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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.

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  1. Consider the dramatic importance of the entrance of the Inspector in Act 1 and his exit in Act 3

    Likewise his exit lulls the family into a false sense of security. A sense of security that is promptly removed from them. The play is set in 1912,however it was written in 1945. Therefore Priestley uses the power of retrospect to plant clever irony throughout the play. I believe Priestley had a didactic purpose to tell a moral story as a product of the play. The props used are that of a typical wealthy household from the early twentieth century, however Priestley gives these "normal" objects a lot more emphasis. Birling is an extremely pompous and arrogant character.

    • Word count: 565
  2. An Inspector Calls

    The novel is a traditional mystery, which reveals about the suicide of a girl. An Inspector Calls is more an ironic novel, because there is not really a criminal for this case. J.B. Priestley tries to tell the audience about the difference between Capitalism and Socialism. In fact nobody really killed Eva Smith, but the whole Birling Family was involved in her death. The main theme in this novel is taking responsibility about each other and not being selfish.

    • Word count: 549
  3. An Inspector Calls

    Birling mentions about the Titanic not sinking, and 1945 when the play was written was when the second world was ended. Priestley's main concerns where showing people that all actions have consequences, and people need to be more thoughtful before they do things. The Inspector's wants to teach the Birling's that all actions trigger a chain of events no matter what that action is and that actions not only hurt people they're aimed at but at other people as well.

    • Word count: 775
  4. Inspector Calls

    Priestley's plays are very different to traditional detective thrillers, as Priestly sets all of his plays in the same scenery which is different to others. Other detective thrillers normally have detectives following up on clues leading them to the culprits. J.B Priestley's play is important because it was written during the Second World War. The audience would have experienced the First World War and the titanic sinking. In the play Mr Birling talks about world peace and the titanic being the strongest ship ever, which is odd because another war was happening and the titanic had sunk.

    • Word count: 748
  5. How does the writer convey his views in the play?

    The audience's first impressions of the play are that it is a straightforward detective thriller. We are introduced to each member of the Birling family, then the Inspector arrives with the news of Eva Smith's suicide. We hear several 'important revelations', which allow us to make our own assumptions about who played the biggest part in driving Eva to her death. Each act ends on a cliffhanger. Because the inspector seems to know everything, the characters are driven to make their confessions by being cleverly led on by the inspector. As the involvement of each member of the family is established, the play becomes a 'whodunit' with the Inspector gradually unravelling the history of Eva Smith.

    • Word count: 866
  6. Who, in your opinion, is most responsible for the death of Eva Smith/Daisy Renton? Compare and contrast the characters and actions of the five central characters, using evidence from the text to justify your opinion.

    She had a lot to say, far too much, she had to go"(Act one pg. 15 Mr Birling) this shows she's willing to stand up for herself and also shows Mr Birling's ruthless nature, or perhaps she's already hard done by and needs the money. Compared to the other characters, Mr Birling is very selfish and only thinks about himself, his company and family. Mr Birling sees his workers as cheap labour and cares more about productivity than the welfare of his workers.

    • Word count: 877
  7. Role Of the inspector

    Priestley very strongly believed that everyone should be equal. This influenced and framed Priestley's writing. Inspector Goole is the most important character in the play because he is the catalyst for the events that take place. In the inspectors speeches Priestley uses a lot of his political views and uses the inspector as a kind of mouthpiece for his socialism. The Inspectors last speech, just before he leaves, was very powerful and was very similar to a politician's. The inspector turns the blame onto the whole of society by mentioning that the problem did not lie with just Eva Smith

    • Word count: 854
  8. An Inspector Calls - Discuss How the Inspectors Presence Creates Dramatic Importance

    One of Priestley's main concerns was to compare the differences between society in 1945 and in 1912. During the time the play was set were years of great industrial unrest, where many people with businesses were becoming rich. The play discusses the issues of capitalism and socialism, and Priestly makes it clear what his message to the audience is, wanting them to be aware of the idea of actions and consequences, and how people must look out for one another as a community, as opposed to only thinking of themselves. The head of the household, Mr Birling, is shown as ignorant and stubborn, and Priestley uses dramatic irony to show this.

