An Inspector Calls – Planning

Answers to questions in this part should refer to the text and to such relevant features as characterisation, key scene(s), structure, climax, theme, plot, conflict, setting . . .

Choose a play which explores an issue or theme which interests you.

By referring to appropriate techniques, explain how this issue or theme is explored.

 

Introduction

  • “An Inspector Calls”; J.B. Priestley; 1945
  • A girl has committed suicide because of the actions of a wealthy family.
  • Explore theme of social responsibility, and how it connects to every member of the family.

Mr Birling

  • Refuses to pay his workers a better wage.
  • “If you don’t come down hard on these people they’ll soon be asking for the earth.”
  • ANALYSIS
  • He fires her for making a modest request.
  • “Cranks and socialists.”
  • ANALYSIS

Mrs Birling

  • Refuses to give Eva Smith charity when she most needed it.
  • QUOTATION
  • ANALYSIS
  • Insists that the father of her child should be punished – not understanding that her own son is the guilty man.
  • QUOTATION
  • ANALYSIS

Eric and Sheila

  • Contrast with their parents – they accept that their actions have had consequences.
  • Sheila is devastated to hear that she had a hand in Eva Smith’s death.
  • QUOTATION
  • ANALYSIS
  • Eric accepts his guilt in her death.
  • QUOTATION
  • ANALYSIS

Eva Smith

  • Represents all people in society – her fate could happen to any of us.
  • QUOTATION
  • ANALYSIS
  • She is a vehicle for Priestley’s message – everyone in society must look after each other.
  • QUOTATION
  • ANALYSIS

Conclusion

  • Each character responds differently to the idea of social responsibility.
  • Some accept they must help others, some do not.
  • The audience is left in no doubt about how J.B. Priestley thinks we should behave towards each other.