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

In what ways does the story of Eva Smith's life, as revealed by the Inspector, make you aware of the attitudes of people at the time the play is set?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

In what ways does the story of Eva Smith's life, as revealed by the Inspector, make you aware of the attitudes of people at the time the play is set? Introduction: John Boynton Priestley was born in Bradford in 1894. Priestley wrote over 50 plays, the most notable being 'Dangerous Corner', 'Time and the Conways', 'When We Are Married' and 'An Inspector Calls' 'An Inspector Calls' was set in 1912 and is deliberately set before the 2nd World War in order to convey a moral message that we have to learn from our mistakes, and this is done through the inspector and through Eva Smith. The play was first shown in 1945 and an audience watching it would have the benefit of knowing what has happened in relation to historical events mentioned in the play. The whole play revolves around a symbolic character called Eva Smith. She continuously changes her name to try and start a new life but things always go wrong for her. For example when she gets fired from Mr Birlings factory, she gets another job but Sheila Birling gets her fired because she thought she was laughing at her. Eva is never seen in the play and we only know what she looks like from what the Inspector says about her. It is perhaps poignant that she is never seen or heard in the play. It may point to the attitudes of the middle and upper classes towards the lower classes symbolising that they don't really notice them, Eva represents the lower class citizens that are treated like she was, "there are millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths still left with us, with their lives ... ...read more.

Middle

Gerald had recently proposed to Sheila and they were celebrating their engagement the night the play is set. The first time Daisy Renton's name was mentioned Gerald gave himself away. "(Pulling himself together) D'you mind if I give myself a drink". Just by his surprised manner it is obvious that he is guilty. When the play was set it was not uncommon for men to have mistresses and it was almost classed as normal, even Alderman Meggarty who was a important figure in the town of Brumley, was seen in the Palace Bar, which surprised many of the Birlings. "Well really! Alderman Meggarty! I must say, we are learning something tonight". This shows us that young men of this era were not all they seemed. Gerald was engaged to a young woman and he held a very important reputation on the line but he still went ahead and had an affair with Daisy (Eva). This tells us that Gerald, and men like him, didn't have respect for their wives and were willing to risk everything just to be with a girl. Gerald's attitude towards other people was generally acceptable, but by him going off with Eva, it shows that he treats women like possessions and he is insensitive to other people's feelings. The way he describes his relationship with Daisy makes him sound like he is a hero and the innocent one." The girl saw me looking at her then gave me a glance that was nothing less than a cry of help". It seems like a coincidence that his friend was going away and leaving Gerald a set of keys to his apartment that he conveniently used. ...read more.

Conclusion

But take my word for it, you youngsters- and I've learnt in the good hard school of experience that a man has to mind his own business and look after himself and his own" Priestley uses the Inspector to reveal the feeling of guilt that the Birlings and Gerald have from this experience and he also uses the Inspector to make the audience aware of how they should treat others less fortunate than themselves. "We are responsible for each other. And I tell you that the time will come soon when, if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and anguish." The inspector is showing the need for community responsibility so that tragic events such as the one involving Eva Smith do not happen again. He is saying that a moral lesson needs to be learned in order to provide a better future for the society in which we live. Priestley speaks through the inspector, he warns the audience of what will happen if they don't learn their lesson and that the attitudes of the time are the wrong attitudes to have and are not the attitudes to have if people want to move forward. Conclusion The attitudes of the middle and upper classes cause the tragic death of Eva Smith; Priestley deliberately portrays the attitudes from people at the time in a negative way. The younger generation watch this play and realise that how they were treating the lower classes was wrong and therefore change how they treat them. Priestley wants his audience to see and accept his moral message, as revealed by the inspector, to achieve a better future for all the people within the society whether they are upper, middle or lower class citizens. ?? ?? ?? ?? Sam Chapman 10A ...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 ...

    desperate, and just before the Inspector's departure he says he will give "thousandso to keep the story quiet. Birling is told by the Inspector that he is "offering the money at the wrong timeo and Eva Smith will make him pay "a heavy priceo in terms of emotion, not money.

  2. In my essay I am going to look at how much moral responsibility the ...

    Perhaps this could emphasize that Sheila was also a bit paranoid, spoilt, and not happy about the way she looked; as, she got Eva fired just because she looked at her and laughed. All the time she had her dad to blame but when she heard she was to blame

  1. Eva Smith \ Daisy Renton.

    He bought me a drink, and because I have demoralized myself to the state where I now have to support myself by picking up men in the palace bar. I hate this life and would gladly swap it for the one when all I was poor and hungry.

  2. Write About The Ways In Which Birling, Eric and Gerald Treat Women

    I feel Mr Birling feels he needs the to have the security of being in control and influencing everything that takes place. At first he thought Eva Smith was a fine worker so why did not he try to compromise with her and meet a mutual agreement, this shows that

  1. Examine the Ways in Which the Birling Family and Gerald Use Their Social Status ...

    At the time in which Eva worked for him, she seemed to be doing well for herself, and was a well respected and intellectual girl. Being smart enough to know she wanted a pay rise, Eva soon became the leading operator of a small group of girls in the company

  2. Who is responsible for the death of Eva Smith? Pay close attention in your ...

    A chain of events." "Still I can't accept any responsibility. If we were all responsible for everything that happened to everybody we'd have anything to do with, it would be very awkward." Birling replies. At the end of the play, his views and attitudes aren't altered.

  1. What do you learn from this play about attitudes to social status at this ...

    He is the first person to see the photo. From the moment we meet Birling we are introduced to a man who is very proud of his achievements although we see another side of his character once he has seen the photo.

  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