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Historical Background [Context ]

You shouldn't write lots and lots about this in your exam [a small paragraph at
most: 56 line summary]

IC is set in 1912, two years before one of the most important events in world history the
outbreak of the First World War.

Life in the…

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in the excitement about the creation of a new society, particularly after the hardships of the
2nd WW:

Start of the Welfare State
Huge programme of Nationalisation [ things run by govt not for profit but for benefit
of nation ]

Although set in 1912, IC was written and published…

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Reveals truth.....Teaches moral message about responsibility.....Warns of consequences
if message not heeded.





Characterisation
General: Birlings

The play highlights the current attitudes and problems within the privileged echelons of
society. Be aware: the Birlings are a reflection of many people with similar attitudes in
society. One critic has called them `a…

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P 17 verb `discharged' is particularly callous and depersonalised to describe his
treatment of Eva Smith.

Once critic has called him: `a caricature of the heartless capitalistic businessman'

Reflect naivety of upper class / detachment from reality:

Comments about Titanic and his view there will never be a war or…

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One of her main roles in play is therefore: to reflect narrow, uncaring, privileged
hypocrisy of many in her class and the gulf between the classes ­ note the irony of her views
which come through in her choice of words such as: `respectable'/ `duty'/`deserving.'

She makes a number of…

Page 6

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P40 ­ `you and I aren't the same people who sat down to dinner here'

P71 `you began to learn something...now you're ready to go on in the same old way'


Eric Birling
During the play he is exposed as:
A drunkard
The father of an illegitimate unborn child ­…

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Yet, despite this, he has redeeming features:
Shows genuine upset / remorse when the news of her death sinks in
Originally rescued her from clutches of drunken Alderman Meggarty
Set her up in Charlie Brunswick's flat and gave her money for food and clothes etc
Gave her parting gift of…

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An enigmatic figure single minded, doesn't deviate from his task or moral position.
Described using abstract nouns such as `purposefulness.'
Who is he? Various interpretations:

Name is an obvious pun on `ghoul' ­ could be seen as some kind of spirit, sent to torment
the consciences of the characters /…

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