GCSE: J.B. Priestley

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John Boynton Priestley's biography

  1. 1 He was born in Yorkshire in 1894. He left school at sixteen because he believed that the world outside the classroom would help him become a writer. He said that it was the years 1911-14 ‘that set their stamp upon me’.
  2. 2 When World War One broke out in 1914, Priestley joined the infantry and by the time he left the army in 1919, he had seen active front-line service and narrowly escaped being killed. These experiences were to influence his future writing.
  3. 3 When he left the army he went to Cambridge University and although he finished his degree, he did not like academia and went to London to work as a freelance writer.
  4. 4 He soon became a successful writer of essays and novels and in 1932 he wrote his first play Dangerous Corner to prove that he could adapt his style for the stage. He soon established himself as a leading figure in the London theatre.
  5. 5 When World War Two broke out in 1939 Priestley continued to write his plays, while also writing and broadcasting on BBC radio. During this time he was producing his best work and wrote An Inspector Calls (1945) about the effects of an individual’s actions and the consequences of those actions.

1,804 GCSE J.B. Priestley essays

  • Marked by Teachers essays 22
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  1. Marked by a teacher

    How does the character Sheila Birlings change in the play An Inspector Calls?

    5 star(s)

    Sheila's responses to the revelations brought by the Inspector are well documented and analysed here, with well-chosen and skillfully-managed references. The essay writer shows us how, in contrast to her…

    • Essay length: 1384 words
    • Submitted: 05/02/2011
    • Marked by teacher: (?) Jeff Taylor 01/07/2013
  2. Marked by a teacher

    Describe the importance of Sheila's role in the play An inspector calls.

    5 star(s)

    An excellent piece of work that has been structured well and executed with a high level of skill. Very few errors and great communication of character means this piece would…

    • Essay length: 674 words
    • Submitted: 05/09/2003
    • Marked by teacher: (?) Laura Gater 05/09/2013
  3. Marked by a teacher

    Explore the way the characters between different generations is developed in An Inspector Calls

    4 star(s)

    There is a good understanding of characters shown in this essay and some analysis of language, structure and form. I would like to to see some more in depth analysis…

    • Essay length: 1466 words
    • Submitted: 11/09/2012
    • Marked by teacher: (?) Laura Gater 24/06/2013
    • Awarding body: AQA (for GCSEs)
  4. Marked by a teacher

    How does Priestley explore the theme of social responsibility in his play An Inspector Calls?

    4 star(s)

    This is a very well written essay, with excellent expression and concise comments. I would like to see further textual references and as it is a play that is being…

    • Essay length: 971 words
    • Submitted: 21/06/2010
    • Marked by teacher: (?) Laura Gater 24/06/2013
  5. Marked by a teacher


    4 star(s)

    There are many strengths to this collection of diary entries. The student has a clear appreciation of the events of the play and the role that the different characters had…

    • Essay length: 2060 words
    • Submitted: 15/06/2005
    • Marked by teacher: (?) Melissa Thompson 26/03/2013
  6. Marked by a teacher

    Discuss the way Sheila and Gerald's relationship evolves through the play. What hope do you think there is for their future happiness together?

    4 star(s)

    An extremely well-structured and sophisticated essay. The response contains an excellent structure and is extremely well-planned, exhibiting much thought. The points made are supported by evidence from…

    • Essay length: 1552 words
    • Submitted: 03/06/2005
    • Marked by teacher: (?) Stephen Evans 01/01/1970
  7. Marked by a teacher

    How does priestly make 'an inspector calls' a dramatic play?

    4 star(s)

    There are some good points made in this essay but some of the ideas are too brief and not explored in enough detail. Try to make links and comparisons to…

    • Essay length: 974 words
    • Submitted: 07/07/2004
    • Marked by teacher: (?) Laura Gater 26/07/2013
  8. Marked by a teacher

    The apportioning of blame and responsibility are central themes in 'An Inspector Calls'. Each character plays a part in Eva Smiths downfall. Show how the playwright explores these themes during the course of the play.

    4 star(s)

    This is a very detailed and well-structured response. The writer is extremely engaged throughout and offers many personal responses which are supported with evidence from the play including quotations.…

    • Essay length: 3811 words
    • Submitted: 02/03/2004
    • Marked by teacher: (?) Stephen Evans 22/04/2013
  9. Marked by a teacher

    An Inspector Calls - Eva Smith's Diary

    4 star(s)

    This is a good piece of writing and on the whole the correct spelling, punctuation and grammar have been used; however there are little errors that would cost marks and…

    • Essay length: 1161 words
    • Submitted: 04/09/2003
    • Marked by teacher: (?) Laura Gater 26/07/2013
  10. Marked by a teacher

    Questions and Answers on "An Inspector Calls"

    3 star(s)

    A good response in which all the points made are correct and demonstrate an understanding of the play. There is a need for further exploration in order to develop…

    • Essay length: 2095 words
    • Submitted: 02/07/2012
    • Marked by teacher: (?) Stephen Evans 07/06/2013

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • To what extent is each character responsible for Eva's death?

    "In conclusion the inspector was a very good role model not just for the audience, but also for the Birling children. Mr Birling was the most responsible for Eva's death as he harmed her first. There were two people that learnt a lot, they were Sheila and Eric Birling. This is because they were able to communicate with the inspector and understand what he said, the inspector may make them change in the future as they are both able to make up their own minds and understand when they have made mistakes. They try to help their parents understand what they have done to Eva and how they caused her to commit suicide. Sheila and Eric will be able to learn from their parent's mistakes, as they are the younger generation. 4"

  • An Inspector Calls Essay - To what extent can the tragedy of Eva Smith be blamed on the society in which she lived.

    "In conclusion to the death of Eva Smith, I don't believe you can blame any of the Birlings as such, as it was also related to social activities that took place in such a short time of Eva's life. If all the strife she went through didn't happen, then I don't believe that Eva smith would have killed herself. So in conclusion, Eva smith's death has to be blamed on a chain of events that unfortunately and unthinkingly happened at the wrong time of her life."

  • Compare and contrast the characters of Mr. Birling and inspector Goole. How does Priestley use dramatic devices to help shape audiences response to view represented in the play.

    "In conclusion Birling and the Inspector are two opposite characters priestley used birling and his views as the audience and the inspector as himself hoping he could change their views as it would help society. Priestly was getting across to the audience the message that, at the end of the day everyone's got to help with society or else all of us will die. Therefore the message is still relevant today "we do not live alone"."

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