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Socialism in 'An Inspector Calls'

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Hannah Spanner

on 27 February 2015

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Transcript of Socialism in 'An Inspector Calls'

Key beliefs of Socialism:

From each according to his ability, to each according to his contribution
Emphasis on profit being spread amongst society to complement wages
Means of production are publicly-owned
Compensation is based on the principle of individual contribution
Freedom of religion, but secularism is encouraged
Large-scale industries are collective efforts and thus the profit must benefit society as a whole
Class distinctions are diminished
All choices are up to the individual but everyone has equal access
[soh-shuh-liz-uh m]
A theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.
Procedure or practice in accordance with this theory.

Socialism in 1912-1945
Considering the context:

1912: Socialist parties were beginning to form. The Labour Party was formed in this year. Trade unions were growing but heavily disliked by business owners.

1945: Clement Attlee was voted in at the end of WW2 and instigated the welfare state (the NHS, social security, council housing, free education). The first performance of 'An Inspector Calls' was in Soviet Russia, a communist country.
Eva Smith/Daisy Renton
In a morality play, she would represent the Everyman
Her name represents this (Smith is a very common surname)
She is very poor and failed by the system i.e. Brumley Women's Charity Organisation
She is sacked by Birling for Union activity i.e. asking for higher wages
Throughout the play she is exploited by the upper middle-class Birling family (and Gerald)
Political spectrum
By Charlotte Banks, Becky Cheung and Jiya Saggu
Socialism in 'An Inspector Calls'
“We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other.”
"We have to share something. If there’s nothing else we’ll have to share our guilt."
"If there weren’t, the factories and ware houses wouldn’t know where to look for cheap labour. Ask your father."
"One Eva Smith has gone - but there are millions and millions and millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths still left with us, with their lives, their hopes and fears, their suffering and chance of happiness, all intertwined with our lives, and what we think and say and do."
"But these girls aren’t cheap labour – they’re people."
"I tell you – whoever that Inspector was, it was anything but a joke."
"You’re forgetting one thing I still can’t forget. Everything we said had happened really had happened. If it didn’t end tragically, then that’s lucky for us. But it might have done."
(With reference to Mrs. Birling's prejudice against Eva) "Mother, I think that was cruel and vile."
So I'm really responsible?
Mr. Birling
"We can’t let these Bernard Shaws and H.G. Wellses do all the talking. We hardheaded practical business men must say something sometime."
"They were all rather restless, and they suddenly decided to ask for more money."
“But the way some of these cranks talk and write now, you’d think everybody has to look after everybody else, as if we were all mixed up together like bees in a hive – community and all that nonsense.”
"But take my word for it, you youngsters - and I've learnt in the good hard school of experience - that a man has to mind his own business and look after himself and his own - and - "
Discussion activity:

We will ask you some questions about
'An Inspector Calls'. Those who get the questions right will get sweets!
Which system is this? Socialism or capitalism?
Full transcript