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An Inspector calls - blame for the death of Eva Smith.

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Introduction

An Inspector calls An Inspector Calls, by J.B. Priestly, is the story of a visit by an Inspector to an apparently normal family, the Birlings. They are celebrating Sheila Birling's engagement to Gerald Croft, when the Inspector arrives to tell them of the suicide of a young girl called Eva Smith. At first they deny any knowledge of the girl, but as the play proceeds the Inspector manages to show that they all contributed towards her death. 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 because Eva had laughed at her when she saw Sheila with the hat on; Sheila took offence to this and told the manager to sack her. Gerald Croft kept her as his mistress before leaving her suddenly; Eric Birling also had an affair with Eva 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. ...read more.

Middle

She still maintains that she has done nothing that she is ashamed of, even though the Inspector warns her that she will "spend the rest of her life regretting what she has done. Finally, she states that, "you have no power to change my mind", showing that she has learnt nothing from the interview. She tries to shift blame onto others by blaming Eva and the young man who was the father of the baby. Mrs. Birling is shocked when she discovers that this young man is actually her son Eric and when he screams at her she begins to waver for the only time in the play. The stage direction describes her as "very distressed" and she begins to moan, "No - Eric - please - I didn't know..." However, she soon recovers and joins Birling in condemning Eric, saying that "I'm absolutely ashamed of you". She also, like Birling, is delighted when the Inspector is exposed as a fake and even tries to pretend that she knew all along that this was so. This is absolutely untrue as she was as taken in by the Inspector as much as all the others. When the whole story about Eva Smith is revealed to be untrue, she is able to believe that the whole story was ...read more.

Conclusion

Whereas the older people such as Mr. And Mrs. Birling stick to their ideas and don't let go until the end. The Final point is how Priestly uses the double bluff to add a twist to the story, as in one chapter the Birling's are being scrutinized for their actions towards Eva Smith, then in the next chapter there is the relief when they find out that the Inspector is not really an inspector and has never been one. In the last chapter the phone rings and Birling answers. His face drops and he tells his family that a girl has just died outside the infirmary of poisoning and that an Inspector is on the way to talk to the Birling's. Priestly uses the double bluff very well to add a twist to the story showing that in the end only the younger of the Birling Family e.g. Eric and Sheila are remorseful for their actions and that Mrs. Birling and Mr. Birling have stuck to their previous ideas and have not changed for the better. 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. ...read more.

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