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

JB Priestley: An Inspector Calls

Extracts from this document...


How does J.B Priestley use dramatic devices and character to explore the themes of social responsibility and class in Act One of 'An Inspector Calls'? John Boynton Priestley, a famous writer, was born in Bradford, Yorkshire, on the 13th of September 1894. When he was 16, Priestley decided to leave school altogether, believing that 'the World outside classrooms and labs' would improve his ability to write, and help him to 'become a writer'. J.B Priestley's beliefs were that people should be treated similarly, and not different for any reason. He believed in 'social responsibility' and cooperation between people of different classes. 'An Inspector Calls' was written in 1945, the year that saw the end of the Second World War. Priestley thought that this was the perfect time to introduce this novel, since society was in need of reorganizing and recovering from the recent war. Everything needed to be worked into a fresh start. The reason Priestley uses dramatic devices so early in the play is to keep the audience hooked and interested. If the audience is bored at the start of a play, they will begin to lose interest. Dramatic devices work the same way that water does with plants; it absorbs the audience and makes them eager for more. ...read more.


Birling defends himself but Eric shows more sympathy towards Eva. For example, Birling indicates to the inspector that he told the people he fired that "England is a free country", but Eric argues that "It isn't if you can't go and work somewhere else". It is easy to compare the way Eric and Birling feel about other people in this dialogue. They seem to speak from two different sides of a battle; Birling claims he hasn't done anything wrong, but Eric will not believe his father. Sheila also shows sympathy towards Eva. She makes a relatively long speech explaining her feeling about the girl's agony. She states that she 'couldn't help thinking about this girl - destroying herself so horribly'. This emphasises the detail of Eva's painful death, and makes us think harder about how horrible hr death really was. The inspector, instead of trying to make her feel better, adds t her misery by mentioning the poor quality of life Eva was leading before she passed away. He claims she had to put up with 'Two months, with no work, no money coming in, and living in lodgings', and that she had 'no relatives to help her, few friends' and she was also apparently 'lonely' and 'feeling desperate'. ...read more.


Another dramatic device Priestley uses is when he starts to imply Mr. Birling isn't the only one guilty of Eva's suicide. He says to Sheila that when Eva was 'working at Milwards', a clothes shop, a customer 'complained about her', so she had to leave. Sheila asks when this happened, and the inspector shows her a photograph nobody else gets to see. Sheila's reaction to the photograph the minute she sees it makes it obvious she is the 'customer' that complained. Therefore, she may also be guilty of Eva's suicide. The audience will want to verify this. The photograph is also effective because the audience do not get to see it either. This is another dramatic device. Priestley includes these dramatic devices to keep the audience interested. They are successful, because they made me want to know what happens next and whether the Birlings will find a way out of these accusations. I conclude that 'An Inspector Calls' is an excellently-written play, and was introduced to the world at an effective time. Although the play isn't very fun to read, it captures the audience's imagination and keeps them hooked on the storyline. The play's purpose has touched many, and Priestley tries to make us understand that if we all work together, the world will be a better place. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...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. Discussion on "An Inspector Calls" by J.B. Priestley.

    Inspector fully made use of his badge and was aware of the job he needed to do, hence creating drama and a sense of fright among the characters. The Inspector chose to solve this case in a peculiar order. He began solving this case in an ordinary fashion, chronological order.

  2. An Inspector Calls Director's Letter

    When your character returns to the stage, to discover more, she has composed herself to the lady that she is supposed to be. She accepts what she has done and just wants to know: "I'm really responsible?" .As she begins the story of what happened at Milwards she gets slightly more upset and "distressed".

  1. How does JB Priestley expound his views of social hypocrisy in An Inspector Calls?

    After the Birling family know that the Inspector was a 'Jingo! A fake' Sheila thinks that it doesn't matter. She thinks that the Inspector has taught her family something. She says 'you began to learn something. And now you've stopped.

  2. Essay on "An Inspector Calls" by J.B. Priestley

    making the audience concentrate back on Sheila's unnoticed question and trigging questions in their minds of why the Inspector chose to answer in this dramatic and suspenseful way. Finally, the Inspectors sarcastic language was also very dramatic. When Mrs Birling was narrow-mindedly and triumphantly pinning all the blame onto the

  1. "An Inspector Calls", by J.B Priestley - review

    and perhaps the most crucial in setting up his political authority within the play, is his imminent function as a 'Protagonist'. In this role, Priestley has allowed the Inspector's character to immediately hold power and influence over the plot, thus giving him enough status to later deliver a political opinion to the audience.

  2. How does J.B Priestly explore the issues of social responsibility on 'An Inspector Calls'?

    But although she seems genuinely distressed by this news, the audience have to think hard about her as she makes a comment that suggests she seems to be thinking about herself again ' I can't stop thinking about this girl- destroying herself so horribly- and I've been so happy tonight.

  1. What inspired Priestley? What made him write 'An Inspector Calls' and why set it ...

    He says; "...a man has to make his own way - has to look after himself and his family too, of course... community and all that nonsense...a man has to mind his own business and look after himself and his own-".

  2. An Inspector Calls by J.B Priestley

    Priestly wanted the audience to leave asking themselves "are we all like this?" "How responsible are we to others?" Priestly via "An Inspector Calls" was very successful at answering this question. Author Birling is successful businesses man who has been active in local politics.

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