• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

In 'An Inspector Calls', the author, J.B. Priestley chose to set the play in 1912 for the main purpose of highlighting his main message.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The significant era of the 1940's had expressed the most rapid innovations within social attitudes since the beginning of the 'Industrial Revolution'. This was primarily due to the advocating of the first ever-socialist government. The initial idea gained formidable support by a great majority of the public who began to realise the terribly, corrupt social injustice around them, with the importance of society. These also included organisations such as the Fabian Society plus many other influential characters like J.B. Priestley who produced pieces of work i.e. An Inspector Calls. Continuous campaigning finally contributed towards success on the general election of 1945. It was obvious that the devastating events of the Second World War had shared some connections with these fresh, rational ideas about 'community'. In my views, it was the war in the 'Home Front' (back in England) that began to unite people from all classes, ranging from the rich upper class to the extremely poor working classes. Everyone was in the parallel situation of danger, so suddenly; money was no longer effective as power. In these circumstances, the only option was working together side-by-side concentrating on near equal terms (regardless of past social disparities) for the same purpose. To me, this had been the first sign of a co-operative society in Britain. Even though this was forced together, I think the most relevant factor was that it gave vital experiences for the upper classes, especially: combining with the lower classes during the worst of times to realise the overwhelming advantages working as a society. This was brought to real effect when success finally came in 1945 -the same year as the general election. In 'An Inspector Calls', the author, J.B. Priestley chose to set the play in 1912 for the main purpose of highlighting his main message. This was because the period of 1912 was directly during the 'Edwardian Era' (1910 -1914) ...read more.

Middle

suggests that men had the natural privilege of choice, and so power, over women. This is part of the convincing linguistic background presented by Priestly throughout the play. Seen from the audience, Mr Birling would seem arrogant and eccentric with an ironic representation when he is boasting about all his experiences in the world; denying the facts ahead of him: "The world's developing so fast that it'll make war impossible". This reference is instantly disapproved in the audience's mind (with the coming of the Great War in 1914) appearing almost as a joke. He also makes another ironic comment -referring to the Titanic as his example: "unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable" but off course we all know she does so (on her maiden voyage to New York) despite this convincing reiteration of his theory. I found this an impressive use of linguistic technique, by Priestley, as an effective device of mockery -giving the audience the desired sense of unease for the portentous character of Arthur Birling. Although both cases share similar initial reactions towards their connections with Eva's death; Birling: "I don't see where I come into this" and Sheila: "You talk as if we were responsible"(showing that she is spoilt -too pleased with life at first). The most important and critical factor between the two was the emphasis through their contrasting response after realising their involvement in Eva's suicide. Birling failed to make any progress in response to this, as if he wasn't at all responsible: "Still I can't accept any responsibility". In direct contradiction, after acknowledging her mistakes, Sheila insisted feeling remorse for the poor girl, as she had developed a conscious empathising concern, full of guilt and regret for her irresponsible actions. We can see the mental progress Sheila makes through a range of chained actions from 'nave innocents' to a 'mature understanding'. The process includes, firstly, innocent shock: "runs out", next, displaying remorse: "I felt rotten at the time but now I feel a lot worse", later exclaiming: "It was my own fault" -showing brave honesty, then: "if I could help her now, I would" -showing deep regret. ...read more.

Conclusion

Our society, is also one that is stable and controlled -bearing almost no problems in corruption or poverty compared to the 1940's, but with all this in mind, it is anything but perfect. Therefore, Priestley's influential play can be used, again, as a social tool with the relevant purpose of 'today' -to warn its citizens not to become (as Mr Birling was) too complacent about the achievements of society. To simply look ahead with conscious minds for constant improvement, as the current power of a society cannot determine its fate, with the message that terrible things happen to those who are contented; regardless of their power or wealth. Our latest, most striking experience of this in reality, are in the events of September 11th 2001 -the attacks on the U.S.A; an immensely portentous and dominating society (symbolic to the Birlings' class) is devastated by the poor, deprived nation of Afghanistan (symbolic to Eva's class). Resulting in a catastrophic disaster for the U.S.A, with a lesson along the lines of "fire and blood and anguish". Another classic example was the 'Kobe earthquake' (1995) -affecting the Japanese who was also taught in the similar way. Strangely, the two most powerful nations in our 'global body' have already suffered from the punishment of their own self-satisfaction -now, it almost seems as if Priestley had intended his play, also, to work for future. But finally, the most significant concern for us now is; will we fall into the same conceited traps as Japan and America -heading in the direction of Mr Birling? Or will we be able resist the temptation of joining the 'war on terrorism'. For me, the answer is all explained within the basic message that: "We are all members of one body". But I certainly hope that our leaders make the responsible choice, considering that, if not, then we are all too familiar with the horrific consequences... "In fire and blood and anguish"... WRITTEN BY: LEON CHEN ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE J.B. Priestley section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE J.B. Priestley essays

  1. Discussthe role of the Inspector in the play 'An Inspector Calls'

    Many techniques were used to make the play dramatic, engrossing and meaningful to the audience both back when it was fist released and also to this date. Stage directions play a huge part of any play. The stage direction provides the director with details such as position of actors, lighting, facial expressions and many more physical actions.

  2. 'An Inspector Calls is full of lies and deceit.' How does Priestley expose weakness ...

    I believe by reading 'An Inspector Calls' that Priestley hopes that we will realise how the younger generation are the ones who can change society in which we live. The anecdote shown in the story is the fact that only Sheila and her brother, Eric seems to have learnt from

  1. Free essay

    "AN INSPECTOR CALLS" By J. B. Priestly has been described as a play of ...

    going there" This shows that not all businessmen were as self-centred as the Birling's, and also, as he admitted that him and Daisy were in love and that he showed genuine affection to her, also showing he's not as shallow as them too.

  2. How does the character of Sheila Change during the course of J.B. Preistely's "Inspector ...

    This is saying to us that we shouldn't abuse the position we are in but we should use for it for good purpose. Sheila takes the incident seriously, while everyone is denying that the family has nothing to do with it but Sheila refuses to deny the incident and wants

  1. An Inspector Calls - What reactions does Priestley intend the audience to have to ...

    The inspector focusing on each character in turn in a certain order slowly develops the plot of the play. For example when the inspector interviews Mr Birling, he reacts angrily towards the inspector. Mr Birling also tries to use his class against the Inspector to try and show the Inspector that he is better than him.

  2. How does Priestley create tension in the play through characterisation, structure and atmosphere?

    I started it." As the inspector corrects her she is made to feel a little better than the others do, as he says that she did help but that she did not start it as he looks at Mr Birling implying that he certainly did start the bad ball rolling

  1. The Theme of an Inspector Calls is Collective Responsibility. How Does J.B. Priestley present ...

    He asks, as if nothing has happened. Inspector Goole is the catalyst and central figure of the play, he acts as the Conscience, that all of the members of the Birling family, including Croft should have.

  2. How does Priestley use the Inspector as a dramatic device in "An Inspector Calls", ...

    This makes his message just as relevant to the audience of 2001 as to his intended audience. Another contrast to Birling is that while Birling seemingly knows nothing of his family's affairs, Sheila says of the Inspector "We hardly ever told him anything he didn't know".

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work