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An Inspector Calls Essay

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January 2004 An Inspector Calls Essay by Alex Edwards John Boynton Priestley was one of the most popular, versatile and greatest authors of his day. His works of popular history and literary criticism are numerous, ending with the story of Literature and the western woman. However it was as a playwright and as a social thinker that he was especially important. Politically, J.B. Priestley was a patriotic socialist who did not believe in the case of social class or rich dominancy, he believed that people should help each other and not be so competitive towards others. He hated social class because of the way upper class people took advantage of the working classes. "An Inspector calls" was written in 1912 and based in Brumley; it was one of Priestley's most famous plays and is remembered as a soliditary message to the people of that time. The play was a dramatic combination of action and mortality, action because of the conversations had are exciting and pulsing with emotion and mortality because of the way it sets out a message to people like the Birlings. At the beginning of scene 1, the Birling family and Gerald are having a dinner celebration for the engagement of Sheila Birling and Gerald Croft the son of the man who has been industrially competing with Mr Birling as Crofts Ltd. The dinner gets off to a start as Mr Birling holds a toast mostly consisting of more business than it does wishing well to Sheila and Geralds future. ...read more.


The inspector reminds Sheila of the day she got a girl fired from Milwards because she thought that they were being rude to her when Sheila tried on a dress that didn't look good on her, but in a selfish cruel manner she got paranoid that the girl in Milwards was laughing at her and thinking that she looked a lot better in the dress than Sheila would. This makes Sheila confess that she was jealous of Eva Smith for her beauty and features and got her fired from Milwards as an act of petty revenge, this is the first impression we get of Sheila changing under the influence of the Inspectors questions. At the beginning of the second act there a little argument between Gerald and Sheila about whether she should stay in the room and hear Geralds story, but as Gerald becomes more scared he also gets more feisty and talks to Sheila rudely, " You've been through it- and now you want to see somebody else put through it," to which Sheila starts to make predictions about Geralds thoughts and the Inspector has to calm things down by explaining Sheilas presence in the room. Sheila stays in the room and the Inspector finally begins to ask his questions and Gerald unravels his confession of how he helped Eva Smith from old Meggerty and provided her with somewhere to stay and a small sum of money and how they had made love on several occasions. ...read more.


Sheila's change is like a wake up call for her; she has lived her life in a shallow way and not bothered to learn about the consequences of her actions. When she is told she helped kill a young pretty and innocent girl she changes, she stops taking life for granted and does not fear to give her opinions. She matures into a woman who doesn't want to be like her mother. I think that the inspector was a devise to make the Birlings feel regret and guilt and in some ways John Priestley is trying to express his views by talking through the inspector. J.B. Priestley has done an amazing job of voicing his views in this play and though the story has a predicable ending it changes right at the end with a huge dramatic twist that makes the audience want to read on. In conclusion Priestley has used his own socialist views of life to create a rich higher-class family, which represents real life characters and then placing himself in the play to tell rich higher-class people how he truly feels. In a way, Sheilas change is what he feels people should be like once they realise the error of their ways, and as the great John Boynton Priestley said "we have to fight this great battle, not only with guns in daylight, but alone in the night, communing with our souls, strengthening our faith that in common men everywhere there is a spring of innocent aspiration and good will that shall not be sealed". Priestley has used an "Inspector Calls" as a way of interpretating his feelings and emotions. ...read more.

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