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The full quote is taken from the The Bible, Proverbs chapter 11, verse 9:
He that troubles his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.
Essentially, this means that anyone who causes trouble or unrest in his home, his town, or even his country, invites trouble and chaos. And if one is foolish enough to disturb and upset the status quo, the way things are, that person will have to labor long and diligently in order to become wise amid the turmoil.
In terms of the 1955 Lawrence and Lee play, Inherit the Wind, the quote refers to the clashing ideas, confusion, swirling lies, tested truths and religious precepts that surround a courtroom trial about the theory of evolution versus The Bible's view of creation.
So much hoopla and posturing and publicity and some plain old common sense and science all circle together in the play... as if driven by a swirling wind. The townspeople of Hillsboro are all caught up in the trial and its divergent issues.
Eventually the trial ends and the town, no longer swept up in the winds of controversy, goes back to life a bit wiser and perhaps more tolerant and with a deeper understanding, of both science and faith, than when the trial began.
I'd suggest you check out the following link -- it answers essentially the same question you just asked. Here's the question it answered
"He that troubleth his own house,..shall inherit the wind." What does this mean and how does it relate to the novel?
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