An Inspector Calls

Theme, character and plot of An Inspector Calls

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  • Created by: Zahra
  • Created on: 04-05-13 11:49

Summary of Act 1: Part 1 (The Dinner Party)

1. The Birling family and Gerald Croft aew enjoying a dinner party to celebrate the engagement to Sheila

2. Mr Birling makes a speech congratulating the engaged couple and expressing the hope that their marriage will lead to closer and more profitable links between the Birling and Croft firms
   - Mr Birling: ' - and perhaps we may look forward to the time when Crofts and Birlings are no longer competing but are working together - for lower costs and higher prices' 

3. Gerald presents Sheila with an engagement ring

4. The women leave the room while the men enjoy port and cigars

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Summary of Act 1: Part 2 (Mr Birling confides in G

1. Gerald Croft and Mr Birling are left in the room alone
     - Mr Birling worries about what Gerald's mother thinks about the Birling family

2. Mr Birling tells Gerald he has a chance of getting a knighthood 
     - They joke about the scandal ruining the possibility of a knighthood

3. Mr Birling states that a man's only responsibility is to himself and his family
    - Mr Birling: 'a man has to mind his own business and look after himself and his own'

4. Everyone is interrupted by someone at the door

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Summary of Act 1: Part 3 (The Enquiry Begins)

1. The Inspector enters the room, Mr Birling tries to take control; mentioning his long service in local government and his role as a magistrate

2. The Inpector is unimpressed and says he has to make enquires about a girl who has died

3. Mr Birling recognises the girl, Eva Smith, from the photograph

4. It turns out that Mr Birling sacked the girl for her part in the strike for higher wages

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Summary of Act 1: Part 4 (Sheila's sympathy turns

1. When Sheila entered, Mr Birling assumes it's time for the Inspector to leave

2. The Inspector annoys Mr Birling by continuing his enquires
    - Sheila : 'What do you mean by saying that? You talk as if were responsible' 

3. Sheila is shocked by the description of the girl's suicide

4. Mr Birling becomes less aggressive to find he isn't the only one in the family that knows something

5. Sheila becomes agitated to hear that the girl's been sacked from Millward's

6. Shown a photograph, Sheila leaves the room crying

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Summary of Act 1: Part 5 (Sheila and the shop girl

1. Mr Birling is angry with the fact the Inspector has upset Sheila, and goes to tell his wife of the whole situation

2. Sheila comes back and confesses she was the customer that got the girl (Eva Smith) sacked

3. The Inspector makes Sheila aware of what she's done (and the effect of her action)

4. When the Inspector mentions that the girl was also known as Daisy Renton, Gerald reacts to this name - as it is familiar

5. Sheila warns Gerald not to try to hide the truth
  - When Gerald suggested they hide the truth about the girl and himself, Sheila responded:   'Why - you fool - he knows. Of course he knows. You'll see. You'll see'

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Summary of Act 2: Part 1 (Sharing the guilt)

1. Gerald hated the fact that Sheila decided to stay and hear the details of Gerald's involvement with Eva Smith/Daisy Renton

2. The Inspector said Sheila should stay because [Sheila] has accepted her share of responsibility and should hear what else happened to the girl, so Sheila does not feel she is to blame:
  - Inspector: '(to Gerald) I can tell you why Miss Birling wants to stay on and why she says it might be better for her if she did'

  - Inspector: 'And you think young women ought to be protected against unpleasant and disturbing things?'

3. They all agree that sharing something (even sharing the blame) is better than not sharing anything

4. Mrs Birling enters back in the scene

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Summary of Act 2: Part 2 (Mrs Birling bustles in)

1. Mrs Birling comes in and says Sheila has no need to stay and be part of the enquiry

2. Mrs Birling is puzzled when Sheila tries to warn her that the Inspector can find out anything (even if they try to they hide it)
   - Inspector: 'We often do [make an impression] on the young ones. They're more impressionable'

3. Mrs Birling tries to impress the Inspector by using her husband's status in the community

4. Mrs Birling is shocked to find that Eric has been regularly drinking far too much
   - Inspector: 'he's a young man. And some young men drink far too much'

5. Mrs Birling accuses Sheila of being the one who is destroying the family reputation:
   - Sheila is accused of destroying the family reputation because she is marrying someone who had an affair with another person, whilst in a relationship with her.
   - Secondly, she is showing bad manners infront of a guest. Which is not giving a good impression of the family.

