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an inspecter

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Introduction

"An Inspector Calls" is a play that was written by John Boynton Priestley. He uses the play as an example of what can happen if we are ignorant to the feelings of others. In the play many characters are symbolized as stereotypical social figures who state extremist social views and he uses them to exploit the bias in social class in this period. Many upper class families of the time were only concerned with individual gain and profit and it is this superfluous materialism, which Priestley tries to uncover. These character figures mirror that of particular figures in today's society. In this essay I will explore these comparisons and views. Firstly, Arthur Birling the father of the household who views himself as a "hard-headed business man", a phrase which he constantly repeats in a self-complimentary manner. This phrase for him represents that he was not born in to wealth; he made his own money through business and gradually climbed up the social ladder. A fact that he ignores and emphasizes to his benefits. "That's something this public-school-and-varsity life you've had had doesn't seem to teach you" and "They worked us hard in those day and kept us short of cash". This represents pride that he made himself but also a small part of jealousy and resentment toward the people who were born into wealth. The feeling that he has grinded his way to the top while Royals and the aristocracy has been handed it on a plate from birth can be noted in any society or date. ...read more.

Middle

Sybil appears more guiltless and heartless than even Arthur "I think she had only herself to blame". Despite being a woman she is not the least bit concerned of Eva's death and is constantly stubborn to the inspector who plays her into blaming the father of Eva's child, who was she didn't figure out to be Eric. When Sheila calls Eric squiffy, slang for drunk, Sybil Birling is shocked that a young girl knows slang phrases such as this. "Sheila! Really the things you girls pick up these days!" Eric replies "If you think that's the best she can do" but is interrupted by Sheila insulting him. This brief piece of dialogue symbolizes the generation gap between Sybil and Sheila. Sheila knowing swear words bemuses Sybil. Nothing has changed today with the younger generation swearing, robbing and collecting ASBOs earlier and earlier in life. To Sybil like many present day parents it's a shock to her system that the early ages of innocence no longer exists. Another major piece of evidence of Edwardian women's place is just a few sentences before when Sheila brings up the time when Gerald ignored for Daisy Renton. "When you're married you'll realise men with important work to do sometimes have to spend nearly all of their time and energy their business. You'll have to get used to that just as I did". This shows that perhaps Sybil's mother has taught her that it is acceptable for men of this social class in some ways ...read more.

Conclusion

Despite not actually having done anything negative to her at all just the fact that he was with Sheila at the same time being unfaithful made it unpleasant. Gerald represents someone who has been strongly influenced by his father and inherited his mentality despite the generation gap. However from his peers he doesn't show a particular disgust for lower classes as is implied about Lady Croft. A figure from an upper class background exposed to the working-class in a relationship could appear in any generation. Priestley used Gerald as the missing link between Birling and Sheila's views. In "An Inspector Calls" Priestley uses the inspector as a crusader of the working-class. You gather the impression Priestley himself was a socialist and a lot of his views are expresses through the form of the Inspector. You feel a lot of the Birlings are intimidated by the Inspectors impolite manner and ghostly image. In conclusion JB Priestley placed the characters very carefully to fulfil the needs of the social statement he embarked on in "An Inspector Calls". They are extreme versions of a stereotypical character designed to emphasize the roles of gender and class. Things that Priestley himself blatantly objected to. These characters probably still existed when the play was made in 1946 however more interesting is that even after the play was first performed, sixty years after in fact, is that these characters and extreme antisocial views are present and popular in modern day society. This is why "An Inspector Calls" is still ever popular and still flooding schools and classrooms today. ...read more.

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