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How Far Does 'An Inspector Calls' fit into the genre of detective fiction?

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Introduction

How Far Does 'An Inspector Calls' fit into the genre of detective fiction? The play 'An Inspector Calls' fits into the genre of detective fiction because there are many key elements from a detective fiction present. However there are also some factors missing which do not allow the play to be called a detective fiction. It is a simple cover up to disguise the play from the audience so they do not see the main genre of the play which could be either a moral or political play. This is realised at the point when the Inspector leaves without charging anyone of a crime. 'An Inspector Calls' is about when an Inspector from the local authority goes to the house of a upper middle class family called the Birlings. The Inspector claims that a girl named Eva Smith has dies at the infirmary after drinking some strong disinfectant. The Inspector then accuses the whole family of murdering her indirectly or having a part to play in her suicide. At the end of the play the family discover that he is not an Inspector and Mr and Mrs Birling believe it was a hoax and try moving on like nothing happened but the children realise the point of the Inspector coming to their home. Which is that he is trying to explain to them that everyone is responsible for everyone else and that nobody should be neglected. ...read more.

Middle

The Inspector then questions Gerald about Eva Smith, he says that he has never heard that name before. The Inspector then claims that the girl changed her name to Daisy Renton. Gerald recognised the name and the others realise this because of his reaction. He explains to the Inspector how he came to know her. He told the Inspector that he helped out Daisy Renton in the stalls bar at the palace variety theatre where she was being advanced on by Alderman Joe Meggarty. He distracted Joe Meggarty by telling him that the manager had a message for him. He then confessed to having an affair with her behind Sheila's back 'But ofcourse I did see a good deal of her'. Gerald told the Inspector that he ended the relationship with her in the first week of September and she took it better than he'd hoped and that is all he knew about her. Next to be questioned is Mrs Birling. She refused to give Eva Smith help when she went to the Brumley Women's Charity Organization of which Mrs Birling is a member 'as the most prominent member of the committee, that help was refused the girl'. The final person that the Inspector questions is Eric. He and Eva Smith had a relationship for a while and he made Eva pregnant. 'The father was only a youngster- silly and wild and drinking too much, there couldn't be any chance of marrying him' Eva did not want to marry him because she thought he was too young and irresponsible. ...read more.

Conclusion

Mr Birling represents an ignorant rich man who cares for only himself and his money. Mrs Birling represents arrogance. Sheila and Eric both represent reformed middle class. Gerald represents decency among the upper and middle classes. Finally, Eva Smith represents the victim of ignorance, arrogance. The play is set in 1912 because if it was set in 1945 which is when J. B. Priestley wrote it, the play would not make sense because in 1945 there would be more help for Eva Smith and she would have got more benefits from the government. Gerald, Mr and Mrs Birling respond by moving on and forgetting everything that happened that night, they take it as a hoax. 'Your pretending everything's just as it was before' the two younger ones, Eric and Sheila realise the purpose of the Inspector's visit, which is not to convict someone of a crime but to teach them a lesson. A detective fiction play has a narrative structure. This play has a cyclical structure. In a normal detective fiction play the climax happens in the revelation scene but in this play there is no revelation scene. The play is a pastiche of a detective fiction but really it's a moral play. The moral of the play is that everyone is responsible for everyone else around them and no person should be neglected. The reason the play is disguised as a detective fiction is because detective fiction plays were a popular type of play in 1945 so the play would get a wider range of audiences. Hamad Ayaz 10K2 ...read more.

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