Social Class in An Inspector Calls

  • Created by: XenaP26
  • Created on: 01-05-20 13:55
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  • Social Class
    • Key Quotations
      •   ‘these girls aren’t cheap labour – they’re people’ Sheila A1
        • Sheila understands it is wrong to think of the lower class as 'cheap labour' and they are in fact people.
      • ‘it’s my duty to keep labour costs down’ Birling A1
        • Birling sees the working class as something to be exploited for higher profit.
      •  'You mustn't try to build up a kind of wall between us and that girl' Sheila A2
        • Sheila suggests that we are all one community regardless of class so its morally wrong to divide the classes.
      • ‘We are members of one body. We are responsible for one another.’ Inspector A3
        • The Inspectors message reminds the audience that we are all one community regardless of class and so we must act like it.
      • ‘Giving us the port Edna, that's right’ Birling A1
        • Mr Birling treats Edna as functionary. Her presence is a reminder of the working class and her live is similar to that of Eva Smith.
    • Characters
      • Mrs Birling
        • Mrs Birling has the power to deny or give help to the lower social classes. She doesn't base her decisions on situations but her own prejudice.
        • Mrs Birling believes that because of her social class she is above question  so feels like the Inspector is being impertinent.
        • Mrs Birling believes that members of the lower class are  less capable of emotion, they are all liars and criminals.
      • Sheila
        • Sheila abuses her power to have Eva sacked - she assumes Eva will be able to take care of herself highlighting her ignorance towards the lower classes.
        • Sheila feels very responsible and realises they must not divide themselves from the lower classes.
      • The Inspector
        • The Inspector advocates for better treatment of the lower classes - as this is what Priestley wants.
        • The Inspector shows how the abuse of power of the Birlings had consequences for Eva Smith
        • The Inspector leaves them all with the message to be socially responsible: as members of the upper class they more than most are responsible for the welfare of those they employ and interact with - everyone.
        • As members of the bourgeoisie the family can control the lives of the working class more than the working class can. Birling controls wages, Mrs Birling can allow or deny help and Sheila, Gerald and Eric all had influence over what happened to Eva.
      • Mr Birling
        • Mr Birling views the working class as cheap labour.
        • The control the upper classes had over the working class meant they were easily exploited by the upper class.
        • Mr Birling takes no responsibility for his treatment of Eva feeling that he did his duty to keep labour costs down.
        • Mr Birling oppresses the working classes by paying them lower wages. He is selfish and egocentric feeling that he owes nothing to his workers.
        • Mr Birling does not believe they should be payed higher because its a free market so if the workers wanted better wages they should find a better job however this is not accessible to many and so many just suffered.
      • Gerald and Eric
        • Gerald and Eric both exploit Eva suggesting they view her as something to be exploited.
        • Gerald claims to have tired to save Eva but in fact  by using her he prevented her from ever advancing.


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