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GCSE: J.B. Priestley
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John Boynton Priestley's biography
- 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 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 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 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 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.
In act one of “An Inspector Calls” how does Priestley use dramatic devices to convey his concerns and ideas to the members of the audience, as well as interest and involve them in his play?
The setting of the play is in one room and this allows the audience to focus on the play itself and what the characters are saying. The room is described as "Heavily comfortable" and this gives the impression of wealth and a high standard of living. Combined with the "pink and intimate" lighting, the audience get the impression of a happy and prosperous family that are celebrating some good news. However, when the Inspector walks into the room, the lighting is changed to be "brighter and harder" to match the change of mood that the Inspectors news brings to the celebration.
Who is to blame for the death of Eva Smith?Each member of the family plays a role that led to her death therefore to find the most blameful for the death.
He is responsible for forcing her to find a different occupation plus start a novel uncomfortable life. Even though he has got a right to sack her but he don't recognize that "We don't live alone... also he does not think what he does. Sheila a selfish girl, she just uses her to back up her plan so no one is in her way, she is jealous of nice-looking girls that's why she is jealous of her, therefore she is backing up so no one can compare her with Eva. Mr Gerald's opinion of being apologetic for her, now called Daisy Renton, is understandable.
- Word count: 655
The inspector's tone becomes prophetic as his final speech goes on, he talks how the world will change and soon. He talks of fire and pain and destruction, this could relate to the world wars that are coming. Then after this huge climax and build up the inspector leaves them. The family are in shock and awe.
- Word count: 398
What Priestly main concern was that the Birlings were not taking their consequences for their action. The genre of The Inspector Calls is a thriller and detective as you do not know what is going to happen next. Also you are constantly discovering more about the characters to reveal more of the plot to the audience. The play is also has a detective to show that there is a sense of mystery as the audience dose not know the full story at the beginning they only know it at the end.
- Word count: 830
It is also essential how this essay states the time period's of when the play was set, as it provides an overview of additional background information, from which one can undertake the social and economic status at the time. Also the added emphasis over the staging devices used is highly essential, as this shows the gestures displayed between the various characters within the play, and can highlight a key aspect linked to their behavioural status.
- Word count: 459
Another example of dramatic irony is when Birling says "there isn't a chance of war". The audience know that there have been two wars - World War One and World War Two - since 1912, and the Second War has only just finished. Because people will also have had friends or relatives who had died in the war, Birling saying "there isn't a chance of war" could have affected members of the audience quite radically. Birling's examples of optimism - the war and the Titanic - also teach us not to be too optimistic.
- Word count: 971
I need a good night's sleep where I'm not waking up every 10 minutes, scared, cold and hungry. Ever since Gerald left me, I've never been the same since. Just like that he ended it. He was my one and only love. He was the perfect man for me, he comforted me, he protected me, he gave me more than I ever asked for. So what if we were of different classes, true love overcomes everything in its way. I thought he was my key to happiness, I was wrong...as usual. I regret it, everyday; I should have never said I was ok with him leaving.
- Word count: 548
They thought it was socially unethical, whereas in 1945 the evacuations and workforce of the war didn't give the people any choice, but to communicate with each other and this lead to a less sturdy class system and more people mixing, even after 1945. Dramatic irony is used mainly in the text of Mr Birlings speech to Gerald Croft, stating his opinions on the events of the near future. Birling believes "there isn't a chance of war" and that the titanic is "absolutely unsinkable", however the irony of this speech is that the audience watching in 1945 know that there were two world wars and that the Titanic did sink on its first journey.
- Word count: 925
Sheila, the most innocent of all in the family, is probably the most honest and kindest character out of the other Birling's. Gerald, the one who Sheila is engaged to, is a sly, despicable person, who is from a rich family known as the Crofts. Inspector Goole, perceived by the audience at the beginning, sees him as more of a interrogator than a inspector, he demands answers in a more direct manner, instead of saying it
- Word count: 560
In this section I will compare the realistic and the moralistic aspects of the novel. I am going to compare Inspector Goole to a regular inspector, like a real inspector he interrogates the family with the purpose of gaining evidence and he doesn't drink on duty. The inspector takes control of the situation, uses his evidence in a methodical and strategic way, as a real inspector would. In contrast unlike a real inspector he questions what they did as if they could change it which of course isn't a possibility.
- Word count: 992
Priestley uses the word 'responsible' explicitly here to transmit his message across to the audience. The Inspector says this because as an individual he didn't think they worked as a community who showed affection or liability for one another. Lastly the inspector says ''look after one another as brother and sisters'' this emphasises that no matter the race, colours shape size and nationality etc we are all human and most look out for each other. In the bible it says 'love your neighbour as you love yourself'' if you can do that to yourself surely you can show love for others after all we all live once unlike cats.
- Word count: 805
The inspector than unravels her story and the involvement of each family member is confessed. The social and historical context of the play is important. In the days where the play was set social position was more important than it is today. Men who invested in their own companies, like Mr.Birling were very wealthy. Marriage was an important thing especially when a woman was marrying a man socially superior, for example Shelia & Gerald. In 1893 workers like Eva Smith didn't have rights and weren't taken seriously by employer. If they didn't like how much they were getting paid or didn't like the work conditions, they could leave and no one would care.
- Word count: 860
As a terrible punishment she is forced by her aunt, which has absolutely no sympathy for her to be put in the red room. Imagery is created with the associations of the red room. The room is red; Bronte uses the colour red to symbolize anger, passion, fear and danger as well as death. The red room was the room that Jane's uncle died, " it was this chamber he breathed his last; here he lay in state ". Jane was clearly terrified about the prospect about being locked in this room, with gloomy associations.