    • Word count: 976
  9. inspector calls

    The story so far goes that the Birling's and Gerald Croft are sitting around a table enjoying a meal. This is when "an inspector calls" to talk to Mr Birling. The inspector tells Mr Birling the bad news, that a girl has committed suicide, later we find out that this girl (Eva smith/Daisy Renton) was once employed in Mr Birling's business, but had been discharged. After that the inspector started interrogating Sheila Birling and we find out that she also met the girl and had her fired from a job at the shop Milwards which was her last solid job.

    • Word count: 594
  10. An inspector calls

    The Inspector is a main figure of authority and controls the situation. The line, "I don't know yet, that's something I'll have to find out". He is open with the fact that he doesn't know the answer, but still retains control, by explaining that he will still find it out. The word "yet" is key in the portrayal of the Inspector's authoritative character. It proves that he doesn't know all the in formation at this time but will be able to manipulate the other characters to get his answers.

    • Word count: 861
  11. How does Priestly show the inspector to be more than just an inspector

    The Inspector's appearance, as said in the book, creates at once "at once an impression of massiveness solidity and purposefulness" This, to me, implies purposefulness beyond his own police duties, and he remains strong and solid as described throughout. The timing of his appearance is also significant. He arrives just at the point Birling is lecturing to his family "a man has to mind his own business and look after himself and his own and-". Priestley has written that he is to arrive at this point to show that the inspector is to position himself in the way of Birling's

    • Word count: 942
  12. an inspector calls

    The play is set in 1912, but it was written and performed more than thirty years later. This allows Priestley to make Mr. Birling seem even more stupid. In 1912 the Titanic is about to set sail and the prospects of a first world war are looking more and more likely. In Act I Mr Birling talks about these points when he says "nobody wants war as there is too much to lose and nothing to gain;" he also says "the Titanic is unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable". As these events had already happened when this play was written, Priestley uses dramatic irony to show how Mr Birling thinks he is right about everything when we know he is wrong.

    • Word count: 924
  13. An Inspector Calls

    This would give the impression you should listen to the Inspector as he makes a lot more sense and isn't so much of an idiot. The Inspector wants to remind every character about their actions, 'But each of you helped kill her. Remember that'. Priestly uses personal pronouns and short sentences so that what he says stays in your head. This allows you to remember them later and do something different in your life. The effect that these two sentences have on the characters is that it makes them extremely guilty for what they have done.

    • Word count: 757
  14. Which character emerges least well from his/her involvement with Eva Smith?

    This left Eva Smith on the streets, and when she met Gerald Croft, Sheila's fianc�, Eva fell in love. Gerald could have been one of the only people in the family who tried to help Eva - giving her love and hope; however, this didn't last long seeing as Gerald took it all away from her again. This made Eva Smith even more vulnerable than before, and after she became pregnant from Eric, the son of the Birlings, she went to an organisation that helps young women in need. One of the main organisers of this committee was Mrs Birling, the woman of the family, who carelessly rejected Eva Smith because she felt Eva did not deserve to be given a better life for personal reasons.

    • Word count: 803
  15. an inspector calls essay

    In the opening of the play Priestly uses dramatic devices to draw in the audience. The Play is set In the dining room where it is "heavily comfortable but not cosy and homelike". This creates an impression that though the family are wealthy, successful, and of the upper class, there is lack of family warmth. This reveals that the characters in the Birling family are deprived of familial warmth and affection. I think Priestly gives such a detailed description of the stage set because, he wants to accurately reflect a specific period in time, and also as the setting doesn't change through out the play its best to get it right the first time.

    • Word count: 840
  16. Character Study Of Eva Smith In An Inspector Calls

    These personal details show the audience that Eva's death was a tragic waste. While questioning the Birlings, the Inspector repeatedly reminds them of her gruesome death, saying "she wasn't very pretty when I saw her today". The contrast between the Birlings' description of Eva and the Inspector's account of "what was left" of her in the infirmary exaggerates on how thoroughly the Birlings have destroyed her life. Eva's physical description is not realistically known as different members of the Birling family describe different things.

