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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. "How does J.B Priestley use the stage set to criticise the respectable veneer of the Birling Family?"

    The play is set in one room-the Birling's dining room. Everybody is very happy because Sheila, the daughter of the family, is getting married. But when an inspector calls around investigating the 'suicide' of a young working class woman, all prospects of a happy evening dissipate. Throughout the play the seven deadly sins are incorporated. Pride, Greed, Envy, Lust, Gluttony and Sloth. Pride because the whole Birling family has pride over themselves. Greed because they wanted more, for example Eva wanted more money from her first job at Mr.

    • Word count: 566
  2. Discuss The Use Of Dramatic Irony Throughout The Play And How Priestley Uses It To Convey His Message Affectively To The Audience.

    This means that we should look after each other the way that you would like to be treated. Priestley brings out his point by using dramatic irony. Dramatic irony is when the audience know more than all or most of the characters on stage. Dramatic irony is used well with all the characters, the reason to this is that the audience are watching the play years after it is set (1912) this means that the audience already know what had actually happened. Firstly there is mr Birling he makes several references to unemployment i.e., "there's a lot of wild talk about possible labour trouble in the future," MR Birling says that they have passed the worst of all the trouble but the audience knows there was labour unrest and got worse in the 1920's.

    • Word count: 832
  3. "The mood in Act 1 of 'An Inspector Calls' changes from relaxed to tense. Explore the ways in which Priestly transforms the tone throughout the act"

    The main purpose was not to entertain people but to put a point across. His theme was responsibility and how actions often have an effect on people and the consequences that occur. He is trying to say that the community have a responsibility to look after others. Before I start to describe how the writer changes the tone from relaxed to tense I am going to briefly give you an outline summary of Act 1. The play is about a family who are gathered around having dinner in the dining room.

    • Word count: 454
  4. The Inspector in "An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley Plays a Crucial Role in the Drama Creating Tension and Mystery by Forcing the others to Face up to their Responsibility.

    The Birlings embody everything that Priestley is arguing against. They are very rich capitalist family who seems to care for nobody but themselves. Even the house they live in is described as "heavily comfortable" suggesting that they do not even care that much about each other, there is no warmth between them. The Brilings own a mill in Brumley they are very pleased with themselves they are pompous and they think there right when they are wrong. The Inspector is a very complicated man He has a soft side, for the death of Eva Smith, he also has a furious dark side on which he uses to find how Eva Smith died.

    • Word count: 854
  5. In this essay I am going to pay special attention to how Priestley makes the messages of the play dramatically effective. 'An inspector Calls' resorts to the ripping off of masks that we human beings wear.

    However the Inspector does not take any notice of this and continues with the investigation. When Mr Birlings tells the inspector his side of the story about his involvements with Eva Smith's death he manages to tell it in a way that makes him seem fair and kind to his workers, however we know that he is just trying to hide his guilt and the inspector and the audience can see that because in reality he is greedy and every penny in his pocket counts. But still he tries to sound caring and that's when he says "But I care.

    • Word count: 955
  6. An Inspector Calls is set in 1912 and was written in 1945 by J. B. Priestley.

    Arthur Birling and his family: Mrs. Sybil Birling his wife, his daughter Sheila Birling and his son Eric Birling. They are joined by Sheila's fianc�e Gerald Croft. They are all celebrating the engagement with drinks and cigars when an Inspector Goole calls by. Throughout the play there are several examples of how the Inspector acts as their conscience. An example of this is shown by the way he makes them think about what they have done. He asks them the questions, although he already seems to know the answer. An example of this is shown when the Inspector first questions Mr.

    • Word count: 718
  7. Do you think any of the characters in this play behaved responsibly?

    Mrs - 'Oh Eric- how could you?' However he is one significant character to show that h has some morals, by the end of the play he becomes more mature and he takes responsibility of his actions. The audience are already aware that Eric tries to help do right by doing wrong. This is when he offers Eva stolen money; this shows Eric knows very well where his priorities are with his unborn child. At first Priestley introduces Sheila Birling as a selfish, childish and lively person.

    • Word count: 708
  8. How does Priestley manipulate the audience's responses in the final Act?

    Priestly tries to teach a moral lesson through the play of responsibility and good morality. To make this moral teaching the highlight of the play, Priestley has to divert the audience's responses in his own direction. By the end of the play the audience feel more responsible due to the Inspector's long speeches in the final Act. Priestley has made the Inspector a stable and relaxed figure so everything he says is echoed and has more emphasis on the Birling family, Gerald and most importantly the audience. If the Inspector were an insecure and hesitant character he wouldn't be very reliable.

