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An Inspector Calls

GCSE Literature Text
by

N Merrett

on 14 June 2016

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Transcript of An Inspector Calls

Step 1
Step 2
An Inspector Calls
Discuss for 2 mins with your partner and then write one PEE justifying your decisions.
Task: How will you show, as a director that...
By J.B. Priestley
Context
Characters
Writer's Techniques
Ideas from writer's introductory setting.
'Fairly large suburban house'
... small
'prosperous manufacturer'
'Good solid furniture of the period'
'substantial and heavily comfortable'
'Not cosy and homelike'
'Dessert plates, champagne glasses, port'
'Edna, the parlourmaid'
Setting
1912
Pre-WWI
Prosperity
Plentiful
'The characters are pleased with themselves'
Writer's Background
1912 politics
http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningzone/clips/j-b-priestley-an-inspector-calls-historical-context-pt-2-3/8181.html
Part 1
Watch how the BBC did the opening...
Dramatic Devices:
Set, costume, body language, posture, relationships, etc.
Priestley - the man
JB Priestley 1864-1984
Born in Bradford, Yorkshire. Mother died same year. Father, a teacher, remarried and Priestley had a happy childhood.
Aged 16 Priestley left school, ‘I wanted to write’ he recalls, ‘and I believed that the world outside classrooms and labs would help me to become a writer.’ He thus started a job (whilst presumably writing in his spare time) at a local wool firm as a Junior Clerk. The next few years were to colour his writing career; he was surrounded by ‘people who read a great deal, cared a lot for at least one of the arts, and preferred real talk and… hot argument to social chit-chat.’ These were not writers, but his father’s circle of socialist friends.
With the outbreak of the war in 1914, Priestley joined the infantry; at the age of twenty. By the time he left the army in 1919 he had seen active front-line service in France and had narrowly escaped being killed on at least one occasion. He was also the victim of a gas attack. Obviously, this was influential, ‘I was lucky in that war and have never ceased to be aware of the fact.’
Finally, he took a place at Cambridge University to read Modern History and Political Science. He did not take to academic life and left after finishing his degree in 1921 for London with his new wife, Pat, who later died from Cancer. Over the next seven years he established himself as a leading figure in the London theatre. One theme which recurred in his plays was the effects of an individual’s actions over a passage of time. The audience are shown possible projections of their actions which contrast poignantly with their present conditions. A second major theme is that of responsibility, both individual and collective.
He wrote An Inspector Calls in 1945, at the height of his writing career.
First Impressions...
What sort of tone is set in the opening?
Add
notes
to your character pages to show your initial responses... this will come in handy later...
'Special occasion' 'very nice. Very nice' Rep. shows emphasis.
'happiest days of my life' (insult to wife/exaggeration? Social class/business priority?)
a PELE might look like this one...
E.g. Mr Birling is very pleased about the engagement: 'special occasion.' He uses repetition, 'very nice, Very nice.' and hyperbole, 'happiest days of my life' without thought of the pressure he places on his daughter's shoulders. He clearly thinks very highly of Gerald's parents, 'Sir George and Lady Croft.' as we see when he uses their formal address,
Full transcript