When Priestley wrote “An Inspector Calls” in 1945 but set it in 1912. I feel Priestley did this because he believed that in 1945 there was a time for a change and Priestley want to make people realize how before the war there was a very strong barrier between the social classes, and how affective it was when people came together in the war effort. As Priestley was a socialist he therefore wanted there to be break down the classes, he links this in to the play to show the supposed arrogance from higher class people towards the lower class as the lower class need the higher class to live a decent life and vice versa.Order now
He once wrote “We had a glimpse then of what life might really be like if men and women freely dedicated themselves not to their appetites and prejudices, their vanities and fears but to some great communal task”. I feel this quote has a strong connection towards he play as if Mrs. Birling tried to forget her prejudices about Eva, Sheila not worrying about her vanities and Mr. Birling was not so fearful of how much trouble Eva was going to cause in the factory, but if they put all that worry into helping people like Eva the world would be a much better place!
Background: Priestley was born on the 13th of October 1894 in Bradford. His mother died in the same year as his birth and his father was a school master. Priestley left school at the age of 16, to hopefully become a successful writer/journalist, what a coincidence! Before he fulfilled his dream he worked in a wood factory so he could earn enough money to do this. Priestley was also in World War One and survived it in tacked. Whilst he was at war with Germany, he saw loads of things which sickened him and influenced him to write books. When he when he wrote and talked and talked he liked to engage in political matters hence why I think “An Inspector Calls” has one – “Equal rights”
Later on in the 1920’s Priestley became a great success with his books, then later he produced and stared in a radio show on the BBC which showed his war opinions and socialist and humane attitudes . I believe that in Priestley’s plays particularly An Inspector Calls he uses the characters to show the microcosms of society hence why he used Sheila and Eva who must have been roughly around the same age to define the two classes.
Shelia Shelia as a character: Shelia is the daughter of Mr. And Mrs. Birling; Shelia is engaged to Gerald Croft. The part Shelia plays in the play is a person who is very full of herself and is very vain and spoilt. By the middle to the end of the play Shelia’s attitudes change because of Eva/Daisy’s death which she thought she played a part in by getting her sacked form Milwards. I believe that Shelia was deliberately created for this play because it can show how people can change so quick also I believe that Shelia was a bit prejudice at the start of the play, although she never talked of the lower class because she thought they were just there to serve people. But her now knowing the story she sees.
Shelia In the eyes of Mr. And Mrs. Birling: As Shelia is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Birling, I believe that the parents are so over protective of her with the belief that she is incapable, whilst Shelia desperately wants to be in control. In a way Mr. Birling use Sheila as a asset to his company to help he expand it by adding Gerald Croft’s side of the business together to make Birling’s and Croft’s LTD, this will also help the family good reputation, however Sheila can not see this necessarily happening in the distant future if she is in control. It is ironic that due to Croft’s affair with Eva, it clearly shows the Birling’s incompetence of choosing a suitable partner for their daughter in light of what is good for her as opposed to themselves. This is a sharp contrast to today’s society.
Shelia’s attitudes towards her Parents after the Inspector left: When the inspector left the whole family in shock of all the events that went on that evening. They were then discussing the thing that went on that evening and her parents were only thinking about themselves that the whole interrogation was a hoax but Shelia, Gerald and Eric were ashamed of Mr. And Mrs. Birling and believed that even though the whole ordeal was a hoax, they shouldn’t treat people that poorly, no matter what class
Eva Smith/Daisy Renton: From what we find out in the play is that Eva/Daisy would stand up for her self no matter what because when she worked for Mr. Birling’s company she was asking for a little pay rise but Mr. Birling wouldn’t allow her to have one and dismissed her from the works, but this shows that Eva/Daisy knew the difference between right and wrong Eva/Daisy in the eyes of Mr. and Mrs. Birling “They’d be soon asking for the earth” Mr. Birling believes that the lower class would be like leeches (always wanting more) so Mr. Birling dismissed her, his attitudes to the other workers is very poor standard “minimum pay, doesn’t care about there safety”
Mrs. Birling thinks the same as Mr. Birling about Eva/Daisy, Mrs. Birling is the chairwoman of the Brumley’s Women’s Charity, and the actions that Mrs. Birling taken against here was very uncharitable like and very prejudice. I believe that Mrs. Birling refused to give Shelia help was because she was of the lower class and the fact she used Mrs. Birling as her name. Mrs. Birling believed that Shelia was “just another person” and not a part of society due to her social standing.