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Stereotypes exist worldwide. Generally, stereotypes are considered harmful because they often systemize individuals and concentrate on the negative aspects of a single culture, group or region. It is a premise that is especially apparent in the play, Inherit the Wind, by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee. The play is set in an American southern small-town called Hillsboro, Tennessee during the 1920’s.  It is a fictional account of the Scopes Trial in which the main courtroom battle is creationism versus evolutionism.  Because the play concerns the controversy between competing belief systems among people, the story surfaces some harsh and offensive stereotypes of the northern and southern regions of the United States.The town of Hillsboro, the center of the courtroom battle in the play, exemplifies multiple stereotypes of the southern United States. One such stereotype depicted in the play is that most southerners have only a conservative or religious mindset. For example the character, E.K. Hornbeck, an idealistic reporter from Baltimore, Maryland, ridicules the residents of Hillsboro stating: “There’s a newspaper here I’d like to have you see. It just arrived from that wicked modern Sodom and Gomorrah, Baltimore!” (32). Here, Hornbeck stereotypes and blasts the south for having extreme conservative or religious beliefs which, in Hornbeck’s opinion, are ignorant and outdated. Hornbeck goes on to highlight the south’s religious stereotype when he says, “The unplumbed and plumbing-less depths! Ahhhh, Hillsboro- Heavenly Hillsboro- the buckle on the bible belt.” (15)  In Hornbeck’s view, southern habitants “are the buckle on the bible” or have an unrealistic, intense fixation on religion. As a result, Hornbeck’s strong opinions and descriptions of the south diminish the region’s reputation and takes away from the true premise of the Scopes Trial.  Lastly, Lawrence and Lee heavily emphasize the southern dialect of the residents of Hillsboro as to highlight their apparent lack of sophistication, intelligence and literacy. For example, a character in the play Howard asks Melinda, “What’re you skeered of?” (25). Or, when the townspeople of Hillsboro await for Brady’s arrival they shout, “Fitt’n fer a king” (23). Here, Lawrence and Lee appear to stereotype southerners as being ill-spoken, illiterate or simple-minded individuals because of their southern dialect. Evidently, this implication becomes a greater distraction than the play’s main conflict due to the insulting portrayals of the southern region.In contrast, the play also depicts many offensive stereotypes of northerners.  For instance, the play often describes Drummond, a famous lawyer from Chicago as a “city slicker” and “the gentleman of Chicago” (92). The nicknames “gentlemen of Chicago” and “city slicker” define Drummond and other northerners as being snobbish or condescending. Instead of demonstrating Drummond’s true characteristics, the play highlights Lawrence and Lee’s animosity towards the north. Similarly, in Act 1 of the play Hornbeck states, “I had a nice clean place madame, and I left to come here” (25). Hornbeck’s comment highlights the snobbish, northern stereotype. Unlike the south, the north is considered to be profane and non-religious. For example, the southern townspeople of Hillsboro call Drummond “the devil” for not following the ideals of the bible, or that the universe and life was created by divine creation (36). Lawrence and Lee’s interpretation of Drummond’s attitude underscores what they view as the north’s secular outlook.  In fact, the character is used to voice the authors’ adverse view of stereotypes about the north’s lack of spirituality and manners rather than to emphasize creationism versus evolutionism.Overall, Lawrence and Lee use of stereotypes of people from the south and north to define certain regions.  They take the behavior or attitudes of a single person and apply it to an entire group of people.  Some say that use of stereotypes in the play enhances the conflict between creationism and evolutionism, but it in fact sheds light on the conflict between the north and south of the United States and assumptions made about those who reside in these regions. For example, in the play the character Brady exclaims, “I have come because what has happened in a schoolroom of your town has unloosed a wicked attack from the big cities of the North!- an attack upon the law which you have so wisely placed among the statutes of this state.” (70). Here, Brady emphasizes the stereotype that compared to the south, the north is “wicked” or cruel. Essentially, unlike the south, these “wicked” behaviors include the north’s secular mindset and snobbish attitude.  The claim calls attention to the old tensions between the north and the south and diverts focus from the main conflict of creationism versus evolutionism. Furthermore, one might think that the use of stereotypes in the play improve the audience’s understanding of the characters.  Yet, stereotypes work to damage the perception of each character. For example, by the end of the play Drummond says, “you’ve no more right to spit on his religion than you have a right to spit on my religion! Or my lack of it!” (125). Although, Drummond and Brady have had multiple battles over religion, Drummond reveals his understanding of Brady’s creationist or religious position.  However, the audience may not be able to comprehend why Drummond ends up responding this way due how all the characters are negatively stereotyped throughout the entire play.  The heavy use of stereotypes in the play may ultimately hinder the audience’s understanding of the characters decisions or actions.Although the Lawrence and Lee’s legitimate conflict is creationism versus evolutionism, the critical and demeaning stereotypes that divide the United States are offensive and interrupt the main idea of the play. From constantly categorizing the south as religious imbeciles to the north as snobby and secular, the play focuses more difference rather than the history and conflict of the Scopes Trial. While some may claim that these stereotypes aid in the understanding of the characters, it is clear that the stereotypes work to cloud and confuse audience understanding the characters’ behavior.  In conclusion, Inherit the Wind is inaccurate representation of the Scopes Trial due to the often subjective and inappropriate stereotypes used to define the north and south of the United States.

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