Bert as the Everyman Hero in Inherit the Wind

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Bert as an Everyman Hero in Inherit the Wind

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Activity Overview


In literature, an “everyman” has come to mean an ordinary individual that the audience or reader easily identifies with, but who has no outstanding abilities or attributes. An everyman hero is one who is placed in extraordinary circumstances and acts with heroic qualities. While lacking the talent of the classical hero, they exhibit sound moral judgment and selflessness in the face of adversity.


Bert as an Everyman Hero

Brave

At the beginning of the play, Rachel pleads with Bert to change his mind and admit what he did was wrong. She asks why he can’t be on the right side of things, to which Bert replies, “Your father’s side.” He knows that he is going against the town, the town’s religious leader, and religion itself, but he also knows he needs to stand up for his belief that he did nothing wrong.


Scared, But Determined

After the jury selection is over, Bert has second thoughts about going through with the trial. He thinks that everyone is looking at him like he is a murderer. Drummond tells Bert that if he honestly thinks he committed a criminal act, he will pack up and go home. After a moment of thought, Bert knows he can’t quit.


Upstanding Character

Rachel asks Drummond for his honest opinion as to whether or not Bert is a wicked man. Drummond replies that Bert is a good man, and even a great man, because it takes a brave man to be a pariah to his community for standing up for what he believes in. It takes a smart man to stand up and say, “I don’t know the answer!”


Compassionate

After watching Rachel badgered on the stand, and having her words twisted by Brady to the point that she becomes emotionally distraught, rather than allow Drummond to cross-examine her to correct the record, Bert tells him to let her go. He is upset by the pain this has caused her.


Stands Up for Beliefs

In the end, Bert is unsure of whether or not he has won, because he was found guilty. Drummond tells him that his perseverance in this case will give strength to the next person who has to stand up against a law that restricts his freedoms to think and to speak. Bert has stood up for the very freedoms every American should expect, and enjoy, even the right to be wrong. That is a victory.


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Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows how Bert can be considered an everyman hero.


  1. Identify events of the story or characteristics of Bert that fit into attributes of an everyman hero.
  2. Illustrate examples for Brave; Scared, But Determined; Upstanding Character; Compassionate; and Stands Up for Beliefs.
  3. Write a short description below each cell that specifically relates Bert as an everyman hero.
  4. Save and submit the assignment.

Everyman Hero Template

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