Gerald - An inspector calls


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Planning for English Literature Exam Response
What does Priestly use Gerald to show? Priestly uses Gerald as a mirror image of Mr Birling in order
to highlight the fact that all capitalist men share the same narrow minded views. He uses Gerald in order to
get another Capitalist view into the play ­ but also to send a message to the reader as at the end of the play
Mr and Mrs Birling and Gerald remain the same whereas Eric and Sheila change. The unchanged outweigh
the changed here which is done by Priestly to express to the reader his views. He feels that the majority
of people will refuse change whereas the minority will welcome it.
What does Priestly use Sheila to show?
Priestly uses to portray the voice of the overlooked children who are brought up in a capitalist society.
Sheila starts off as an immature child, oblivious to what is going on in the world around her which is
supported by her shock when she finds out about her father firing Eva Smith,' These girls aren't cheap
labour, they're people.' Here Sheila begins to challenge her capitalist upbringing as she starts to develop her
own views ­ something she was unable to do before.
How to plan: 23 points per paragraph
Introduction to character
1) Who they are ­ aristocrat, capitalist
2) What the represent in Priestley's novel ­ his capitalist views and they way in which he
treats people is used as a reflection of how other capitalist men treat people
3) How reflect time/ relate to capitalist views
Gerald Croft is an aristocrat who shares the same Capitalist views as the Birling family. Gerald plays a
significant part the play as Priestley uses him and his actions throughout the play to portray a Capitalist
society in a negative light.
Paragraph 1: How Gerald progresses through section 1
Gerald is initially described as 'an attractive chap' and 'well bred' Priestley chose to refer to him as 'well
bred' to get his social status across to the reader. As the play was wrote in 1945 this quote suggests that it
was mentioned to express the importance of 'well breeding' at the time. This is highlighted by the fact that
Gerald's parent's failed to come to the engagement between Gerald and an untitled woman, Sheila. ' It's a
pity Sir George and ­ er Lady Croft couldn't be with us.' This is a clear indication that Gerald's parents
do not approve of Sheila due to her lower social status. Throughout act one we rarely hear Gerald speak,
instead he listens which could be interpreted as a way for him to adapt his speech to that of the Birling's ­
Gerald ingratiates himself to fit in with the Birling's which is supported by how he constantly agrees with Mr
Birling, 'I believe you're right sir.' Priestly chose to present Gerald in this way to portray him, along with
most capitalist men as frauds who ingratiate themselves through life to get what they want. This allows the
audience to question Gerald and why he feels the need to do this. Throughout act one we begin to see a
lot similarities between the views Mr Birling and Gerald share which is evident when Gerald agrees with Mr
Birling's reason for firing Eva Smith, Gerald states, ' you couldn't have done anything else.' This expresses
one of the key themes represented in the play of the flaws in a Capitalist society­ here Gerald genuinely
sees no other alternative other than firing Eva Smith. Priestley presents Gerald in this way to show just how
small minded Capitalists are as they fail to see the bigger picture of how their actions will affect people
around them. Priestly uses this as a key example of the flaws in a capitalist society as the rich have the

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When first asked how he knew Daisy Renton, Gerald replied bluntly, 'I didn't.' Gerald initially refuses to
admit that he knew Daisy Renton in order to protect himself. Priestly portrays the notion of responsibility
here, as Gerald refuses to accept responsibility for the role he played in Daisy's death by refusing to admit
even knowing her in order to protect himself.…read more

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