Inspector Calls

Topics: An Inspector Calls, J. B. Priestley, Time and the Conways Pages: 6 (2076 words) Published: November 12, 2014
Year 11 English Literature Revision - An Inspector Calls

*Read the play again carefully
*Complete the activities at the back of the book
*Do detailed plans of some of the essay questions
*Memorise (short) key quotes you can use in the exam
*Mind map characters and themes

Top tips
Check how many marks are available for each question
Read the question carefully – What, where focus
How questions – comment on language
Imagine tasks – you must use language that shows the character and reflect the character’s perspective at the time. Try to pin point where in the text you are being asked to comment on. Try to explain your responses in as much detail as possible and try to comment on the effect of specific words on the reader / audience. Don’t forget to comment on stage directions, body language and reported clauses wherever possible. Timing and planning. Do both please (plan points, find quotes, consider paragraphing for all longer tasks)


Act 1- The Birlings have just finished a dinner celebrating Sheila’s engagement to Gerald Croft, (the son of one of Arthur Birling’s business rivals). Arthur Birling makes a speech giving his views on the world and then Gerald, Birling and Eric have a chat about current affairs.

Their evening is interrupted by the Inspector, who tells them that a young woman (Eva Smith) has died at the Infirmary after swallowing disinfectant. Arthur is the first to be interrogated and he admits that he sacked Eva as punishment for he having been on strike. Arthur Birling’s ruthless business sense is clear here as he fails to see he has done anything wrong and that his sole duty is to “keep labour costs down”. The Inspector says that it is not just Arthur who is responsible for Eva and begins to interrogate Sheila who recalls having a shop girl sacked from Milwards department store. She is horrified and embarrassed that her vanity and jealousy contributed to the girl’s death. The Inspector mentions that after this, Eva changed her name to Daisy Renton, which shocks Gerald. He admits to Sheila that he too knew the girl and she guesses that he had an affair.

Act 2- Gerald explains how he came across ‘Daisy’ and helped her out, giving her money and accommodation. He had an affair with her, which he ended after the summer. Sheila gives her ring back to Gerald, but says she respects his honesty. He leaves for a walk.

The Inspector then begins to question Mrs Birling, who runs the Brumley Women’s Charity Organisation for women in distress. He reminds her of a meeting she chaired two weeks previous. She recalls that she used her influence to refuse assistance to ‘Eva’, who came giving the name “Mrs Birling” and was pregnant. ‘Eva’ said that the father was from a higher class and a drinker who had offered her marriage, which she had refused, feeling him too immature. She also said that he had offered her stolen money. Mrs Birling is adamant that she did the right thing and is not responsible for Eva’s death and that the man who got her pregnant is. Sheila realises it is Eric and tries to silence her mother but it is too late.

Act 3- Eric explains how he met Sheila in a bar and slept with her. He continued to sleep with her, even though he admits that he “wasn’t in love with her or anything.” He says that she refused to marry him when she found out she was pregnant and she treated him “as if (he) were a kid.” He stole money from his father’s office and when she found out, she refused to see him. Sheila tells Eric that their mother turned ‘Eva’ away and Eric accuses her of “killing them both”. The Inspector makes a speech about their shared responsibility for ‘Eva’s’ death and Arthur Birling offers “thousands” of pounds to atone for the family. The Inspector leaves. The Birlings bicker amongst themselves and Mrs Birling and Arthur begin to question whether he was a real Inspector. Gerald returns with the news that the Inspector wasn’t really an Inspector and rings the hospital...
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