An inspector calls revision guide. helpful :)

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J.B. Priestley ,
An Ins;Jpector Calls
Revision Guide
Page 1: The chronology of the play
Page 2: Themes
Page 2: Plot and structure . \
Page 3: What is the significance of Priestley writing ~ play in:1946 which is set in 1912?
,.;p,.age 5: Who is the Inspec..t~? ---~~ ~~
Page 6: Revision ideas about narrative structure .
Page7: Looking at two characters in detail: Mr Birling and Sheila
The chronology 'of the play:
Year and month - What 'happens
September 1910 -' Eva sacked by Bir1ing & Co.
December 1910 Eva employed by Milwards.
Late January 1911 Eva sacked by Milwards.
March 1911 Eva becomes Gerald's mistress.
Early September 1911 Gerald breaks off the affair. Eva leaves Brumley for two
months. .
'November 1911 Eric meets Eva.
December 1911/January 1912( Eva fmds she is pregnant.
Late March 1912 'Mrs. Birting turns down Eva's application for help.
Early Apri11912 Eva's suicide/the Inspector calls*

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Page 2

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Social responsibility - everyone is responsible for evet]one else. Who says this? Knows this?
Learns this? Refuses to accept this? Group people in term~ of how they respond to these
Personal responsibility: who does -and does not - accept responsibility for his or her own
actions? How closely are the two types of ,responsibility linked?
What kinds oflove do we see in the play? Husband and wife; parents and children; brother and
sister; engaged couple; illicit lovers.…read more

Page 3

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What is the significance of Priestley writing a play in 1946 which is
set in 1912?
The play opens with a scene of great luxury: a wealthy family is celebrating an engagement in a
very lavish fashion. This will be obvious to an audience that has spent the Second World War
without the luxuries that the Birlings are so abundantly enjoying (rationing contmued into the
1950s).…read more

Page 4

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Note that both Mrs Birling and Lady Croft have married 'down' socially-
-presumably for money. Class therefore operates at every level in this play. Birling's knighthood
will bring hinf closer to the Crofts (though still not equal) and is clearly his main concern when
considering Eva's fate. '
This rigid social hierarchy is repeated in the family unit. Father was head of the family and his
word was law. Mothers had some influence, especially over daughters, but were less direct in
showing power.…read more

Page 5

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Think about how Mrs Birling insists upon
the responsibility of the father - this could almost be a kind of feminism.
When you have looked at all of these ideas, you should consider the question in a more general
sense.…read more

Page 6

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His foreknowledge of Eva's death and intimate knowledge of Eva's life although he never
spoke to he~ .
· His prediction of a massive social catastrophe ("fire and blood and anguish") which
clearly refers (for the Birlings) to the First World War and (for the audience) to both
World Wars. ·
· His name: a "ghoul" is an evil demon, which eats the flesh'ofthe dead, or, .
metaphorically, a person obsessed by another's d~ath.…read more

Page 7

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Looking at two characters in detail: Mr Bitting and Sheila
Mr Birling
· prosperous factory owner, not the social equal of his
. .
wife.…read more

Page 8

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· at the start ofthe play she is 'very pleased with life'. She is young, attractive and has just
become engaged
· her happiness is soon to be destroyed as is her faith in her family
.· her response to the tragedy is one of the few encouraging things to come out of the play.…read more


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