English Literature: An Inspector Call Theme - Social Class

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Why is Social class important in an inspector calls?
It influences the Birlings' behaviour and causes them to treat people differently.
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Did Priestley agree with the class system that had existed for a long time?
No.
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Why did Priestley design the characters?
To put across his message.
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What is the message of the play about?
Social responsibility - so class plays a central part in the plot.
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Who do the characters in the play represent? What does Priestley do with this?
The classes - and Priestley challenges their views and behaviour in order to challenge the class hierarchy.
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What were the three main classes in 1912?
Working, Middle and Upper.
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Which character(s) represents the working class?
Eva/Daisy
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Which character(s) represents the middle class?
The Birlings.
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Which character(s) represents the Upper Class?
Gerald.
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Talk about the working class in 1912.
They had the hardest jobs and little money.
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Talk about the upper class in 1912.
They inherited loads of land and money, and they were often Lords and Ladies.
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Talk about the middle class in 1912.
They owned factories or were professionals (like lawyers). They had plenty of money and control.
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Describe how Eva/Daisy represents her class.
She struggles through life, doing though jobs, only just earning enough to survive.
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Describe how the Birlings represents their class.
The Birlings are wealthy, own a business and are able ti live very comfortably.
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Describe how Gerald represents his class.
Gerald's family own land, and are socially 'better' than Arthur's. Inherited money had a higher status than trade.
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What did the class system do?
Make life difficult for those in lower classes, it would have been hard for people like Eva/Daisy to help themselves if they were in trouble.
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How does Priestley portray the upper classes attitudes to the poorer in society?
He shows them having limited sense of social responsibility - they either didn't know, didn't want to know or didn't care.
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What significance does Mrs Birling not recognising Eva's photo?
To her, Eva/Daisy has no significance.
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What does the Inspector the Birlings they must accept? Or else what?
They must accept everyone should have responsibility for each other, or it'll end in "fire", "blood" and "anguish"
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What does Priestley suggest higher classes didn't question? Why didn't they?
The class system as it worked for them. This is the same reason they overlooked problems of alcoholism and women - it was easier to ignore unpleasant things than to deal with them.
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Talk about Priestley's technique of how he presents Eva.
He presents her as more honourable than the middle and upper classes, which might have surprised some members of the audience.
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How does Eva/Daisy break the stereotype that she has low morals?
She refuses to accept stolen money even when she is desperate.
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Explain how Priestley present the opposite view to the Birlings that class is all that matters.
He suggests class only clouds people's judgements, and people should be judged by what they do, not what class they happen to be in.
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What is Priestley doing by presenting Eric and Sheila as having changed by the end of the play?
He's saying that class isn't all that matters, individuals can tun against the views of their own class, and break out and choose to act differently.
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What does Priestley use the play to reveal?
The unfairness of the class system.
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What does Priestley use the characters as?
exaggerated caricatures of all bad qualities he thought the ruling classes had.
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Is the play about just one family's scandal? Explain.
No, it shows how Priestley saw society. Priestley presents the Birlings' arrogant behaviour and selfish attitudes as common to the middle classes.
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What does Priestley present the working class as? Explain.
Victims of the class system. Although Eva/Daisy's story is unique, the miseries she suffering were probably quite common. Eva Smith could have been anyone.
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Why is Mrs B involved with the Women's Charity Organisation in Brumley?
For the social status.
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What is Birling's biggest concern about Eva's death?
That he won't get his knighthood because there will be a "public scandal"
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What is ironic about Birling's actions? - theme judgement
That he passes judgement on others in court when he's acted so immorally.
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What does Arthur think his positions of authority make him?
More important.
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Describe Birling's different positions of authority.
He'd been a Lord Mayor, an alderman (council member) for many years, and now he's a magistrate who sits in court and dishes out justice
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How does Birling use Gerald to promote his social class? What else is he very pleased about?
He asks his to hint to his parent that he's expecting a knighthood, and he's also very pleased that his daughter is marrying into a higher class/
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

Did Priestley agree with the class system that had existed for a long time?

Back

No.

Card 3

Front

Why did Priestley design the characters?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

What is the message of the play about?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

Who do the characters in the play represent? What does Priestley do with this?

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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