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Show how J. B Priestley uses a detective story to create and maintain the interest of the audience and put over a moral message

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An Inspector Calls written by J.B Priestley is a play that contains many of the ingredients of a murder mystery. Murder mysteries contain a crime, suspects, victims, setting, murder weapon, evidence, witnesses, detectives, red herrings, cliffhangers, and interrogation. An Inspector Calls contains many of these for example the setting (Birling residence) the inspectors calls to the house and starts questioning the family. J.B Priestley creates interest of the audience by making the play resemble that of a murder mystery. It is like one because the Inspector has his suspects and his victim. The Birling family are the suspects and Eva Smith/Daisy Renton is the victim. The Inspector believed that they all had some involvement with girl to drive her to suicide. The first suspect was Mr Birling, she worked for him at his factory she went on strike because she demanded more money. He refused and gave her the sack. The next was Sheila, her involvement was that the girl worked at a store called Milwards she was lucky even to get that job. Though Sheila complained to the manager and said if you don't sack this girl for being so rude then we withdraw our account from your store. Which obviously meant the girl had to go. The Inspector then revealed the next suspect of whom was Gerald (Sheila his fianc�e) Gerald met the girl at the Palace Bar, this was the time she had changed her name from Eva Smith to Daisy Renton. They dated but he hadn't seen her in six months. ...read more.


Quote page 67 Mr Birling: " And there wasn't the slightest proof that this Daisy Renton was really Eva Smith. We've only his word for it, and we'd his word for it that he was a police Inspector, and we know now that he was lying. So he could have been lying the whole the time." All of this carries on until the end of page 69 when Gerald rings up the infirmary. To find out that there was no girl it was a fake. Well she wasn't its just they were all different girls and we don't know which was which. Not only is An Inspector calls a detective story it also puts over a moral message. The Inspector puts the message across by the quotation he says on page 56. Quote page 56 Inspector: " There are millions and millions of Eva Smiths still left with us. With their lives, their hopes and fears, their suffering and chance of happiness, all intertwined with our lives and what we think and say and do. We don't live alone. We are members of one body, we are responsible for each other." He makes us understand that Eva Smith had just been one in millions, and that we have to prevent it from happening again and again. We have to realise that we are responsible for each other's well being. Our every step will effect someone else's life, even if we don't realise we're doing it. He try's to make sure the family know they are responsible. ...read more.


One of the main reasons for the setting in the play in the past is made very clear in the first act this is for Mr Birling to come across straight away that his onions are clearly wrong and inaccurate. At the end of the play Sheila and Eric are left to take the blame for the reunion of the family. This is because the other members of the family want to put the past behind them, they just laugh and move on feeling nothing. Sheila and Eric wont forget and are still left with the gut feeling they have done wrong. At the end of the play the audience are left feeling cheated and confused. The play ended as it began so the audience feels they have wasted their time, because of this, the audience are left to create their own ending. They are left with no murder mystery but the satisfaction of a moral message. In conclusion J. B Priestley uses a detective story to create interest, he does this through an Inspector interrogating a family revealing that each member had supposedly had some involvement with one girl. He also puts over a moral message which is that we have to start being responsible for our actions, we have to see that our every move effects another and we have to do everything we can to help our society. Eva Smith/Daisy Renton was just one example think of the other many millions. I think that J.B Priestley was very successful in his outcome at the end of the play it was very unsuspected. Leaving it on a cliffhanger makes it more fun to make up our own endings, but still we go home with something to think about. ...read more.

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