An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley

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An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley An Inspector Calls, by J.B. Priestly, is the story of the visit by an Inspector to an apparently normal family, the Birlings. They are celebrating Sheila Birling's engagement to Gerald Croft, who is also present, when the Inspector arrives telling them of the suicide of a young girl called Eva Smith. At first they deny any knowledge of the girl, but as the play goes on the Inspector manages to show that they all helped kill her. Mr Birling had her dismissed from his factory for demanding a small increase in wages; Sheila ordered her to be dismissed from her job in a shop simply because of her pride; Gerald Croft kept her as his mistress before leaving her suddenly; Eric Birling (Mr & Mrs Birling's son) also had an affair with the girl and stole money to keep her living; and Mrs Birling used her influence to deny help to Eva Smith when she needed it most, driving her to suicide. After the Inspector's visit we can see which of the characters have learned their lesson from what the Inspector has said and which are steadfastly clinging to their old beliefs. The differing attitudes between the older and younger characters are shown by their conversations following the Inspector's departure. It is Birling's speech in Act 1 that sets the scene for the action in the play. Birling is confidently talking to Eric and Gerald about what he thinks about the future. He thinks of everything in business terms (for example, he says to Gerald that he hopes that his firm and Gerald's father's will become partners) and also is a man who thinks that a man should make his own way in life and does not believe in living in a "community. He disregards the people who preach this philos... ... middle of paper ... ...ia and the Germans invaded Belgium, sending Britain and France into battle. The result was a hellish war in which millions died. Had the countries been able to live together then there would not have been a war. The fact that the play was written in the midst of the Second World War suggests that Priestly was saying that the lessons of what happened in the First World War had not been learned. In summary, An Inspector Calls details the differing attitudes of the Birling family to the events leading to Eva Smith's death and how they accept the responsibility for their actions. The older characters are too rigid to change but the younger ones are able to see their faults and accept what they have done is wrong. The play also reflects various cultural, social and historical, which reflect on the time both in which the play is set in and when it was written.
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