Inherit the Wind
by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
Analysis: Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis
Christopher Booker is a scholar who wrote that every story falls into one of seven basic plot structures: Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, the Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth. Shmoop explores which of these structures fits this story like Cinderella’s slipper.
Plot Type : Rebirth
A Young Hero Falls Under the Shadow of the Dark Power
Bert, who is the young hero in Inherit the Wind, starts off in the town jail. He seems like a good enough guy, and even has a nice girl come visit him in the slammer. But since he taught evolution in the public school, he has broken a law, and is facing trial soon.
All is Well
Things don't seem so bad while Bert talks to Rachel. Then again, things don't usually seem so bad when you're talking to your crush. They seem more like puppies and roses.
We can see that Rachel cares about Bert, and even the bailiff seems to have a soft spot for him. In fact, the bailiff says that jail is the safest place a person can be. Since many of the townspeople are wandering the streets who're out for Bert's (metaphorical) blood, we have to agree with him on that one.
Okay, that's a little dramatic, but Bert is kind of paralyzed with fear during the trial. The fact that he has no control over his destiny doesn't help. He feels caught up in the whole carnival of the trial, and things don't go so well for his side at first.
The trial turns into an intellectual head-to-head between two big lawyers who are trying to assassinate each other's characters. Bert sort of fades into the background. Even though it's his life that will be affected, the trial is much bigger than just his story. It's about freedom, religion, and other big ideas.
The Dark Power Triumphs…or Does It?
Bert is found guilty. But his sentence is a measly one hundred dollar fine, and his bail is set to $500. So the guy came out pretty scot-free, actually, despite this whole conviction-being-on-his-permanent-record deal.
Drummond says he'll appeal the ruling, of course. Everyone else just kind of moves on with their lives, except for Brady, who uses this chance in the spotlight to make a big speech.
The Miraculous Redemption
Brady talks himself to death. Literally. And the journalist Hornbeck ends up paying Bert's bail, setting him free. So Bert and Rachel go off into the sunset together, liberated from Rachel's crazy-mean dad and the shackles of intellectual oppression. Golf claps.