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What do you understand about the ending of 'An Inspector Calls'?

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'An Inspector calls' is a 19th century play written by J.B Preistly. It is set in the early 1900s and focuses around a well-off family. They are celebrating the engagement of Mr. Birling's daughter, Sheila, to Gerald her fianc�, when they are interrupted by an Inspector Goole, who claims to be investigating the suicide of a young girl called Eva Smith. Every character has their part to play in the death of the girl. Eva Smith used to work in Mr. Birling's Factory, but he fired her after she went on strike over pay. After she left the factory, Eva Smith got a job at Milwards, a large department store, where Sheila persuaded the Manager to fire her because she had been very impertinent, when really she was jealous of her. The next person who was involved with Eva Smith was Gerald. She had now changed her name to Daisy Renton. Gerald and Daisy had a fling and when they finished Gerald gave her some money "to see her through to the end of the year". ...read more.


When she finds out that she is in part to blame for the death of Eva she is really upset and at the end of the play she has definitely learned something, and doesn't care that the inspector was not real - for her the message is still clear, and she has realized her responsibility to help people like Eva smith. She is surprised that her father doesn't feel the same: "I tell you - whoever that Inspector was, it was anything but a joke. You knew it then. You began to learn something. And now you've stopped. You're ready to go on in the same old way." This represents the difference between the older and younger generations. Mr. Birling is stuck in his ways and won't open his eyes to the real problems that are affecting the world. It is too late for him to learn, but his children have got time to change their ways, the hope of a better future for the working classes rests with them and other young people like them. ...read more.


J.B Priestly is using this to send out a message to his 1940s audience about how middle and upper class people should not be blind to the needs of the working classes. Eva Smith was a symbol for working class people, and Mr. Birling for upper class, and they showed how the upper classes treated the working classes. The most interesting thing about the ending of the play is the question about what Inspector Goole is, is he a ghost? Is he real? When Mr. Birling calls the Infirmary it proves the Inspector's supernatural powers. He tricked Mr. Birling into calling the infirmary; if Inspector Goole had never told them the story about Eva smith, he would never have called the infirmary to ask about her suicide. It was that call that he made which aroused the police's suspicions and caused them to send round a real inspector when the girl really did die. How could inspector Goole have known about her death, unless he was a ghost, and had supernatural powers of premonition? This keeps the audience guessing and wanting to know what happens. The play is very clever, it makes the audience think. ...read more.

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