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An Inspector Calls - J.B Priestley.

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An Inspector Calls - J.B Priestley The family's feeling before the Inspector arrives is extra ordinary for many reasons. The family is delighted with the engagement of Sheila and Gerald. This has made Mr Birling because especially happy as the marriage between Sheila and Gerald would mean the merging of Gerald's and his own businesses. Mrs Birling also feels the marriage is important because Shelia is marring into a higher social status and a very wealthy family. On top of this Mr Birling is expecting to be on the honours list to becoming a knight. He is so ecstatic that he describes the day as "one of the happiest days of my life." This is quickly changed with the arrival of Inspector Goole. The Inspectors arrival is triggered by Mr Birling mentioning, "a man has to make his own way-has to look after himself-and his family too, of course." As soon as the Inspector arrives the family think nothing of it, assuming he simply wants a warrant. He then announces that a girl has committed suicide by drinking strong disinfectant and this makes the family all very curious and shocked by the thought of such a horrible death. At this point they begin to feel put out, their wonderful dinner has been interrupted and ruined by a "police Inspector" In the beginning the Inspector acts very polite and formal towards the family, but later on this begins to change. ...read more.


Gerald then went on to tell the truth about meeting her in the palace bar, letting her stay in a friends house and supplying her with food and money. This didn't last long and she was forced to move out. Mrs Birling is rude and obnoxious towards the Inspector. When the Inspector asks her a question she feels no need to have to answer. As Mrs Birling does not answer to the Inspector Sheila does instead, eager to find out more. Sheila tries to tell her mother that there is no use trying to cover things up. "I hate to think how much he knows that we don't yet." Eva Smith had come to Mrs Birling's committee desperate for help under the same name as Mrs Birling as she had become pregnant. This is a hint to a twist later on in the story. Mrs Birling strongly believes in social status and this girl was claiming to also be named "Mrs Birling" of a lower class. This could not be accepted. Mrs Birling feels that it is entirely the father's fault for getting Eva Smith pregnant and he should take full responsibility. She turns down Eva's cry for help and admits being prejudiced towards her. Suddenly Sheila begins to cry. She has worked it all out and realised why Eva Smith came to Mrs Birling's committee with the same name, and who should take full responsibility for Eva's pregnancy. ...read more.


Unfortunately for them, Gerald and Mr and Mrs Birling hadn't. This triggered a new phone call informing Mr Birling that a girl had just been brought to the infirmary and a police Inspector was being sent round. This leaves you with the question, "Would this girl have arrived in the infirmary if they had all learnt a lesson from Inspector Goole?" Priestley attempts to convey a message to the audience, he believes that society should be based on compassion and caring. This is shown by his description of Eva Smith and all the other Eva Smiths and John Smiths out there suffering as she did. Eva Smith and John Smith are just names to represent these people in society, just like the unidentified men that fell in the war all being referred to as John Doe. The characters that Priestley used were of a stereotypical family, Mr Birling the money, Mrs Birling the wife, Gerald the fianc�, Sheila the daughter and Eric the son. The characters are very simple; each gets their point across and all serving a purpose in the play. These stereotypical characters are useful to Priestley, they show their high status and attitude towards lower classes. The Inspector successfully conveys Priestley's message about society. This message about working together as a community is strongly put across. Shortly before the Inspector left, he mentioned to Mr Birling, "Public men, Mr Birling have responsibilities as well as privileges." This is still relevant today; a good example is in Northern Ireland. The Roman Catholics want independence yet the Protestants want to stay British. ...read more.

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