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

In this assignment I'll discuss the social and the historical context of the J. B. Priestley play 'an inspector calls'.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Michael Lee An inspector calls In this assignment I'll discuss the social and the historical context of the J. B. Priestley play 'an inspector calls'. I will be concentrating on Act one of the play and looking at the stage craft techniques used by Priestley to show character, setting and atmosphere. I will now go on to tell the story briefly. In 'is an inspector piles' the Birling family is celebrating the engagement of daughter Sheila to local merchant's son Gerald Croft. The evening's activities soon turn sour when an inspector calls; he is investigating the suicide of a young girl. It turns out that each member of the Birling family had connections with the girl, Eva, which drove her to suicide. I will now go on to discuss the characters concerned mainly with Act One, Sheila Birling, Arthur Birling and Inspector Goole. Mr Birling is a 'self-made' prosperous factory owner. He is middle-class and this is evident in the way he speaks, not only in his vocabulary and grammar but in the way he speaks others. Birling often thinks he is of a higher class than other people such as Inspector Goole, 'I thought I'd never seen you before' this could show that Birling wants to be upper class. Birling is very heartless person he doesn't understand the needs of working-class people such as Eva Smith. ...read more.

Middle

Sheila is very mature, especially when it come to her engagement, she breaks it off calmly and doesn't rush into accepting her ring back once the Inspector has departed. She is shocked, amazed and upset that her parents haven't learnt anything from the Inspectors visit, she thinks that just because the Inspector was a confidence game, this doesn't mean that he wasn't to have been taken seriously. This is another sign of Sheila's maturity. Inspector Goole is a false inspector who for some strange reason knows what will happen in the future. He goes into the Birling household and questions each family member concerning the suicide of a young girl, Eva Smith. Each member of the household is individually responsible for the death of Eva and the inspector explains to each person why they are at fault. Inspector Goole is the main character of the play and is a mystery to the audience and the characters. Priestley depends a lot on lighting to set the mood for the inspector, he describes that 'the light should be pink and intimate until the inspector arrives, and then it should be brighter and harder.' This shows that the character of the inspector is a character, which is supposed to feel big, although a four-foot tall person could play him and he would still feel big. ...read more.

Conclusion

At this time the whole nation was divided into distinctive social classes, those born into money were upper class. Those who have made their own money and worked for a living were middle class and the majority were those like Eva, uneducated and unqualified working class people. These people around this time decided to create unions which would protect a member if thrown out of work, unfortunately they had very little power so people like Eva were treated very badly. If someone was sacked from a job they would be 'blacklisted' which meant they wouldn't get a job again in that trade. This happened to Eva when she was fired from Birling's factory. So in summing up this essay I would like to comment on the characters I have studied. I have found that Birling is an ignorant man who doesn't mean harm, Sheila Birling is a kind, gentle woman and about the inspector I have found not much. But what I have found out about is the terrible conditions of Edwardian Britain and the things that working class people had to live with. I think that J. B. Priestly portrays the ignorance of merchants of the day very well, he shows us that people matter even if you do not know them and that everyone could be connected with something terrible, indirectly. ...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. To what extent do you feel that the Characters are changed by the Inspector's ...

    She would doubtless find the final phone call very satisfactory. In summary, during the course of the play Sheila changes from a rather naive and ignorant young lady into a person who can fully understand the Inspector's message and see that he is right.

  2. Show how in "An Inspector Calls" Priestley creates dramatic tension through focus on characters, ...

    Sheila Birling, (Arthur and Sybil's daughter), was the next to be interviewed after her father. Before the Inspector's entrance we see Sheila as a young, attractive girl in her twenties. She is "very pleased with life" as she has a very good lifestyle and spends a lot of her time shopping for clothes.

  1. What do Mr Birling and Sheila show us about the historical context of “An ...

    This is when we first see a change in Sheila's attitude. At the end she's a better person. She's kind, generous and now sociable with all classes. This shows us that times are changing and that people are no longer based on their social class.

  2. An Inspector Calls Director's Letter

    At the end of a short speech from the Inspector he mentions the name, Daisy Renton.

  1. In what ways does J B Priestley present the effect of the Inspectors visit ...

    I have actually noticed that throughout the rest of the play, Mr Birling actually never goes back to the subject of downgrading a closer society. When Inspector Goole arrives at the Birling house the happy music in the background will stop and the warm and happy atmosphere will be drained away as he walks around.

  2. "An Inspector Calls" - issues raised in the play concerning the social structure ...

    Birling wants to make a good impression on the new member of the family, Gerald; in the opening lines of the play Mr. Birling points out that the port they are having is the same as the port that Gerald's father buys from the merchant.

  1. Discuss the impact of the inspector's final speech & exit and explore why it ...

    This belief is promoted more these days in the form of the Labour Party than the Conservatives. Socialists tend to believe that with the conservatives in charge that the poor stay poor and the rich get richer. The Inspector's speech is written as a piece of oratory, a speech rather than a conversation with the Birlings.

  2. Discuss J.B Priestley's Presentation of the Characters of Sheila Birling and Eva Smith in ...

    you still had to take responsibility for your actions and not live a sheltered, protected life. He uses Eva Smith and her life to illustrate the life of millions in Britain and to prove to the Birlings, as well as his readers, that their actions do have consequences, even if they don't see them.

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