An Inspector Calls context

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  • An Inspector Calls Context
    • Britain in 1912
      • Firmly divided along class lines.
        • Those with the most money had the most power.
        • The Labour Party was formed in 1906 to represent the interests of the working class.
      • Only men who owned property could vote.
        • Women weren't allowed to vote in national elections at all.
          • Women's lives were very controlled by men,
      • There wasn't much government help for people in need.
        • This made charities like Sybil's very important.
      • Britain was heading towards WWI and the Titanic.
    • Britain in 1945
      • Still divided by class but by 1928 all men and women over 21 got the vote.
        • This meant that power was spread more evenly.
      • There were still conflicts between business owners and workers.
        • In 1926 there was the General Strike.
      • From 1930 the global economic slump known as the Depression hit many industries.
        • There was a big increase in unemployme-nt and many workers faced terrible poverty.
      • Priestley wrote the play during WW2.
        • Millions of people from all classes had fought for Britain and people wanted a better society.
        • The world wars made people question the capitalist view and socialism became more popular.
          • The Labour Party won the 1945 General Election by a landslide.
            • They focused on improving the welfare system to look after the needs of the poorest as well.
    • Family and Gender
      • Parents were in charge of the family and the children were meant to be obedient and unquestionin-g.
      • Gender roles were well defined:
        • Men were expected to:
          • Work to support their family.
          • Protect women, especially their wives and daughters.
        • Women were expected to:
          • Marry into money so they didn't have to work.
          • Plan parties, visit friends and have children.
            • They didn't do things like cooking or cleaning.
      • The Birlings want everyone to believe that they're a perfect family.
    • Social Class
      • There was a clear class structure:
        • Middle class- owned factories or were professionals (eg. lawyers), had plenty of money and control.
        • Upper class- inherited loads of land and money, often lords and ladies.
      • The class system made life difficult for those lower down.
      • Priestley thought that the upper classes either:
        • Didn't know.
        • Didn't want to know.
        • Didn't care.
      • The Birlings thought that class was all that mattered.
        • Priestley thought class shouldn't matter.
          • He used the play to reveal the unfairness of the class system.
            • He presented the lower classes as victims.


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