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Summary of Act 2: Part 3 (Gerald's confession)

1. Mr Birling is becoming highly annoyed with the fact the Inspector is doing things his 'own way'

2. Gerald makes a huge mistake to deny he had anything to do with this girl
    - Inspector: 'As soon as I mentioned the name Daisy Renton, it was obvious you'd known her' 

3. Gerald then accepts that he had met the girl and she had become his mistress
    - Gerald: 'She looked young and fresh and charming and altogether out of place down there' 

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Summary of Act 2: Part 4 (Sheila warns her mother)

1. Sheila says that Gerald was not shown the photograph of the girl, the Inspector says there was no need

2. The Inspector shows the photograph to Mrs Birling

3. Mrs Birling says she does not recognise the girl in the photo, and is angry when the Inspector says she's lying
   - Sheila: 'we've no excuse for putting on airs and if we've any sense we won't try' 

4. Mrs Birling demands for an apology from the Inspector
   - Instead of apologising the Inspector says: power and influence bring 'responsibilities ans well as priviliges' 

5. Sheila advises her mother to tell the truth and not to make things up

6. The front door slams, Mr Birling goes to check if Eric has left

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Summary of Act 2: Part 5 (The deserving and the un

1. Mrs Birling returns, with the news that Eric has left the house

2. Mrs Birling admits she is part of the Brumley Women's Charity Organization, to help 'women in distress'

3. The Organization committee interviwed the girl (Eva Smith) two weeks ago

4. Mrs Birling was responsible for the girl being refused help

5. Mrs Birling tells her version of what the girl told the committee
    - When seeking for help at the committee, Eva Smith was seeking help under the name Miss Birling. This prejudiced Mrs Birling against Eva's case, because someone in a lower class was using her family name. This angered Mrs Birling. Mrs Birling said: 'that was one of the things that prejudiced me against her case' 

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Summary of Act 3: Part 1 (Eric in the spotlight)

1. Eric realises that they all suspect he had some involvement with the girl
    - Sheila says 'it's a good job for him' that he didn't hear anything that was said about the father of the unborn child of Eva Smith

    -Sheila says good Eric wasn't present to hear everything: 'because mother's been busy blaming everything on the young man who got this girl into trouble, and saying he shouldn't escape and should be made an example of-'

2. Eric admits that he met the girl, at the Palace bar, the previous November

3. He starts to tell his story and Mrs Birling is shocked and upset by what he says

4. Mr Birling insists that Sheila take her mother out of the room

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Summary of Act 3: Part 2 (A baby on the way)

1. Eric says how he met the girl again two weeks later

2. Eric describes their meetings and how the girl told him that she was pregnant
    - Eric: 'In a way, she treated me - as if I were a kid' 

    - Eric: 'I wasn't in love with her or anything - but I liked her - she was pretty and a good sport'

3. Eric gave the girl money, but she refused to accept any more

4. Mr Birling questions Eric about where he had got the money from

5. Eric admits he took the money from Mr Birling's office

6. Sheila and Mrs Birling, both, come back into the room

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Summary of Act 3: Part 3 ('Fire and blood and angu

1. Mr Birling tells Mrs Birling that Eric was responsible for getting the girl pregnant and has stolen money from the office

2. Mr Birling starts to plan and think about how he can cover up Eric's fraud

3. Eric is told of Mrs Birling's involvement in Eva's story, and automatically accuses his mother (Mrs Birling) of killing her own grandchild

4. The Inspector points out how each member of the family helped to push the girl to commit suicide

5. Before leaving, the Inspector warns of what will happen if people do not accept that they must live responsibly as part of a caring community
  - Inspector: 'One Eva Smith has gone - but there are millions and millions and millions of Eva Smith and John Smith left with us' 

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Summary of Act 3: Part 4 (A lesson not learnt)

1. The Inspector has already left, the family start to argue about what has happened

2. Mr Birling is worried that he will not get his knighthood, if this scandal spread

3. Sheila begins to wonder if Inspector Goole was a real police officer

4. The family believe if Inspector Goole was not a real police officer, then the scandal can be avoided
    - Sheila: 'But now you're beginning all over again to pretend that nothing much has happened' 

    - Sheila: 'The point is, you don't seem to have learnt anything'

5. Gerald returns

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Summary of Act 3: Part 5 (Three telephone calls)

1. The Birling family ask Sheila to hide Eric and Mrs Birlings' involvement with Eva Smith from Gerald, her future husband

2. Gerald says a local police sergeant has told him there's no one working as a police officer under the name Inspector Goole

3. Mr Birling telephones his close friend, the Chief Constable, who confirms there's no one working as a police officer under the name Inspector Goole
   - Mr Birling: 'I'll admit that fellow's antics rattled us a bit. But we've found him out - and all we have to do is keep our heads'  
  - Eric: 'You're beginning to pretend now that nothing's really happened at all' 

4. Gerald phones the Infirmary, and is told there hasn't been any suicides lately for someone drinking disinfectant

5. Gerald tries to persuade Sheila to take back the ring, but she needs time

6. The telephone rings, and a police inspector is on his way to the house to make enquires about a young girl's suicide

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