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An Inspector Calls deals with many class issues - These are reflected in the social and historical settings and through characters.

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An Inspector Calls deals with many class issues. These are reflected in the social and historical settings and through characters. J.B Priestley's 'An Inspector Calls' is set in the Birling household, an upper middle class family. The plot of the play is set around the Birling family's involvement in a young girl's suicide. The Birling family consists of the two parents, Arthur and Sybil Birling and their two children Eric and Sheila. Gerald Croft is soon to become a member of the family as he has recently announced his engagement to Sheila. As the story unfolds we find that each of the family members is partly to blame however Priestley has made it deliberately difficult to place the blame sorely on one person. Mr Birling is described by Priestley as 'heavy looking, rather portentous...in his middle fifties with fairly easy manners....rather provincial in his speech." Birling is fairly successful in his line of work and is always striving to become better. He is self-important and slightly pompous. He could even be described as old fashioned. However the audience could perceive him as a warm character. He is a prosperous factory owner and is not the social equal of his wife. He is 'a self made man.' His first priority is to make money 'It's my duty to keep labour cost down' It is obvious at the end ...read more.


Sheila Birling is questioned next by the Inspector. Sheila is the daughter of the family and is described as ," a pretty girl in her early twenties...pleased about life...excited" The audience could see her as a sweet lively young girl who appreciates life in her little bubble that is the house and lifestyle which surrounds her. This makes her quite naive and immature. Sheila first became acquainted with Ms Smith when Eva received a job at Milwards, a well known department store. Sheila and her mother made purchases at this store frequently. Eva worked as a sales assistant at this store and Sheila got Eva fired when she lost her temper at her for smiling at her in a way which she found offensive. Sheila could be compared to her father as she too helped to cause Eva's death by getting her sacked from her job but here the similarities end. Upon hearing of Ms Smith's death, Sheila feels immediately responsible and wishes to take on all of the blame. As she feels so guilty when in fact she did relatively little, I believe that Sheila is not solely to blame. She also continues to feel guilty after learning that there was not an Eva Smith. She still feels that her acts were immoral and that they should not have done everything which they had done as it may have affected someone else. ...read more.


The class difference between Daisy/Eva and the others is important because it shows the way upper class people view and treat working class people. The affairs which went on between Eva/Daisy, Gerald and Eric show that she didn't mean anything to them even though she might have had a place to stay for a while she will have known in the back of her mind this was only temporary. If anything we would expect her to get another job and work harder as she has experienced a better life but this fails to enter her mind. This play shows us that class does matter even thought some countries are working towards a time where classes won't be an issue because everyone will be treated the same way. I don't think there will be a time because there are too many things, not just money but traditions and the way of life is different to a point where some are looked at and labelled as strange for doing something differently. A family like the Birlings may have to change the way they live forever and might not like it but it is a price they have to pay for being rich and having more than the average family. Claire Sizer ...read more.

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