In our literature class, with Pato Chujman, we started reading An Inspector Calls, by J.B Priestley.
- Class division
- Social injustice
- Change in the economic system
- Women social & política Union was created
- Number of servants decreased
- Class división
- Only men could vote
- Division of classes
- Scientific, medical, technological advances
- Industrial revolution
- Kids were ill-treated in factores and mines
- Unemployment/ poor working conditions
- Population grew
- Gerald Croft–> Shelia’s Birling fiancée. He is a liar, since he told Sheila that he was very busy at work but he wasn’t. He is part of the upper class, so that’s the reason why Arthur wants him to marry her daughter, it meant more money.
- Arthur Birling that was the father. He believed businessman know better, that wars will end because nobody wants wars, that the world was progressing really fast and that WW1 wouldn’t even start
- Eric Birling –> son. Loves drinking. The black ship of the family.
- Shelia Birling –> daughter
- Sybill Birling–> mother
- Edna –> maid
- Inspector Goole
The background of the story:
It was written in 1945, but the story takes place in 1912. Priestly was against Capitalism and in the story Arthur Birling is shown as a capitalist man. The story is set in the Edwardian Era, were there was prosperity for the middle class and industrialist. But also, the working class was discontent which led to strikes.
Gerald and Mr Birling are alone
Read their conversation ( p. 8-9-10-11 upto Edna speaking)
-What are they talking about?
-They are talking about mr birling trying to enter to the honours list as a Knighthood. Mr Birling says that he had some hints that he will be chosen and Gerald congratulates him.
-Whats Mr Birling hoping to get?
-A Knighthood in the next Honours list
-Mr birling vs Geralds mother ~what is reveald in this conversation? ~How does A. Birling feel as regards the crofts?
Its reveald that the Birlings have a secret that the knighthood honors list cant find out. He feels that he can trust them because he told Sherald.
-According to Mr Birling, whats a mans responsability? ( quote from the play)
Acording to Mr Birling “a man has to make his own way – has to look after himself – and his family too, of course, when he has one- and so long as he does that he winr come to much harm. Bur the way some of these cranks talk and write now, you’d think everybody has to look up after everybody else, as iF we were all mixed up together like bees in a hive – community and all that nonsense
-They mention ” a scandal” , secrets that may affect characters in the future (literary device?)
Today, with Pato Chujman, our literarure teacher, we did some questions about the first act of An Inspector Calls. I did my 5 questions with Ines Galmarini and Lola Villegas.
Questions 19 to 23:
Questions 12 to 17:
Questions 1 to 5:
Questions 24 to 27:
Questions 15 to 20:
Questions 3 to 7:
Then we finished reading act 2.
First we did a mind map showing the relation Eva Smith had with each character.
Second we answer some questions from the book.
1) What is the mood at the dining room at the start of act 2?
The mood in the dining room at the start of the act two is tense because the first act finished with a lot of tension since Gerald had told Sheila that he cheated on her.
2)Why do Gerald and Sheila react “bitterly” to each other?
They react bitterly to each other because Sheila found out that Gerald was having an affair with Daisy Renton that was Eva Smith.
6)How does Mrs Birling re-enter the dinning-room? Why does Sheila warn her?
Mrs birling entered as she didn’t have nothing to do with Eva Smith and Sheila warned her that she didn’t have to separate herself from her because the inspector always found a connection.
7)What is Mrs Birling’s attitude to Eva Smith?
The attitude that Mrs. Birling had with Eva Smith was mean and selfish, because when Eva smith told Mrs Birling that she was expecting a baby she said that she had to go ask the father for help not them. She also isn’t understanding the situation because she is from a higher social status, she has never been that desperate.
19)How does the Inspector’s attitude start to change?
The inspector starts acting suspicious and threatening.
20)What makes Sheila suddenly aware of Eric’s involvement?
Sheila realises because she is the only one that can read the inspector and the inspector was being very obvious and dropping a lot of hints.
21)Why does Mrs Birling react in a “frightened” way?
Mrs Birling had just told the inspector that the man who had given her stolen money, Eric, had to suffer serious consequences and that he was entirely responsible for her death, and in that scene she just realised that the man was Eric.
22)What is the mood at the dining-room as Eric re-enters?
There is a lot of tension and everyone is scared of what is going to happen next.
Futhermore, we analyse each character. I did ir with Lola Villegas
– She is described as a “pretty girl in her early twenties, very pleased with life and rather excited”
– Shelia is the only character who understands the inspector’s game. “he is giving us the rope- so that we’ll hang ourselves” She warns the others.
– She is very suspicious and perceptive, she is the first to consider whether the inspector may not be real. Furthermore, she is curious yet very mature, because she was not angry at Gerald when he told the story about how he cheated on her.
