Role that bigotry,prejudice and ignorance play in inherit the wind and how it leads up to the trail
Inherit the Wind Questions
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Examples of bigotry,prejudce and ignorance in inherit the wind?
The townspeople of Hillsboro evince ignorance, prejudice and bigotry. They first show their ignorance when Drummond arrives. One person tells him to go back where he came from, since they do not want anyone telling them what to think. They are out of touch with the real world, much as Brady is, and that is why they voted for him in each of his three election campaigns. They also show their bigotry by doing so. They claim to believe in God, and do not wish for that to change. They throw a picnic for Brady to show him that they had his support. Along with the “Read Your Bible” sign in front of the courtroom, the town was not ready to abandon their faith. The picnic, banner and song show that they do not like to entertain new ideas. Henry Drummond, however, by questioning Brady reveals his hypocrisy and starts to open the minds of the townspeople. When they once thought of Brady as God, they now see him as a self-proclaimed prophet, a man who claims he can judge right from wrong by talking to God. They see that he has no more power than themselves.
Ignorance, prejudice and bigotry are showcased in Matthew Harrison Brady. He is a man looking for redemption, who unsuccessfully ran for presidency three times. These attempts to become president were unsuccessful because majority of the country had moved forward with the times, thus displaying his ignorance. Because Brady is paralyzed by his belief system, he was unable to keep up with the change of the nation and thus unable to grasp their votes. To regain his public figure, he answered the call to prosecute in the first trial to ever be broadcast. He used this broadcast to show the entire nation that he fights for the common man. However, the common man which in reality is not so common. The mayor, in particular, gives Brady far more
He is regarded as a godly figure in Hillsboro, since the townspeople are stuck in the past just as he is. When he arrives, he is greeted by the town with a parade and picnic, displaying the town’s support for Brady. Like the song they sang goes, “If it is good enough for Brady, it is good enough for [them]” (19). Therefore, his literal interpretation of the Bible is good enough for the people. He misses the aspects of the Bible that delve beyond the text, therefore becoming bewildered by Drummond while he is on the stand. Drummond points out it’s holes which Brady cannot answer, except by responding with statements like “If the Lord says it is, it is.” If he is challenged, he becomes fearful, which results in him being flustered on the stand. Beforehand, he objected all of Drummond’s witnesses so they could not speak against him. Though he tried to halt Drummond’s case, he could not resist the temptation to receive attention; an unfortunate move for him. Although he won the trial in the end, he lost his reputation and credibility: two values which were important to him.
The spiritual leader of Hillsboro, Reverend Jeremiah Brown, displays ignorance, prejudice and bigotry. He loves to control the minds of people, whether they are that of Rachel or the townspeople. He preaches about the wrath God can disperse among humans. After the jury has been selected, Brown asks the judge to make an announcement about a prayer meeting to be held later, showing his ignorance. Knowing the judge has a preconceived opinion, he knows he can strengthen the narrow belief system of the town by offering them a chance to hear him preach. This request reveals his prejudiced support for Brady before the trial has begun. At the service, he preaches about how Cates should burn for eternity for his actions against God. Because he taught ideas from The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin, this makes him an agent of the devil in Brown’s eyes. When he calls upon God to smite Cates for his actions, Rachel tries to reason with him, which leads to the reverend saying, “Lord, we ask this same curse for those who ask grace for this sinner − though they be blood of my blood and flesh of my flesh!” (66) This statement shows the extremist bigotry of Brown. He is such a fanatic of religion that he condemns his own daughter to burn for sympathizing with Cates. This action, among others, frightens Rachel into submitting to the values of her father. He is vicious, scaring his audience into serving God in fear of what he can do. A minister is supposed to comfort his audience, not scare them. This trait can also be seen when he is at the funeral of the Stebbins boy. He claims his soul will dwell in hell since he was not saved by God. Instead of comforting those who mourn for the death of the boy, he spreads a feeling of distress among his audience.
While the townspeople, Brady and Brown displayed ignorance, prejudice and bigotry, the evolutionists continued to be regarded as outcasts. Although the creationists won in the courtroom, the evolutionists won by opening the minds of the people to new ideas: a feat never seen before in Hillsboro. Much as Drummond weighed the Bible and The Origin of Species in the last scene, so must the general public. As he said in the courtroom, “An idea is greater monument than any cathedral.” (93)
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