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

We don’t live alone. We are all members of one body. We are responsible for each other.’ What is Priestley’s main aim in An Inspector Calls? How successfully does he achieve it?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Rosanna Moss, 11H G1 14th November 2000 'We don't live alone. We are all members of one body. We are responsible for each other.' What is Priestley's main aim in An Inspector Calls? How successfully does he achieve it? John Boynton Priestley was a committed socialist. He was born in 1894 in Bradford and his mother died the same year. Priestley was raised by his father, who was also a passionate socialist. At the age of fourteen he became a junior clerk at a wool firm in his home town, before joining the army in 1914 at the outbreak of the First World War. During his time spent fighting in France, Priestley developed a strong sense of the class divisions that were an integral part of the capitalist system; 'I went into that war free of any class feeling, no doubt I came out with a chip on my shoulder; a big heavy chip, probably some friend's thigh bone.' Priestley grew to hate the way a few rich and greedy businessmen and industrialists exploited and abused the working classes, for the sake of greater profits. In Priestley's mind, it was simply the nature of this society which had made war in 1914 inevitable. ...read more.

Middle

Mrs Birling also treats Eva Smith as a second-class citizen, and airs these views to the inspector; Mrs Birling: 'And in any case, I don't suppose for a moment that we can understand why the girl committed suicide. Girls of that class--' (Act Two, page 30). Like Mr Birling, Mrs Birling feels no sense of responsibility towards Eva Smith at all; Sheila: 'Mother, she's just died a horrible death - don't forget.' Mrs Birling: 'I'm very sorry. But I think she only had herself to blame.' (Act Two, page 43). From An Inspector Calls we can also find clear examples of the men's attitudes towards the women, and also the attitudes of the women towards their own place in society. In 1912, women had not yet gained the right to vote, and had no real rights. Perhaps by highlighting this fact to an audience in the 1940's, where women had more rights and freedom than ever before, Priestley is trying to show that society can change, and becomes all the better for it; Sheila: 'What's this all about?' Birling: 'Nothing to do with you Sheila, run along.' (Act One, page 17). Birling: '...I protest against the way in which my daughter, a young, unmarried girl, is being dragged into this--' Inspector: (sharply)'Your daughter isn't living on the moon. ...read more.

Conclusion

This difference between them underlines the fact that Sheila is willing to accept change, whereas Gerald does not want to. I think Priestley chose a good medium with which to put across his views, because a play based upon a possible real-life situation gives the audience an example of the evils of capitalism which they can relate to their own lives. Perhaps including more examples of the benefits of a socialist society, rather than concentrating on the disadvantages of capitalism could have further endorsed Priestley's pro-socialist message. Priestley delivered his opinions in a concise and accessible way. Obviously, there was a mood for change after the Second World War, Tony Benn writes; '...He (Priestley) wrote An Inspector Calls in 1944 and consciously intended it to make a contribution to public understanding which, in its turn, he hoped might lead to a Labour victory after the war was over... The story of that Labour government is now history, with the welfare state, the national health service, full employment and a huge house building programme which gave the people of this country their best chance ever. I believe that Priestley, with his commitment, his perceptive mind and his skilful pen, contributed greatly to the mood of hope which produced that change.' ...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. An Inspector Calls - What reactions does Priestley intend the audience to have to ...

    He wanted the audience to think about getting more rights for lower class people because their lives shown by Priestley to be as terrible as they are in this play. This also mixes with a similar theme of better pay for workers.

  2. 'An Inspector Calls' is based in 1912, before the first and second world war, ...

    As the play progresses it becomes apparent that Mrs Birling knows little of the lives of her family and that of the lives of other folk outside her home. First she is disgusted by a well known womanizer 'And surely you don't mean Alderman Meggarty!'

  1. "We don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for ...

    Priestley's views are that of the inspector, which is why he behaves and acts as he does, this is seen throughout the play and is cleverly incorporated to enhance the theme of responsibility in each character. Mr. Birling is a selfish man who cares only for himself.

  2. What was Priestley’s purpose in writing An Inspector Calls? Show how in two of ...

    But he is wrong when he uses dramatic irony and we have hindsight to prove it, because the Titanic sank and there was another world war. As the play continues and the Inspector arrives the tension starts to increase slightly.

  1. Inspector calls

    Mrs Birling is one of the last members of the family to be 'interrogated' by the mysterious Inspector. In this part of the play, the Inspector moves onto questioning Mrs Birling and the scene ends when Eric enters. The key themes are continued throughout these pages; especially the theme of responsibility.

  2. AN INPSECTOR CALLS

    This conception of Eric is evident in the whole play as he is uncomfortable and awkward right from the start. The fist mention of him in the script is Eric suddenly guffaws, After this outburst he is not capable of explaining his amusement, as if he is anxious about something.

  1. "We don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for ...

    Priestley effectively involves and engages his audience in several other ways, in order to express his main message more successfully. The use of dramatic irony helps to absorb the audience's attention by making them feel as if they know more than the characters themselves.

  2. We are all members of one body. We are responsible for each ...

    So, the main role of the Inspector was to promote and change the thoughts of the Birling family. There are many connotations within the name "Inspector Goole". As an Inspector, he has come to investigate or inspect the family members and their actions.

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