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Lessons in An Inspector Calls.

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Lessons in An Inspector Calls: JB Priestly's Play, An Inspector Calls, teaches us many lessons about society. By using the Inspector with the Birling family, he points out many moral issues with society. These include responsibility, equality and open-mindedness. Priestly uses the Inspector as a teacher who is trying to change the ways of the Birling family. One of the most significant lessons evident in the play is individual and community responsibility. In the text, the Inspector continuously stresses the importance of every individual looking after not only themselves, but also all the other members of the community. People have to take responsibility for all their actions, which may inadvertently affect others in ways that they never thought of. All people are part of a society, networked to everyone else in some way or other. Every person's actions have an effect on one or more separate people. Priestly is trying to make the readers see that their deeds impinge on others, so they must always take responsibility and be mindful of their speech, conduct and thoughts. ...read more.


Priestly believes that integrity and morals should make people to look up to someone, not their social status. He also thinks that material goods are of little use if you have no human kindness. The Birlings, particularly Mr and Mrs Birling, look down upon people who have little position in society. To Mr Birling, who runs a huge factory, young girls are cheap labour, as the Inspector points out to us. Mrs Birling refused Eva Smith help, complaining that she "was giving herself ridiculous airs" and "claiming elaborate fine feelings and scruples" that "were simply absurd in a girl in her position. The Inspector tries to make Mrs Birling see the connection between herself and Eva. He says, "You've had children. You must have known what she was feeling". Mrs Birling, thinking that she is of the upper class and incomparable to people such as Eva Smith, dismisses this as rude and offensive. He also says, "I've thought that it would do us all a bit of good if sometimes we tried to put ourselves in place of these young women counting their pennies in their dingy little back bedrooms." ...read more.


Eric plainly opposes his father's views. For example, Eric says, "Why shouldn't they [the factory girls] try for higher wages? We try for the highest possible prices. And I don't see why she should have been sacked just because she'd a bit more spirit than the others. You said yourself she was a good worker. I'd have let her stay." Eric's father's response to this is an angry "Unless you brighten your ideas, you'll never be in a position to let anybody stay or to tell them to go." The Inspector encourages Eric's different way of thinking when he makes comments such as "It's better to ask for the earth than to take it". He also encourages Sheila to feel responsible for her actions, and not listen to her father who tells her to "forget about it". Evidently it can be seen that JB Priestly has aimed to teach us many lessons about society through his play. He hopes that by reading his play, people will think more about their individual and collective responsibilities, understand equality and treat others as equals, no matter what their status in life is and be unbiased in our thoughts and "open" ourselves up to new ideas. Lillian Ong 9V5 Subject: Teacher: Page 1 of 2 ...read more.

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