• 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...


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.


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.


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

    He refuses to give his workers a pay rise and this leads to a strike. Eva was one of the leaders participating in the strike and Birling eventually sacks her without any care what so ever. This seen when he says 'I only did what any employer might have done'.

  2. ‘We don’t live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for ...

    P11 'No, Mr. Birling.' P37 'Why should you do any protesting? It was you who turned the girl out in the first place.' And P41 'Apologize for what - doing my duty?' He doesn't act like a police inspector, being aggressive and rude.

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

    Everyone united as one country and worked together to defeat the Nazis. The children were brought together by evacuations, the women working in factories to produce uniforms and war goods for their men were brought together and of course the men on the battlefields fighting together managed to build a strong relationship among themselves.

  2. In 'An Inspector Calls', the author, J.B. Priestley chose to set the play in ...

    Focusing now on the content of the play: I noticed Priestley has created many dramatic devices to serve his message, but one that is recognised as the most central device is the concept of the inspector himself. Therefore, his dramatic entrance (in act one)

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

    He proves this by buying the same port as Mr Croft and making it known to Gerald, who of course is the son of this factory owner. However, as Mr Birling strives to become all the more important Mrs Birling can see straight through him, he would never be able to fool her.

  2. An Inspector Calls - What reactions does Priestley intend the audience to have to ...

    Even Mrs Birling's interview shows that she is ignorant, arrogant and a hypocrite. She cannot see that she should be helping all people who come to her charity for help and as part of a charity she should not be prejudice to any case.

  1. In Act Three of 'An Inspector Calls', the inspector says: "We don't live alone. ...

    A persistent Eric urged her to take at least fifty pounds from him, to keep her going for a little while. Daisy was in a hurry to leave after she found out that Eric was stealing money to pay for her low expenses.

  2. What was Priestley's aim in writing an Inspector Calls? How successfully does he achieve ...

    This suggests that she believes that the lower class doesn't have the same feelings as those of the upper class. Her involvement with Eva Smith shows that she abuses her power when working with charity by 'using her influence to have the girl's claim refused.'

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