An Inspector Calls
J.B.Priestly - John Boyton Priestly, born in Yorkshire in 1984. Always wanted to become a writer, worked in a wool factory before joining the infantry when the first world war broke out. He narrowly escaped death several times. After the war he started to write, his writing was both ground-breaking and very controversial. He often wrote about possible parallel universes and had strong political messages. In the second world war he ran a popular radio station, which was later cancelled by the BBC for being to critical of the government (it was said to be very left-wing). He died in 1984.
Political Views - In the 1930's Priestly became very aware of the effects of social inequality in Britain. Also in 1942 Priestley alongside others set up a new political party, named the Common Wealth Party. They wanted public ownership of land, greater democracy, and a new 'morality' in politics. In 1945 the party joined with The Labour Party. Priestly still influenced the welfare state that was set up after the war. Priestly also supported the idea of nuclear disarmament and helped to set up the CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament).
The Time Period (1912-1945) - Priestley was very deliberate in setting his play in a time period very different from the one he was writing in. In 1912, rigid class and gender boundaries seemed to make sure that nothing would change. Yet in 1945, most of those class and gender divisions had been breached. Priestley uses this play to encourage people to seize the opportunity the end of the war had given them to build a better, more caring society.
(a) - The Birling family are holding a dinner party to celebrate the engagement of Sheila to Gerald Croft, the son and heir of Mr Birling's rival in business. Mr Birling is very too anxious to impress Gerald, Eric seems rather nervous and Sheila playfully reminds Gerald that the previous summer he would not come near her. The atmosphere overall though is happy and lighthearted. The ladies leave and Mr Birling has a 'man to man' talk with his son and Gerald. He tells them every man must look after himself, his own family, and that they shouldn't worry about the community as a whole. During this conversation the door bells ring and Inspector Goole is introduced.
(b) - Inspector Goole announces to them that he has come to investigate the suicide of a young (working-class) girl. Her name was Eva Smith. After seeing a photograph of her, Birling admits he knew her, she used to be one of his employees: he sacked her when she became one of the ring-leaders of a strike asking for slightly higher wages. Birling believes he did the right thing by sacking her, and reminds everyone that he pays the usual rates for all his employees. He believes whatever happened to her afterwards is nothing to do with him.
(c) - Shelia enter the room and the…