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English Literature Assignment on 'An Inspector Calls'

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Introduction

English Literature Assignment on 'An Inspector Calls' John Boynton Priestley (1894-1984, I will refer to him as Priestly after this formal Introduction). He was an English writer, born in Bradford. He served in the infantry during World War I. As a newspaper essayist and critic he wrote on a variety of subjects and often revealed his opposition to materialism and mechanisation in society. The publication of two of his early novels made him become a popular novelist. Priestley's major plays include When We Are Married (1938), An Inspector Calls (1946), and Dragon's Mouth (1952); on the latter, he collaborated with his wife, the English archaeologist and writer Jacquetta Hawkes. After declining a knighthood and a peerage, he accepted the Order of Merit from Queen Elizabeth II in 1977. 'An Inspector Calls' is written by J. Priestly and is a play that was written with his knowledge of World War One (WW1). But without any knowledge of the forthcoming war, World War Two (WW2) but he sets the play in 1912 so none of the characters are aware of WW1. ...read more.

Middle

Sheila is happy to have pleased her father because this engagement has a different importance in Mr Birling's mind because he is hoping to become business partners with Gerald's father; "...though Crofts Limited are both older and bigger than Birling and Company- and now you've brought us together...". She doesn't get on particularly well with her brother, Eric; she calls him an "ass" and "squiffy"(meaning drunk) this shows that doesn't like his immaturity. Sheila wants her marriage to be different to the era's normality. In that era men were in control of their marriages but Sheila wanted her marriage to be equal; "Now, Sheila, don't tease him. When you're married you'll realise that men with important work to do sometimes have to spend nearly all their time and energy on their business. You'll have to get used to that, just as I have". During the Inspectors visit Sheila was curious to find out what was happening when she entered the room and saw the Inspector there; "(gaily) What's this about streets? (Noticing the Inspector)." ...read more.

Conclusion

Priestly uses the older generation to represent stronger nations whereas Eva Smith and the younger generation represent the poorer nations. The stronger nations have been seen on many occasions to abuse their power and exploit/abuse the weaker nations. For example the amount of money America spent on bombing Iraq in the second Golf War for just one night could have fed the starving of Ethiopia for three years. And it is also led to believe that the amount of money that America spent in the whole of the second Golf War could have fed the starving of The World for a year. There is also Christian teachings that show power may be owned but to be used correctly; "have domination over the fish of the sea and over the birds and over everything that moves upon the earth"(Genesis 1:28) and "You shall not kill"(Exodus 20:13). In comparison, the younger generation show hope for the future, there's a saying 'the kids of our streets are our future', in the sense that they take responsibility for their actions. They want society to be warned of the "blood, fire and anguish' that abuse of power can cause. . ...read more.

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