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An Inspector Calls.

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J.B.Priestley was born in Bradford on the 13th September 1894 and in this year his mother died. When he turned 16 he decided to get a job instead of working towards a scholarship. He became a "Junior Clerk" at the local wool firm in 1910. This is where Priestley gained all his understanding. He gained practical work experience in the wool firm. He liked the social company because they all "appreciated one of the arts and preferred real talk and hot argument to social chit chat" These political and elevated class discussions influenced and later dominated the way he wrote. This is maybe why his books are based on middle class citizens. "An Inspector Calls" is what is known as a well made play. It has a progression from ignorance to knowledge and this is shown in the reaction of the characters and the audience. Its plot contains action which flows smoothly and all the parts fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. Priestly wanted his play to have a uniformity of manner and tone with one situation quickly moving on to the next. He felt the best way to do this was to write quickly and this is shown as he finished writing it in a week. The play has a naturalist element as it covers situations which are the same as real life. Priestly doesn't change them to be more extravagant situations but the characters come across as if they were a real family, for example, the daughter of the Birling family (Sheila) ...read more.


Priestly was fascinated about how time works. He set his play based around how a whole situation is repeated just after it has happened, which relates to the passage by Ouspensky. During the play there are three acts. At the end of each one there is always a cliff-hanger. For example, (End of Act 1) "(Sheila) And I hate to think how much he knows that we don't know yet. You'll see. She looks at him almost in triumph. He looks crushed. The door opens and the Inspector appears, looking steadily and searchingly at them. (Inspector) Well?". This is when the Inspector re-enters the room and begins questioning again and Sheila realises that he already knows what they are going to tell him. This is also a part in the suspense theme that is continued throughout the whole play. Right from the start of the play Priestley creates a feeling of suspense. For example, we learn that Mr Birling doesn't really know what he is talking about "(Birling) The Germans don't want war. Nobody wants war, except some half-civilised folks in the Balkans. And Why? There's too much at stake these days. Everything to lose and nothing to gain by war". This example shows that he thinks he knows everything about what's going to happen but we know for example, that there was a war in 1914 and he said that there wasn't going to be. ...read more.


They understand what the Inspector is trying to say, which is getting them to realise what they have done and to change the way they treat people but Mr and Mrs Birling think that now that there will be no public scandal, as they cannot be reported, that everything should go back to the way it was. They think that Sheila and Eric are being childish and tell them to be quiet "(Birling) If you've nothing more sensible to say, Sheila, you'd better keep quiet". What they fail to realise is that they are the ones being childish not Sheila and Eric. The message from Priestley is that the individual and the community have responsibilities. We can all pursue our own self-interests but we have to think about others as well as ourselves. Priestley also read a passage called 'A New Model Of The Universe' written by Ouspensky. It suggested that when we die we come back into the same house and the same people unless we change the circle. If the circle is changed then we move on. When the audience watched this play they would have known what was going to happen in the war and what happened to the Titanic so this would have made a difference to thir view of Mr Birling. Also the way the family wanted to be treated as 'Middle Class' would have been a normal suggestion in 1912 but now we think of people as the similar class even if they live in poorer conditions. By Thomas Coonihan 10R ...read more.

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