J.B Priestly “An Inspector calls” 1945



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In class we have been studying the play “An Inspector Calls” written by J. B Priestly in 1946. Priestly was an actor and a writer he was politically inundated man. Priestly was a socialist, and had very strong opinions of how people were acting and couldn’t understand how humans had turned the world into such a mess and he knew this mess was rapidly increasing. He wanted to do something about this, after WWI he wrote “An Inspector Calls” to try and get people to stop and think about a few thing. Capitalism, equality, abuse of power, snobbery and also wanted people to start taking responsibility for there own actions.

The play was written by Priestly as an aid for people who were too arrogant to listen to what people like Priestly were trying to say. Priestly also strongly believed that during the war people really pulled together and worked together to get through the war, this was the kind of society he wanted where the rich and the poor pulled together to make a better community. “An Inspector Calls” was based in 1912 in a time when a lot was going on in the world. In the story there are six main characters they are Arthur Birling, Sybil Birling, Sheila Birling, Eric Birling and Gerald Croft also there is the Inspector.

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The play is about a family who actions and snobbery towards one young pretty women named Eva Smith drove her to take her own life because she felt that she couldn’t go on anymore because so much had happened to her. Arthur Birling is a very proud man who owns his own business and loves his money. Infact many people would think that he thinks more of his money and reputation than what he does of his family. They may be right he is a nasty man who doesn’t care much for the lower class. In the play, Eva Smith is working for Mr Birling in his factory Eva Smith and some of the other girls from the factory decide to ask Mr Birling for a pay rise.

Of course Arthur wouldn’t have any of this nonsense and sacked Eva along with some of the others. Arthur believed in “Lower costs and higher prices”. He was a man who thought he knew everything he was absolutely certain that there wouldn’t be a WWII and that titanic was unsinkable. This is an example of a rich person’s attitude they didn’t want to listen to the facts because they believed that they were right. Sheila is the daughter of Arthur Birling She is a rich girl who has been deprived from mixing with the lower class because that is the way she was bought up.

She is from a younger generation and seems to have more of an understanding of what is going on in reality. However she took a rather big part in the build up to Eva’s death. When Eva got sacked from Birling and company she went and worked at a little store called Milwards. One day Sheila went shopping with her mother and because she wasn’t in a great mood she decided to take it out on Eva. She saw Eva Smith holding up a dress in front herself. Straight away Sheila got extremely jealous because she looked better in this dress than she did. So she complained about Eva and got her sacked from there, as well.

This act was disgraceful and it was also as if she treated Eva like an animal. Gerald Croft is the son of lord and lady Croft and is planning on marrying Sheila. Arthur really likes the idea of his daughter marrying Gerald but for all the wrong reasons. He sees it as a business opportunity with lord and lady Croft. Gerald also plays a part in the death of Eva he met her at the Palace Bar which was a hangout for prostitutes. He kept her as his mistress but when things got too much he finished it and she was left with nothing again. Sybil is a very snobby character. She does not think that she should have anything to do with the lower class.

Sybil works for a charity where people can go there and ask for things depending on their condition. Eva went there and asked for help but Sybil turned her down because she said her surname was Birling. Sybil believed that she “was fully justified to advise my committee to not allow her claim”. This is a big example of arrogance and snobbery that Sybil believed she had the right to do this. The last character is Eric he is the youngest in the family and is depressed he always drinks and dad and mum do not take a lot of notice of him he is like many of the spoilt rich younger people nowadays who drink and smoke.

Their not happy because they just want a normal life and they lack attention. Along with Sheila Eric also seems to have a good understanding of what goes on in reality. One night when Eric was getting drunk he met Eva and went back to her flat with her she wasn’t going to let him in but he forced himself upon her and raped this made her pregnant and on her last legs. All the family had things that are so arrogant and they haven’t stopped to think what might happen in the long run if they go along with their actions.

When the Inspector calls it seems to shock the whole family that a young girl had committed suicide because of these people it took something as bad as this to happen to a sweet and innocent young girl for them to realise what they had done. When the inspector leaves it seems possible that this was a hoax and that the inspector wasn’t a real one. Arthur says, “This makes a difference. In fact this makes all the difference”. What he means in this line is what he had done to this girl didn’t matter anymore because they wasn’t going to get found for it.

Sheila tries to make them aware that it does still matter and that they had still been bad people. All Arthur was worried about was his reputation he didn’t care that what he did may have caused a girl to take her own life. I agree with J. B Priestly. After all the material I have read and studied the way the people were in those days I could see where he was coming from. He didn’t want people to be blind to what they was doing to the society with there arrogance and there snobbery he wanted everyone to pull together as one and live equally to provide a better community for each other.

The attitudes that certain people were portraying are the sort of attitudes that cause wars and conflicts even today. This a little something J. B Priestly wrote shortly after WWI. “We had a glimpse then of what life might be if men and women freely dedicated themselves not to their appetites and prejudices their vanities and fears but some great communal task”. “Journey into Daylight” J. B Priestly Written By Sean Penny Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE J. B. Priestley section.

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