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An Inspector Calls - In 1894 J.B Priestley was born into a middle class family in Bradford.

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Introduction

An Inspector Calls In 1894 J.B Priestley was born into a middle class family in Bradford. As his grandparents were working class, Priestley had an insight into both social tiers and the strong divide between them. Priestley became bombarded with opinions from a multi-talented philosophical social reformer, George Bernard Shaw. George Bernard Shaw believed an improvement in human nature was long overdue and the quote 'It's all that the young can do for the old, to shock them and keep them up to date' left a permanent impression in Priestley's thoughts that would later influence his writing. Throughout his lifetime Priestley saw many unnecessary disasters such as lower class people dying from the cold, mill explosions and an unemployment epidemic with a lack of government assistance. The liberating suffragette movement combined with the eloquent influence of H.G Wells throughout it allowed Priestley to accept society changing as a possible occurrence. Although, the tragedy of death and destruction caused by the First World War shook society, these mistakes were not only repeated, but also magnified in the Second World War. Witnessing these unnecessary disasters, Priestley began to form strong opinions about the problems in society. In 1945, when the Second World War ended, Priestley wrote 'An Inspector Calls' in Moscow and incorporated the communist views of the Soviet Union with the opinions of H.G Wells and George Bernard Shaw. ...read more.

Middle

One example of Priestley's ideas about social status being unrelated to ones nobility, is communicated through the inspector as he says 'Sometimes there isn't as much difference as you think.' In response to 'we're respectable citizens and not criminals, Priestley did not want too much attention concentrated on who the inspector was, but to the points he made. As a result the inspector spoke concisely with little emotion or information about himself, he would either ask a question 'She talked about herself.', a comment to show he was listening such as 'Go on' or a judgmental comment such as 'I was looking at what was left of Eva Smith. A nice promising life there, I thought, and a nasty mess somebody's made of it' referring to the Birling family symbolising the destruction cause by someone's unnecessary action to instigate a war. Unlike conventional police inspectors, it becomes apparent he thinks he is entitled to pass judgement on the character's actions in the play. It raises many questions about who is the inspector, maybe he is a police inspector or a hoaxer or something greater than a human being and Priestley aims to convince his readers of the inspectors views. The inspector's judgmental comments transform the detective story into a moralistic tale and the audience seems to connect to Eric and Sheila's views that 'Whoever the chap [inspector] was, the fact remains that I did what I did' and so agreed it is irrelevant whoever the inspector is. ...read more.

Conclusion

Perhaps Gerald is just attempting to satisfy Mr and Mrs Birling as they are his future in laws. To regain some creditability after the revealing of Gerald's actions he is determined to impress Mr and Mrs Birling by suggesting 'Was it a hoax?' As Mr and Mrs Birling are so anxious to remove their blame they congratulate Gerald immediately 'I must say, Gerald you've argued this very cleverly, and I'm most grateful.' Priestley conveys his message forcefully throughout the play, he introduces Mr Birling as an un-likeable character so the audience can accept the inspectors remarks about Birlings views. As Priestley aimed in this play at the younger generation audience, he involved many techniques to persuade them to his views, such as building up selfish characters to warn the young audiences this is what they will become. Priesltey included young, ignorant characters who the young audience can identify with, when Eric and Sheila are shown the effect of their actions, they immediately take responsibility, as he hoped the young audience would. The inspector constantly says many righteous comments, which become more effective as the play proceeds. As the audience and characters are slowly worn down by the increasing amount of evidence, the inspector says a speech that the characters can not argue with as the inspector's views have so much evidence supporting it. The dramatic structure increases to the tension that intrigues the audiences and forces them to think about the issues. ...read more.

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