– She is compassionate, she shows compassion when she hears of her fathers treatment to Eva Smith “But these girls aren’t cheap labour, they’re people”
– Shelia feels full of guilt for getting Eva fired, she blames herself completely as “really responsible” This is why, she couldn’t understand how her parents cannot have learnt from the evening in the same way that she has, they were still refusing the blame. She was angry at them. “Pretend that nothing happened”
– During the play, she gets much wiser. Her social conscience awakes and she gets aware of her responsibilities.
Mrs Sybil Birling
– She is described as “about fifty, a rater cold woman and her husband’s social superior”
– She is a snob, very aware of different social classes, dismissing Eva saying “Girl of that class”.
– She has the least respect of the inspector trying, unsuccessfully, to intimidate him and force him to leave by lying.
– She sees Shelia and Eric as “children”.
– Sybil tries to deny things she does not want to believe, like Eric’s drinking and the fact that a working class woman would refuse money by saying “She was giving herself ridiculous airs”
– She could not accept the blame. She thinks it was her “duty” to refuse to help her. She claims, that the father of the child should be the one who takes care of her. Obviously, she didn’t know that the father was Eric.
– At the end of the play, she accepts that Eric drinks and got pregnant helping a poor woman stealing money to his father. Moreover, she accepts that Shelia is not going to marry Gerald. But anyway, she does not accept the blame for Eva’s suicide.
– He is described as “in his early twenties, not quite at ease, half shy half assertive”
– He seems embarrassed and awkward “Eric suddenly guffaws”
– He has a tension relationship with his father
– He is a hardener drinker “I have attired that he does drink pretty hard”
-Eric support workers and not his father. He states “why wouldn’t they try for higher wages?
-He feels, like Shelia, guilt and frustration”Oh-my God! – how stupid it all is!”
-He has a sense of responsibility since he steals money to give it to Shelia.
– He cant believe that his parents could not accept the blame. “I’m ashamed of you” Eric stood up to his father
-At the end, like Shelia, he is fully aware of social responsibility.
“heavy-looking, rather portentousman in his middle fifties but rather provincial in his speech.”Worked his way up in the world and is proud about it. He tries (and fails) to impress the Inspector about his local standing and his influential friends. “I was an Alderman for years – and Lord Mayor two years ago – and I’m still on the Bench – so I know the Brumley police officers very well (…)”He is proud that he is likely to be knighted, as that would move him even higher in social circles. “there’s a fair chance that I might find my way into the next Honours list. Just a knighthood, of course.”He is happy about the celebration not because of Sheila’s happiness but because merger with Crofts Limited would be good for his business. “Your father and I have been friendly rivals in business (…) and now you’ve brought us toghether”.Optimistic for the future and believes that there won’t be a war. “you’ll hear some people say that war is inevitable (…) nobody wants war.”Extremely selfishBelieves that socialist ideas that stress the importance of the community are “nonsense” and that “a man needs to make his own way.”He wants to protect Birling & Co and can’t see he was wrong when he fired Eva because he was just looking after his business.Wants to protect his reputation. He’s worried about what the press would think and he wants to hide the fact that Eric stole money. “I’ve got to cover this up as soon as I can.”At the end of the play, he knows that he has lost his opportunity fo the knighthood, his reputation in Brumley and the change of Birling & Co merging with the rivals. However, he refuses to accept his part in Eva’s death and doesn’t learn the lesson.
“an attractive chap about thirty, rather too manly to be a dandy but very much the easy well-bred man-about-town.”An aristocrat, his parents are not overly impressed by his marriage because they didn’t show up to the celebration. “It’s a pity that Sir George and – er – Lady Croft can’t be with us”.Not as willing as Sheila to admit his involment in Eva’s death.He did have genuine feelings for Daisy Renton. “She was young and pretty and warm-hearted – and intensely grateful.”In act 3 he tries to gather evidence that the Inspector is fake. He tries to protect himself rather than change himself.At the end of the play, he hasn’t changed; he hasn’t gained a.new sense of social responsibility.
-She is described as “very pretty-sift brown hair and big dark eyes”
-Her parents were dead
-She came from outside Bromley “country bred”
-She had a diary
-“A man in his fifties (…) he speaks carefully, weightily, and has a disconcerning habit of looking hard at the person he adresses before actually speaking.”
-Works very sistematically. His method is to confront the suspect with a piece of information and then make them talk. “he’s giving us the rope – so that we’ll hang ourselves.”
-Figure of authority, deals with each member of the family very firmly.
-Seems to know and understand an extraordinary amount.
-Knows the story of Eva Smith and the Birling’s involvement in it.
-He knows things are going to happen.
-He loses his patience towards the end of the play and is in a great hurry.
-He leaves the family with the message ‘We are responsible for each other’ and warns them of the ‘fire and blood and anguish’ that will result if they don’t learn the lesson.
– The end suggests that the Inspector isn’t a real person – God? A ghost? The voice of their conciences
Last but not least, we analyse the theams which are: using power firnthe worng, social responsibility, guilt and consiencie, acceptance, an inequality society and relationships