    • Word count: 646
  9. An inspector calls - How real is the character of the Inspector? J.B.Priestley

    A ghoul is a spirit that takes life from corpses and the Inspector may a result of the girl's death. When the Inspector first enters he is described as having 'massiveness, solidity and purposefulness' (p.11); this symbolises how he is an unstoppable force within the play. His 'disconcerting habit of looking hard at the person he addresses before speaking' (p.11) gives the impression that he looks deep beneath the surface impression of people, and maybe can see into their real thoughts and feelings.

    • Word count: 591
  10. An Inspector Calls - Arthur Birling

    And this is where the Inspector comes in to teach him about. At the start Arthur showed his dominance with his speeches during the celebration. During the speeches he brags on about his status within the community as a public figure in Brumley. Arthur wanted the people to understand that he is not a man to be messed with at all. But ever since the inspector comes in Arthur have to endure being challenged not only from the inspector, but also members of his family as well. Arthur is not used to being challenged at all and from this he was both irritated and impatient.

    • Word count: 643
  11. An Inspector Calls - A Review - With the outside of the house set in the 1940's and the inside of the house set in 1912, the director Stephen Daldry vividly and cleverly links the two time settings together in the play.

    My worries were put aside when a few minutes later Mr Birling appeared on the balcony. I think that the balcony outside the front door seemed a bit pointless in that there wasn't much of a splendid view, unless you call over looking a blitzed site with wet cobbled paving your ideal landscape view. However it was put to use later in the play as a ladder to go down onto the street. The atmosphere outside the house seemed to me as cold and dull, but hearing the laughter coming from inside of the house it was obvious to me that the Birling family hadn't been outside to take everything in and so hadn't noticed the sight beyond their door.

    • Word count: 911
  12. "An Inspector Calls" was written by J.B Priestly in 1945.

    After that ordeal Priestly left the forces and began writing. The play itself is set in a fictional region named Brumley. The place is described as an industrial city in the North-Midlands. During this era England was a class structured society. Being an industrial city there are lots of cheap labourers. The time when the play is set is 1912, two years before The First World War.

    • Word count: 379
  13. Inspector Calls Coursework

    Almost straight after he gives this speech, the inspector rings the doorbell. This also has significance to the play as the inspector represents much of what Mr. Birling talks about badly in his speeches. The inspector brings news of a terrible suicide of a young, 'lower-class' girl who is apparently one of Mr. Birling's ex-employee. The inspector interrogates the family one-by-one and each has a tale which ties them in with the girl's suicide. Although Sheila and Eric who represent the youth of this time, seem to have learnt the errors of what they had done to this girl.

    • Word count: 680
  14. "Directing A New Production Of "An Inspector Calls" by J. B. Priestly, With Special Reference To Act Two, Page 33 (in Heinemann Plays 'An Inspector Calls'), And The Characters Of The Inspector And Mrs. BirlingThe two characters that I have chosen - the in

    This may have been helped by dramatic music, but it was also evident in the play. "The Inspector enters, and Edna goes, closing the door after her. The Inspector need not be a big man but he creates at once an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefully... He speaks carefully, weightily, and has a disconcerting habit of looking hard at the person he addresses before actually speaking." As soon as the Inspector enters the room, the other characters are immediately aware of this "impression of massiveness".

    • Word count: 585
  15. The play " An Inspector Calls " by " J. B Priestly revolves around the Birling family.

    When the Inspector arrives Arthur is the first person the Inspector interrogates. It doesn't take the inspector long to show the family that Eva Smith worked for Arthur in one of his factories a couple of years before her death. The audience discovers that Eva was discharged from Arthur's factory after asking for a pay rise. Arthur objected immediately and gave her the sack. Although Arthur gave her the sack two years before she committed suicide, he still had a large part to play in the causing of her death. The sacking of Eva started a chain of unfortunate events for Eva.

    • Word count: 890
  16. An Inspector Calls

    Birling wanted the wages to stay the same because he wants to "keep labour cost's down" and if he gave them a rise, labour cost's would go up 12%. I don't think that what Mr. Birling did to Eva Smith would have leaded her to commit suicide because people get laid off everyday. AT the beginning of December, 1910, Eva was lucky enough to be accepted for a job at a very good, high-class shop, Milwards. Sheila Birling, daughter of Mr.

    • Word count: 647
  17. What do you think of Sheila Birling and why do you think she might be considered as one of the most likable characters at the end of the play?

