Study Guide

Inherit the Wind Act 2, Scene 2

By Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee

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Act 2, Scene 2

  • One of Bert's students is brought in as a witness, and Brady asks him what his teacher taught him about the way the earth was formed.
  • The student, Howard, tells the jury about how Bert taught the class about evolution.
  • But Brady starts soap-boxing and leading the kid on.
  • So Drummond objects, and asks the boy what Howard thinks about evolution.
  • The lawyers bicker over what exactly is on trial, a man or the right to think.
  • You can see how litigation like this—what can or can't be taught in schools, who can or can't do what to their own bodies—quickly escalates from accusations against the person or persons on trial to accusations against entire institutions, organizations, or ideas.
  • Drummond asks Howard whether something has to be mentioned in the Bible to make it good, and Howard says no.
  • Oh snap.
  • Brady then questions Rachel about Bert's religious beliefs.
  • Rachel says that Bert quit going to church after a little boy in the town drowned and Rachel's father preached at the funeral that he had hadn't died in a state of grace because he wasn't baptized.
  • Bert couldn't stomach the idea that a little boy could have any badness in him.
  • Bert interrupts and says that what Brown really said was that the little boy was suffering in hell, and that's why he quit going to church.
  • This makes what Brown originally said sound a lot more dramatic.
  • But obviously dude is not supposed to interrupt the court proceedings like that.
  • Next, Brady makes Rachel tell about some jokes Bert made about religion, and she ends up blocked, unable to speak.
  • Clearly, Brady is trying to make a character case against Bert—show that he's a wicked heathen, and then the jury will convict him of whatever the charge is at hand.
  • The judge eventually dismisses Rachel.
  • Then Drummond tries to call a lot of professors to the stand, but Brady objects to all of them, and the judge won't let them through.
  • We think the judge is kind of in the pocket of Mr. Brady; he doesn't seem to be treating Drummond too fairly.
  • Finally, Drummond calls Brady to the stand and asks him about the Bible.
  • Drummond tries to quote Darwin, that Evolution Grandmaster, but the judge won't allow it. He's got to stick to the Bible.
  • Drummond asks Brady whether he really believes in some of the wildest stories in the Bible, like Jonah and the whale, or Joshua stopping the sun in the sky.
  • (We're guessing he's not talking about believing in popular love songs, where a boy looks at a girl and the sun is always stopping in the sky and the traffic lights are all turning green and whatnot.)
  • Drummond asks why God gave people the power to think if it was going to be considered evil.
  • Burn.
  • Drummond and Brady argue over the particulars of creation, and finally Drummond sticks it to Brady with the concept of the twenty-four hour day. Were there days and nights before the creation of the sun and moon, he demands.
  • Brady gets flustered and says that maybe it wasn't necessarily a twenty-four hour day… which Drummond understands as proof that Brady doesn't take the Bible literally.
  • Brady says that he knows right and wrong because God speaks to him. And Brady says maybe God spoke to Darwin.
  • Drummond ends up making a fool of Brady, who acts like a baby because the people laugh at him.
  • His wife rocks him to make him feel better.
  • Aw.

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