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An Inspector Calls: In Act 1, How Does Priestly Create Our Initial Impression of Mr Birling and His Relationship with His Family?

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Introduction

Peter EdmondsonIn Act 1, How Does Priestly Create Our Initial Impression 23/09/2012 of Mr Birling and His Relationship with His Family? In Act 1, How Does Priestly Create Our Initial Impression of Mr Birling and His Relationship with His Family? J. B. Priestley wrote ?An Inspector Calls? in 1945 with the play being set in the spring of 1912. Our initial impression of Mr Birling is that he is proud, optimistic but selfish. However his optimism could also interpreted as foolishness. The sense of pride is shown firstly when he says ?We hard-headed practical business men? and also by the numerous times that he mentions himself being a former Mayor. ...read more.

Middle

Priestley demonstrates this over protection when Birling interrupts Sheila from asking questions about Eva Smith on page 18 by saying "that's enough of that". This shows he does not want her to hear horrid things. Even though she is in her early twenties, it is as if Birling still treats her like a child, as he does on page 21 where he says "Why the devil did you go upsetting the child (Sheila) like that?" It may be that Sheila acts like a child by using words like ?mummy? and ?squiffy?. Although this could be interpreted as Sheila trying to act more upper class than she really is. Mrs Birling is treated more like an object than a person, by Mr Birling. ...read more.

Conclusion

When was this, father?? To which he replies ?Just keep quiet, Eric, and don?t get excited?? and on page 15, Eric says ?It isn?t if you can?t go and work somewhere else.? And again Birling replies, saying ?(to Eric) Look ? just you keep out of this?? Finally, Birling?s relationship with Gerald is more like that of business partners rather than son/father-in-law. For example, Gerald always calls Birling ?Sir? rather than his first name ?Arthur? showing they have not yet developed a ?friendly relationship?. Also Birling seems like he is always trying to show-off to Gerald, as if to say his family is of a high enough class for Gerald to mix with. However, Priestley is very subtle about this, making their relationship, like the relationship with Eric, hard to interpret and therefore adding intrigue to the story. ...read more.

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