    • Word count: 566
  17. How far is the inspector a believable policeman?

    "The Titanic sails next week absolutely unsinkable." This shows how nieve Mr. Birling is. The First World War also takes place soon after. The Inspector plays a crucial part in the play; he brings out the characters secrets and shows them for whom they really are. He plays the main role in the play, as without him the revelations of all characters would not come out. The police inspector Goole is seen as genuine at first. Considering the inspector of being a fraud doubts the reader's mind when the inspector interrogates the Birling family.

    • Word count: 823
  18. Inspector calls english

    Why did you refuse?" and Mr Berling replies in a bullying way when he says "Well, Inspector, I don't see that it is any concern of yours how I choose to run my business. Is it now?" Throughout the play the Inspector brings the characters out of everyone. The Inspector also brings out all the secrets throughout the play about how they were partly to blame about the death of Eva Smith we can tell this were he says "I had an idea it might be from something the girl herself wrote" and Sheila says "I've told my farther - he didn't seem to

    • Word count: 833
  19. In act one of 'An Inspector calls' how does J B Priestley use dramatic devices to convey his concerns and ideas

    This makes us think how we can apply this to our own lives and help us change as people. J B Priestley uses a variety of dramatic devices to influence and gain the attention of the audience; one of these devices is dramatic irony. He uses this device very well, for example he talks about how technology has got to its greatest and how it can't get any better. He talks about the Titanic and how it's Britain's greatest invention and is unsinkable. This is ironic to the audience as at the time they are performing these events have already happened, and they know for example that the titanic did sink.

    • Word count: 787
  20. The play "An Inspector calls" is written by J.B Priestley. In this essay I am going to discuss "Two characters from inspector calls and the way in which J.B Priestley shows emotional change they go through during the progression of the play". The play is

    The play was written in 1945 at the end of World War Two. J.B Priestley wrote the play to try and make people change from what they were. In this context the inspector could be seen as a voice for J.B Priestley himself. Mr Birling, I Feel has no self pity all he cares about is himself and his profits, Because when the inspector reveals that Eva smith was a former employee of Birlings and company and had been sacked from the factory by mr birling himself for wanting a small wage rise, Mr Birling obviously refuses "It's my duty to keep labour costs down".

    • Word count: 895
  21. Inspector calls

    * Gerald took advantage of Daisy's feelings by sleeping with her. His feelings were clear; he said "I didn't feel about her as she felt about me." The truth is Gerald just played with her feelings and used her for his own lust. * Gerald realises it was his fault; he said "she didn't blame me at all I wish she had now." Gerald acknowledges that he could of done something in her favour to help her survive instead of just giving her money which would be the easy and fast way out.

    • Word count: 559
  22. J.B Priestly sets out to warn and change his audience with 'An Inspector Calls'

    If our society didn't change J.B.P. believed we'll continue to be selfish and not look after one and another. "We don't live alone. We are members of one body". J.B.P. view on this is that we as members of a society should help and support each other. It also has an effect on the readers and audience by suggesting we are members of one body. The timing on which the this play was made is important because it was set in 1912-2-years before the 1stWW; then later written in 1945-the end of the 2nd WW.

    • Word count: 688
  23. Which character from An Inspector Call learns most from Eva Smith's death

    As the play is set in 1912 and written in 1947 the ship had already sunk. Any readers of the play would understand this. Out of all of the characters in An Inspector calls I think that Eric has learned the most from Eva Smiths death as he learned that he drinks too much, his actions have consequences and his parents aren't who they seem to be, they are less insecure. All of the characters reacted differently to the Inspectors questioning.

    • Word count: 912
  24. An Inspector Calls by J.B Priestly I have chosen Sheila and Mr Birling for my two characters because they are completely different from each other and the events which take place in the play change them both in different ways

    She is first seen as a happy young woman in her family dining room on the evening of her engagement. The changes these two characters undergo reflect their own personalities and characters but it also represents how people in a modern day society can be so self centred and not have any decent moral responsibility of thinking for other people and how one persons actions or thoughts for another can make a massive difference to how they think of themselves, and how it could affect their future life.

    • Word count: 757

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