English Literature: An Inspector Calls Introduction

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Describe Arthur Birling.
A successful businessman who is well respected in Brumley. He owns a factory and is the head of the Birling family.
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Describe Sybil Birling.
Arthur's wife, and obsessed with etiquette and status in society.
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Describe Eric Birling.
The Birlings' son. He's a secret alcoholic who's going to inherit his father's business.
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Describe Sheila Birling.
The Birlings' daughter. She's in her early twenties, and is engaged to Gerald.
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Describe Gerald Croft.
An upper-class businessman. He's about thirty, and is engaged to Sheila.
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Describe Edna.
The Birlings' parlour maid. She doesn't have many lines, but she welcomes the Inspector into the house. She's the only working-class woman on stage.
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Describe The Inspector.
A mysterious man who claims to be a police inspector. He's investigating the death of Eva Smith.
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Describe Eva Smith/Daisy Renton.
The victim of the play. We never see her. She might be lots of different girls. She might not even be dead...
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Who wrote an Inspector calls?
J.B Priestley.
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What is an Inspector Calls about?
Society and Class Divides.
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When did Priestley write an inspector calls?
1945 - near the end second world war. The audience would have seen how the war affected everyone. Soldiers were returning from the war and hoping for a better life.
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When was an inspector calls set?
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What were the problems with society in 1912?
Society wasn't equal - people with more money and from a higher class had more power.
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What did Priestley want the people to think about in 1945?
He used the unequal society of 1912 to get people to think about inequality in 1945. He wanted his audience to unite to improve society.
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Why did Priestley write an Inspector calls?
To challenge his audience to think about how many more disasters lay ahead for them if they didn't learn from past mistakes.
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What does the audience already know about the time an Inspector Calls was set?
That the characters' world is going to go through terrible changes. 1912 was just before the first work war, which began in 1914 and killed millions of people.
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Describe the main events of Priestley's life.
1894-born Bradford 1910-left school work as clerk 1914-18/WW1-wounded/survives 1921-degree in mod hist/politics at cambridge 1922-work as journalist 1939-WW2 start 1940-presenter 1941-42-founds many socialist organisations 1945-WW2 ends 1984-dies
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What age did Priestly die?
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Talk about Priestly's time as a radio presenter.
Presented a popular BBC radio programme 'Postscripts' but his show was cancelled after members of government decided his views were too left wing (socialist)
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Describe the fictional town of Brumley.
An industrial city in the North Midlands.Many factories, thousands of terrace houses for workers.
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Name the eight key/main locations in an Inspector calls.
Police station, Palace Theatre and Bar, The Birlings' house, Gerald's friend's flat in Morgan Terrace, Hospital and Mortuary, Milwards, Eva's lodgings and Birling and Co. Factory.
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Describe the situation of the upper and middle class in 1912.
They lived pretty comfortably, many middle class men were wealthy and powerful because they had businesses or professional jobs e.g doctor
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Describe the situation of the lower class in 1912.
They had to work hard for little money, often in factories owned by the middle class.
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Describe what the people were expected to do in 1912. What effect did this have on the working class?
provide for themselves so support for those in need were limited. This made it difficult for the working-class to help themselves if they fell on hard times.
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What are the Birling family celebrating at the beginning of the play? What's the atmosphere like?
They are celebrating Sheila's engagement to Gerald.It seems to be going well but Sheila suspects that Gerald lost interest in her last summer.
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Who and what does Arthur Birling give a speech to/about?
To Eric and Gerald about business. He says every man should look after himself.
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What does Inspector Goole say when he arrives? What does he start to do?
He says a women called Eva Smith has committed suicide by drinking disinfectant. He starts to question the family members one by one.
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What is revealed about Arthur and Sheila Birling?
Arthur sacked Eva Smith from his factory for striking in protest against low wages and Sheila asked for Eva to be sacked from a department store last year.
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Which to characters react (and how) when the Inspector explains Eva Smith changed her name to Daisy Renton.
Gerald appears shocked. Eric leaves.
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What does Gerald eventually admit?
He spent last summer with Daisy Renton - she was his mistress.
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What causes Gerald to leave the Birling Household?
Sheila returns his ring.
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What does the Inspector get Sybil to confess?
That she persuaded the Women Charity Organisation to reject Eva/Daisy's appeal for help. Eva/Daisy was pregnant at the time.
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Who does Sybil blame for the death of Eva?
The father of Eva's child.
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Who does Sheila guess the father of Eva's child is?
Eric Birling.
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When Eric returns, what does he know?
That the inspector has led everyone to the conclusion that he's the father of Eva's unborn child.
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What does Eric reveal about his involvement with Eva?
He met Eva Smith at a bar and drunkenly forced her to have sex. He got her pregnant and then stole money from his father's office to support her.
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What did Eva Smith do with the stolen money Eric gave her?
Rejected it and turned to Sybil's charity for help.
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What did Eric say Sybil's actions did?
Murdered her own grandchild by refusing to give her charity,
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What does the Inspector remind the Birling family when he leaves?
That we are all responsible for each other. He warns that unless everyone learns to look after each other, the lesson will have to be learnt with greater suffering,
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What does Gerald tell the Birling family when he returns? What does this lead Arthur to do?
That he's spoken to a police officer who doesn't recognise the name 'Goole'. Birling calls the police station to confirm there is no inspector called 'Goole' in the area.
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What do Sheila and Eric argue even after they find out the Inspector was a hoax?
That they are all still guilty of treating somebody badly.
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What happens at they very end of the play?
The phone rings. A young woman has just been found dead after drinking disinfectant, and the police are sending an inspector to question the Birling family...
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Which three characters relax when they find out the Inspector was a hoax?
Arthur, Sybil and Gerald.
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Who calls the Infirmary? Why?
Gerald to find out if anybody has committed suicide - they haven't.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


Describe Sybil Birling.


Arthur's wife, and obsessed with etiquette and status in society.

Card 3


Describe Eric Birling.


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


Describe Sheila Birling.


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


Describe Gerald Croft.


Preview of the front of card 5
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