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An Inspector Calls.

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An Inspector Calls John Boynton Priestley was born in Bradford, 1894. He didn't go to university he left school, he says, because he wanted to write. He wrote a wide variety of works including novels, reviews, plays and broadcasting material but his favourite form was theatre and drama. He wrote comedies, works of social observation (what he saw in society) and social criticism (what he saw that was wrong in society). "An Inspector Calls" is a work of social criticism. He did not however confine his activities to literature. He served as a delegate (representative) to a branch of the United Nations and played an important part in the formation of the CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) He also saw himself as having a social as well as a literary role and he was probably last in a line of writers at his time who were concerned with political and social issues like H.G Wells and G.B Shaw (both mentioned in the play by Mr. Birling in a disparaging way). He continued to write and speak out until the later years of his life and died in 1984. Act One The foundations of the play are laid. Set in Brumley a manufacturing town in the north, it is spring 1912 in the sitting room of the affluent Birling family. ...read more.


Two more characters, Gerald Croft and Mrs. Birling, come under scrutiny. Also as in Act One, one is receptive to what the Inspector is saying and the other isn't. Gerald appears the less blameworthy in this act because he shows care towards Eva Smith and rescued her from the drunken man- he claims it was only through pity that he provided her with a flat, no other motive. Gerald is the first character to offer kindness to her, not coldness and rejection. Her response to Gerald arises from loneliness and gratitude which is pathetic because she keeps a diary just to make it longer. Mrs B is a contrast. Even after admitting to turning the girl away she turns defensive. She turned the girl away because she's snobby about girls of Eva's class and because she used her name. She believed that the father should be compelled to take responsibility- irony (dramatic effect). She condemns herself out of her own mouth. Charity for her is an ironic misnomer (applying wrong name to something). She also shuts out the girls who would have been carrying her grandchild. In turning her away, she inadvertently is killing her grandchild. Eva is displaying "finer feelings" than Mrs Birling herself. ...read more.


What they have learnt Mrs Birling is least affected- she said she would do it again. Birling is mostly concerned about his knighthood, publicity and money lost. Sheila is very affected- has a real guilt and this has altered her life forever. Eric's life has been altered somewhat but not to the extent of Sheila's. Gerald may change depending on whether or not Sheila takes him back. Twists in this Act We suspect that the Inspector is probably a fake. For the older Birlings they feel as if they've been let of- free to go as if nothing has happened. The younger Birlings feel that they have done what they've done regardless of whether or not the Inspector was real. The family try to find a way out- explore the ideas that it might have been several girls that were involved. After the call to the Infirmary they feel relieved. The final twist is the closing moment. The telephone call announces the imminent arrival of a police Inspector. They are thrown back into guilt and confusion, making us as the audience review our understanding of Inspector Goole because we have gone through the stage too. At first the Inspector appeared genuine, unusual character but then we find out it's a scam making it more sinister. The audience are left thinking and talking about it. It also completes the play, and finishes more or less where it began. ...read more.

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