accept them as your own, but you do need to tolerate the difference opinions that you may hold.

Reflections on Essay:
  • What did I learn from this writing assignment?
    • As we prepared for this writing assignment I learned about different comparing and contrasting layouts to use when writing including block and point by point. From our pre-writing discussions I also gained knowledge of what a passive verb is and how it should be avoided at all cost when writing a paper.
  • What did I do well in this unit?
    • One area I believe I did excelled in was incorporating quotes which supported my theme of appearance is not always reality. Plus, I tied the quotes in well with introductions to the quotes.
  • What areas could I improve on?
    • The main area that I need to improve on within my writing is linking the paragraphs to one another with transitions and making sure all of my information is relative to supporting my topic. Avoiding passive verbs within my writing is another skill I need to improve.