How Does Jb Priestley Present the Older and Younger Generations Differently Throughout the Play ‘an Inspector Calls’

Topics: An Inspector Calls, J. B. Priestley, Social class Pages: 3 (1180 words) Published: December 11, 2012
How does JB Priestley present the older and younger generations differently throughout the play ‘An Inspector Calls’ (45 mins) The older and younger generation are represented clearly from the start of the play. There are differences between the generations when concerning the characters attitudes and how much responsibility they take, this is represented, mainly when the Inspector reveals what has happened. The older generation include Mr and Mrs Birling and the younger Sheila and Eric. Mr Birling is extremely selfish. He wants to protect himself first and then his family. He believes that socialist ideas that stress the importance of the community are "nonsense" and that a "man has to make his own way" completely contradicting the overall message of the play and creating a character that the audience severely dislike. He cannot see that he did anything wrong when he fired Eva – he was just looking after his business interests. He wants to protect his reputation. As the Inspector's investigation continues, his selfishness gets the better of him. He is worried about how the public will view the story in act 3. He wants to hide the fact that Eric stole money rather than deal with the issue that his son is at ‘rock bottom’ by saying "I've got to cover this up as soon as I can" we can see Birling’s blatant disregard to how someone that cannot get him any financial or social gain feels. Eric on the other hand fully admits his wrong doings and accepts responsibility. Birling being part of the older generation is represented as the exact person that Priestley hates. He is completely unsympathetic towards Eva Smith and will take no responsibility for his actions as his self-important behaviour makes helps to convince himself that he has done nothing wrong this can be shown in his wife when Mrs Birling states “I think she had only herself to blame.” by stating this she reiterates to the Inspector that she feels she has no involvement in the death, by stating 'only...
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