An Inspector Calls – Class Essay

These are a bit of a jumble, but they cover most of what we have done this week.

Choose a play which has, as a central concern, an issue which is of importance in today’s society.
State what the issue is and show how the playwright’s handling of the plot and characters increases your understanding of the issue.

Para 2

S Sheila reacts with regret/ remorse
Q She cries to the inspector, “I know I’m to blame and I’m desperately sorry”.
C This marks a change in the family, with Sheila honestly accepting her role, but the rest of the family remain in denial. Her behaviour through the rest of the play is compassionate towards Eva.

S She condemns her family for their absence of compassion.
Q When they realize Eva may not be dead, she says sarcastically, “I suppose we’re all nice people now.”
C Sheila acknowledges that whether Eva is dead or alive is irrelevant – she understands her actions have consequences now.

Para 3

S Gerald has an affair with Eva – under the name Daisy Renton.

After this, Eva, using the name Daisy Renton began an affair with Gerald when they met in the bar of the Palace theatre.

Q Gerald explains that “…it was inevitable. She was young and pretty and warm-hearted – and intensely grateful.”
C Clearly, Gerald was acting for himself, and took advantage of Eva’s poverty.

S When the affair is exposed, he is initially ashamed, but when he discovers there may have been no death, he ignores his errors.
Q “Everything’s alright now, Sheila. What about this ring?”
C He refuses to see that his actions have consequences, and fails to treat Eva as a human being.

Para 4

S Mrs Birling encountered Eva Smith when she came to her asking for charity, which she refused. Mrs Birling defended her callous actions, saying, Q “I wasn’t satisfied with the girl’s claim… so I used my influence to have it refused.”
C It is obvious at this point that Mrs Birling is willing to be vindictive to the poor with her status.

S Believes her actions were correct
Q She arrogantly insists that, “I consider I did my duty…”
C At this point the audience sees Mrs B’s arrogant view of humankind.

S Total absence of compassion – esp. to the poor
Mrs Birling, throughout, reveals that she has no compassion for anyone outside her class.
Q She shows her sense of superiority when she reveals, “Girls of that class…”

Para 5 – The Inspector

S Shows that all our actions have consequences
Q “Each of you helped to kill her.”

S Uses the Birlings as a warning for the audience
Q “We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other.”
C The inspector makes absolutely clear Priestley’s message that compassion is the essential quality in our society.

• What was the issue you were addressing?
• How have you used the characters to show this main theme?
• What have you learned from the play?

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