- Word count: 805
The Birling's were regular customers at Millwards. Shelia was there one day, and tried a dress on. Eva was explaining something to her other customer and leaned the dress up against her. Eva and her customer was smiling and Shelia took it as if they were implying; "Don't she look awful". Sheila's jealously then kicked in and she went to the manager of Millwards and demanded that;" If they don't get rid of Eva, I'd never go near that place again, and I'd persuade my mother to close the account". As Shelia's mother Sybil was a great customer to Millwards they wouldn't want to loose Sybil and The Birlings family's custom.
- Word count: 975
Priestley wanted to make use of this outcome and encourage people to seize the opportunity the end of the war had given them, to build a better, more caring society, a more egalitarian society. Priestley deliberately set his play in 1912 because the date represented an era when all was very different from the time he was writing, a direct opposite of how he wanted it. At this time, Edwardian times supported a class system which had a clear distinction between upper and lower classes..
- Word count: 875
During the Inspector's interrogation, Eric illustrates socialist views, and also takes more responsibility whereas Gerald is more capitalist. Although Eric takes more responsibility during the cross-examination, Gerald took more responsibility during his relationship with Eva. Eric was less conscious of what he was doing at the time of relationship and seems to be less loyal towards his parents than Gerald. In addition to this, Eric did not arrange Eva again whereas Gerald did. Another difference between the two is that Eric offered marriage to Eva whilst Gerald didn't even contemplate it. Gerald resists the interrogation and starts to fight back towards the end, dissimilarly though, Eric admits his bad actions almost immediately and repents.
- Word count: 621
His didactic approach and discourse exudes an impression of omniscience causing the audience to trust him and all in which he represents, therefore condemning his counterpart, Mr. Birling. Mr. Birling is displayed as a prosperous factory owner, a 'self made man'. Economically and politically he is a strong believer of the capitalist system. 'We employers at last are coming together to see that our interests - and the interests of Capital - are properly protected.' Despite his position in society, 'I was Lord Mayor', Priestley portrays Mr.
- Word count: 643
In An Inspector Calls, how does J. B. Priestley use Inspector Goole to make each character realise how responsible they are for the death of Eva?
The first character the inspector speaks to is Mr Birling. Mr Birling played a part in Eva's suicide by sacking her because she asked for better wages. The inspector shows him a photograph which reminds him of Eva and the strike she was the ring-leader in. Mr Birling does not see how he should be responsible for what happened to Eva after he sacked her. "I can't accept responsibility", this tells us that Mr Birling is ignorant, selfish and proves that he cares more about his business than his employees.
- Word count: 950
The inspector is shown to be a socialist, therefore he believes in helping and looking after each other. The Inspector wants to teach the Birling's how to behave towards other people. This play tells us about Priestly's concerns. It tells us priestly wants the audience to look after each other and help other people. This is because he is concerned about the way rich people treated poorer people at that time The genre this play belongs to is mystery. This because the plot of the play is very miseries and it keeps you guessing until the very end.
- Word count: 877
The most emotional scene in the play is when Sheila Birling hears of the horrible death of Eva Smith. As the plot unfolds, she finds herself more involved with her death than previously thought. She then finds out that her fianc�e also knew the girl, as he had spent the previous summer with her using her as his mistress. Sheila, normally a very excitable and complacent girl, immediately becomes upset when she hears of Eva's death. "(Distressed) I went to the manager at Milwards and I told him that if they didn't get rid of that girl, I'd never go near the place again and I'd persuade mother to close our account with them."
- Word count: 660
The play is a mystifying and exhilarating mix of many themes, including greed, vanity and rejection, as well as love, sex and secrecy. I feel that the play conveys a deep message without being melodramatic. 'An Inspector Calls' tells of the bourgeoisie Birling family celebrating the engagement of their daughter Sheila to an aristocratic man, Gerald Croft. The catalyst to the play, Inspector Goole, arrives and completely alters the situation, by forcing all the characters to examine their own consciences, which leads to a dramatic ending.
- Word count: 534
Preistley also uses dramatic irony to ridicule Birlings speeches on the titanic "unsinkable, totally unsinkable" this produces a differetn meaning of the audience than of the immediate listeners. this could also be seen as a metaphor of Birlings own family and prestigous position, which he apparently sees as "unsinkable". Timing is another, critical dramatic device used by Preistley, for instance the entrance of the inspector is at a time when Birling is giving a rather pompuous, self inflated speech on how "a man has to look after himself and his own".
- Word count: 809
Priestly main moral was "To care for others as much as you would care for your self." Another theme I could discuss is class. Apart from Edna the maid, the play doesn't include any lower class characters. However we hear a lot about the lower class as we hear about every step in Eva Smiths life. There are lots of upward characters like Arthur Birling and Gerald Croft. I think Birling looked at Eva Smiths as cheap labour while he was going to be rewarded a knighthood, this means going upper-class.
- Word count: 891
Through the presentation of the character Inspector Goole, how does the audience realise that 'An Inspector Calls' by J.B Priestly is a twentieth century morality play?
'He is a man of his fifties, dressed in a plain darkish suit of the period. He speaks carefully, weightily and has a disconcerting habit of looking hard at the person he addresses before actually speaking' this description gives an impression of an alpha dominant male typical of an Inspector. Before the Inspector enters the lighting is pink and intimate reflecting the mood which is joyful as there has been a celebration, however when the Inspector enters the lighting terns brighter and harder, giving an impression that he's here to throw light on the situation.
- Word count: 965
- Word count: 512