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An Inspector Calls

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Michael Piergalski

on 25 February 2015

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Transcript of An Inspector Calls

Social Justice
An Inspector Calls
Takes place in fictional Brumley.

Liberal Party in power.

Shops Act put into place.

Suffragettes were causing problems.
Historical Context
Mr. Birling - heavy-looking, mid-50s. Tries to be well-mannered, but is provincial.

Mrs. Birling - About 50. Cold. Socially superior to Mr. Birling.

Sheila Birling - Early 20s. Pretty. Pleased with life.

Gerald Croft - 30. Attractive chap. Manly.

Eric Birling - Mid-20s. Half shy, half assertive
Day #1
1. Why would Priestley choose to set his play in 1912?

2. What examples of dramatic irony are present in this section? What do they show about the characters?

3. This play is all about class dynamics. Go back and note any time class came up.
Day #2

1. Highlight and label any signs you see of the differences in the generations.

2. Label why/how Sheila and Gerald are responsible.
End of Act III
1. What does the end mean?
4. When does Sheila say something as a half-joke or a tease? There is a kernel of truth in her jabs.

5. What evidence do you see of gender attitudes?

6. Mr. Birling seems obsessed with moving up in class. What evidence do you see of this?
"Mr. Birling's callousness towards his workers is astonishing, given his background." How is this true, given a comment he makes on page 12.
"We're respectable citizens, not dangerous criminals."
"Sometimes there isn't as much difference as you think."
Priestley believed and wrote about the following ideas regarding time:
Time 1 = How most people experience time everyday - linearly. This is normal, everyday life.
Time 2 = Dreamtime - the time in which we can wander through Time 1, seeing the future and the past.
Time 3 = An alternate/branching/sideways time - the time in which we can make choices and change the world, or at least our paths through time. Only certain people have the ability to access Time 3.
2. Who is the Inspector, really?
3. Does it matter? What's Priestley's overall message?
Adage: What goes around comes around.
Action: Bobby is playing in the state tennis tournament. He's in the semifinals and the match is close - the first set is tied 5-5. Bobby is down 30-40 on his serve. He hits his first serve into the net. His opponent, Steve, calls his second serve out, even though it was clearly in. Despite his protestations, Bobby must accept the fact the he lost the game, as there is no chair umpire around.

Bobby considers cheating Steve back, but decides against it. Steve holds serve to win the first set. However, when he reaches into his bag for a water bottle, Steve accidentally cuts himself on a broken pickle jar in his bag. (Players often keep pickles in their bags to help with muscle cramps.) His hand is injured and he cannot continue. Bobby advances to the state finals.
Positive Outcome: Because he did not cheat, Bobby got rewarded with the victory.

Negative Outcome: Because he cheated, Steve did not get the victory he was after. Instead, he got a cut-up hand.
1. What goes around comes around.
2. Don't worry, be happy.
3. Learn from your mistakes.
4. False friends are worse than open enemies.
5. Safety first.
6. Hindsight is 20/20
7. United we stand; divided we fall.
8. If there's a will, there's a way.
9. An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
10. The early bird catches the worm.
11. Don't drink and drive.
12. No pain, no gain.
So who is the Inspector?
1. The Inspector is a supernatural being (ghost, God, spirit, time traveler) who has forewarning of the events and has come to force those responsible to acknowledge their part. Perhaps this lesson taught could avoid the awful wars in the near future. This also allows Priestley to give the play an extra bit of drama and a ghost story classic ending.
The Inspector is not a ghost; he's merely a dramatic device. JB Priestley was a Socialist with strongly held political views. The play is as much a lesson as a piece of entertainment - the Inspector as a character exists ONLY to reveal the terrible crimes of each of the other characters - and how their individual moral failings (small on their own) have all played their part in the death of Eva Smith. Once the characters confess, he (the device) is no longer needed and leaves, never to be sen again.
Decide which characters symbolize each deadly sin
Write a line from the play illustrating that character performing that sin.
Imagine a character walking down a road. Describe the road on paper, from the character's point of view. Next, the character comes to a coin in the road. Describe the coin, and what the character does when he/she sees it. After the coin, the character encounters a body of water. Describe the body of water, and what the character does when he/she comes to it. Finally, the character comes to a fence. Describe it, and what the character does.
Viewing the Play from Multiple Perspectives.
James, a senior high school student, was unable to study for a final chemistry exam because of a family dispute at home. He needs a good mark to get into university. The chemistry teacher has said that only a doctor’s certificate will allow students to miss the exam. In his opinion, James can eithercheat on the exam or not get into university.
Nicole, a grade 12 student, was missing her boyfriend Mike who moved away to attend his first year of university. In an attempt to bring Mike back into her day-to-day life, Nicole decided to stop taking her birth control pills and became pregnant. When Nicole told Mike of her pregnancy, Mike decided to quit school, move back to his hometown, and marry Nicole. They now live together with their newborn baby. Nicole told her two close friends about what she did. Nicole’s friend, Morgan, also has a boyfriend who has recently moved away. Yesterday, Morgan asked Nicole if she should get pregnant to secure her boyfriend’s attention and affections.
White: Objective - see information in a logical manner
Yellow: Sees positive - the good, bright side of things.
Black: Judgment - sees problems, what could be better.
Red: Intuitive - sees things emotionally. Expressive.
Green: Creative - sees alternative ideas and possibilities.
Discuss each problem from your given perspective.
Write one of the following:
1. Eva's letter of dismissal, written by Mr. Birling.
2. A letter from Gerald to Daisy Renton finally ending their affair for good.
2. Eva's notice of rejection of financial assistance from the Brumley Women's Association, written by Mrs. Birling.
3. A petition or letter from Eva Smith to Mr. Birling outlining the plight of the workers who have chosen to go on strike
4. A letter of complaint from Sheila to the manager of Milwards demanding that the "impertinent" young salesgirl be fired for poor customer service.
How you'll be marked (10 pts):
+Creativity -
+Use of details from the play
+How the purpose is accomplished
(1) Write about a genuine or hypothetical instance in which you rationalized a dishonest action.
(2)Have any characters from An Inspector Calls rationalized their poor behavior? Explain.
25-75 Reading Strategy
Simple: Spend 25% of your time skimming the passage. Spend the other 75% hunting down the questions.
TIPS: 64E Section V
1. NO commas between prep. phrases and the words they modify.
2. To vs. Too
3. Choose the SPECIFIC and VIVID answer.
4. The 5 connectives: Agreement, Contrasting, Cause and Effect, Temporal, and Emphasis
5. Prep. phrases go CLOSE to the words they modify.
75 = 36
74 = 35
73 = 34
72 = 33
71 = 32
70 = 31
69 = 30
68 = 29
66-67 = 28
65 = 27
63-64 = 26
61-62 = 25
58-60 = 24
56-57 = 23
53-55 = 22
49-52 = 21
46-48 = 20
Full transcript