    Sheila gets distressed after hearing about this and really starts to feel for this girl who has just committed suicide. Sheila is starting to show feeling and consideration and is sad that this girl has just died. When the inspector starts to talk more Sheila starts to think for her 'you talk as if we were responsible'. She has already started changing from the dependent little girl she was at the start. When the inspector starts to tell Sheila about what she did in milwards Sheila realises that she is caught up in this inspection as well.

    • Word count: 750
  18. Discuss how J.B. Priestly conveys his message in the play The Inspector Calls.

    The interruption by the infamous Inspector Goole, who arrives to "conduct an investigation" regarding the death of Eva Smith. One by one, he interrogates each of the family and her inexplicable name change, before the final nail in the coffin was laid, resulting in her death by suicidal means. We as the reasons haven't been directly informed or given enough evidence to decipher whether Eva had died by indirect means, or by suicide. The Inspector proceeds to slowly and painfully drag the truth out of each of the family members involved, trying to individually convince that, collectively yet individually, played a vital part in driving this unfortunate woman to her death.

    • Word count: 648
  19. I am going to explain how I would direct the final part of Act3 in order to highlight the dramatic tension and to show the audience Priestly's message concerning social responsibility! An inspector calls

    Lower classed people did much more for the country than the upperclasses. The play was written in 1945 but set in 1912. This was done so the audience would realise how arrogant the upper class was. This is shown by Mr Birling where he says; "The germans don't want a war. Nobody wants war, except some half civilised folks in the Bolkans." This shows how arrogant Mr Birling is as the audience knew there were two world wars between 1912 and 1945. And as I said it was the lower classed people who did more for the country, it was the lower classed people who fought in thos two world wars.

    • Word count: 591
  20. Write a detailed account for the staging of the opening scene to the play "An inspector calls" by J. B Priestly.

    The night is dark and eerie; the deep mist envelops his feet as he moves. He walks along a path past Milwards, the palace variety theatre and up to the house. Set up of the stage Top view After Mr Birling enters the house the rest of the stage goes dark and is cleared apart from the house. The front of the house lifts up to show the dining room. The lights dim and focus on the dining room where the four Birlings and Gerald are sitting.

    • Word count: 642
  21. The Inspector is a mysterious character, who we know very little about. An Inspector Calls

    This leaves the audience and family wondering what does the Inspector want to know? "It's the way I like to go to work," the Inspector creates an impression of massiveness on the whole family. You can tell from the early stages of the play that the Inspector could find out anything he needed to know, "one person and one line of inquiry at a time." You get the feeling the Inspector knows what he's doing and is quietly confident. The Inspector's true character comes out as he reveals each character's story one by one, just as he says.

    • Word count: 734
  22. We don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other. What is Priestley's main aim in "An Inspector Calls" and how successfully does he achieve it?

    The play revolves around the interrogation of a seemingly upper class family (the Birling's and Mr Croft.) and how they have all been part of a "domino," effect that has led to the death of Eva Smith. "An inspector calls," is a book that has been written under a lot of influence; many events that are described or revealed throughout the book are from Priestley's own experience. Priestley left school at the age of 16 and found himself a job at a wool merchant.

    • Word count: 752
  23. What main ideas does J B Priestley explore in

    "The way some of these cranks talk and write now, you'd think everybody has to look after everybody else." Here Mr Birling shows us his fascist views about society. Mr Birling's view was beginning to die out as changes in society arose, with strikes and high labour prices. Society began to think more as a whole rather than everyone for themselves. "We don't live alone. We are members of one body." Some members of society took this view to the extreme, it was called Communism, and was popular with the workers of Britain. J B Priestley uses the Inspector to put forward this view in a subtle way, as these changes were happening slowly.

    • Word count: 631
  24. Diary of Eva Smith

    I wouldn't be able to live alone in lodgings with no family and hardly anything to eat. I think it is time for me to do something about it. Eva 17th September 1910 I went on strike with the other workers, our actions were unsuccessful and Mr Birling dismissed the ring leaders, I of course being one of them now find myself to be unemployed. I am so unhappy,I have no money,no food,what am I to do? I am so disappointed by my dismisal of Mr Birling,as I was such an industrious worker.

    • Word count: 748
  25. Original Writing - Prose: An Inspector Calls the Missing Scene - This play was set in 1912 the year the Titanic sank and before World War 2

    Eva had asked a lot of people were she had to go and she didn't get any replies until she approached a desk and asked the women behind the desk were she could find Mrs Burling. The women behind the desk said "go up them stairs and then got down the long corridor and go to room 669" Eva replied "thank you". Eva walked towards the stairs and looked down and saw an old man being sick and by looking at the old man she felt sick so she ran outside and started to throw up.

    • Word count: 689

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