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

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Introduction

"We don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other." What is Priestley's aim in 'An Inspector Calls'? How successfully does he achieve it? If you take a close look at the play and the characters in it, then you will see that J.B.Priestley is trying to convey a message to us about society in the early twentieth century. The play opens with a conversation between Mr Birling and his family and Gerald Croft. Mr Birling appears to be a pompous hard headed businessman who was more concerned with high profits than the welfare of his employees. He thinks very highly of himself as he might find his "way into the next honours list." but he regards with contempt the "cranks" who say that "Everybody should look after everybody else." I think that Priestley intended Mr Birling to represent the upper middle class gentleman of the time and the rest of his family to represent the average upper middle class family. ...read more.

Middle

This is exactly the opposite of the inspector's message that we are not alone, we are members of one body." I think that the inspector represents Priestly's view on society that we are all out to help each other and Mr Birling represents the upper middle class people in society. Already we begging so see how arrogant and selfish Mr Birling is. The inspector includes everyone in the family in his investigation, and it is through these investigations that Priestley tries to show us what conditions were like in the early twentieth century. During the investigation, Mr Birling refers to Eva Smith, the girl who supposedly committed suicide, as "cheap labour" and he said that it was his duty to keep costs down. This really does show us how Mr Birling regards lower class citizens. The fact the family refers to lower class girls as "women of the street" highlights the complete disregard that they have for the lower class citizens.. ...read more.

Conclusion

He hopes that we will realise how the younger generation are the ones who can change the society in which we live. Eric and Sheila in the play learn from their mistakes. This provides a stark contrast between them and their parents who do not learn at all. Priestly hopes that the younger generation of today will realise how they are the ones who can change the society in which they live. The inspector sums up Priestly's intentions when he says, "We don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other." He intended that we should realise the importance of helping each other, not acting under Mr Birling's principle that everyone should look after themselves. Priestly conveyed his message extremely well. He has shown how large the division between the classes was in the early twentieth century and how hypocritical members of the upper middle class were. He has also shown us how he believes the situation can be changed. The play is made more effective by the fact that he Priestly has included an interesting story as well as conveying his message ...read more.

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