English Literature: An Inspector Calls Character Profile - Eric Birling

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Write about the theme 'family life'
Birling seems disappointed in his son and gets on better with Gerald. This must be a crushing blow for Eric.
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Write about the theme 'Judgement'
Gerald treats Eva/Daisy as his "mistress" and ends the affair - his reputation is not damaged. But Eric drunkenly gets Eva/Daisy pregnant, steals money for her and brings a scandal on his family.
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Talk about the writer's technique (behaviour)
Priestley uses Eric's odd behaviour to hint that his secrets will later disrupt and threaten the Birlings' whole way of life.
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Quote to support the view Eric Birling is Irresponsible
"I didn't even remember - thats the hellish thing"
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Quote to support the view Eric Birling is unloved
"You don't understand anything. You never did"
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Quote to support the view Eric Birling is an alcoholic
"I was in that state when a chap easily turns nasty"
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Quote to support the view Eric Birling is sensitive
"My God - I'm not likely to forget"
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How does Eric feel from the rest of his family?
Isolated - He says that nobody understands him and he doesn't feel as if he can talk to any of them
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What did Eric apparently do when he was drunk?
Force himself onto Eva/Daisy. He was so drunk he didn't even remember it happening.
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How does Eric feel about his actions towards Eva?
Deeply regrets them by the end he says he will never forget what he has learnt.
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How do Priestley's stage directions describe Eric?
"half shy" and "half assertive" and "not quite at ease"
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Describe the situation when Eric interrupts Sheila and Gerald.
He "suddenly guffaws" but says he doesn't know why he is laughing. He finds things his family says funny, even when there's no joke.
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Describe Eric's actions after Gerald has says "Unless Eric's been up to something"
Eric acts suspiciously and seriously - I don't think it;s very funny he says "still uneasy" and also answers "defiantly"
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What represents the families dark side?
Eric's drunkeness and bad behaviour.
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How to Eric's actions imply he is a heavy drinker - and has been for a while?
You see his "familiarity with quick heavy drinking" in the way he pours the whiskey in Act three. The rest of the family see this too.
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What two crimes has Eric committed?
He got a prostitute pregnant, his first encounter with Eva results in her getting pregnant, and theres a suggestion he forced himself on her. He stole money from the family business to support Eva.
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How are Eric's secrets potential dynamite?
If they got out and became public, the Birling's knighthood, Sheila's marriage and the whole family's reputation could be blown sky high.
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Where did Eric meet Sheila? What is significant about this?
at the stalls bar, which is exactly where Gerald met her when he was looking for prostitutes.
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What does play suggest about Eric (and Gerald's) behaviour?
It's a murky world these "respectable men" inhabit. However, the play suggests, their behaviour is normal for a middle class man.
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Who else (except Eric and Gerald) go to the stalls bar?
Birling's respectable friends, in order to find women. The Alderman, Meggarty, even assaults young women in the town hall. They're all behaving badly but nobody says anything.
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What leads to Eric's secret becoming revealed?
His behaviour wasn't unusual - lots of men were doing the same, just in secret. Eric lacks self control, thats how his secret gets out.
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What do Eric's parents only care about?
There not being a scandal. They don't care about Eric as much as they care about what the family will think of them.
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How does Eric's interruptions in the beginning of the play link to his actions with Eva Smith?
Erics laugh interrupts the polite conversation earlier in play. Its same when his behaviour disrupts polite middle-class illusion of respectability. Theyre all keeping up appearances, but Erics making it obvious that theres something murky underneath
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How does Eric feel throughout the play? (2)
Isolated and unsupported - he's had to find comfort somewhere else.
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Which situation is possibly the angriest moment in the play?
When Eric shouts at his Mother - "You don't understand anything. You never did. You never even tried -" perhaps he's right. but he's really yelling.
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Why does Eric not really seem like the villain in play even though he is?
He accepts responsibility for what he did - "the fact remains that I did what I did" He criticises his parents pretending nothing's happened - "You lot may be letting yourselves out nicely"
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

Write about the theme 'Judgement'

Back

Gerald treats Eva/Daisy as his "mistress" and ends the affair - his reputation is not damaged. But Eric drunkenly gets Eva/Daisy pregnant, steals money for her and brings a scandal on his family.

Card 3

Front

Talk about the writer's technique (behaviour)

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

Quote to support the view Eric Birling is Irresponsible

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

Quote to support the view Eric Birling is unloved

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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