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10/9/12 An Inspector Calls Essay Guide

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10/9/12 An Inspector Calls Essay Guide
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Inthissection,youareaskedtocommenton
howthewordsandphrasesJBPriestlyuse
helptocreatemeaningandgiveadditional
informationtothereader.
10/9/12 An Inspector Calls Essay Guide
5/11 www.scribd.com/doc/2306271/An-Inspector-Calls-Essay-Guide
Ericsfirstwordsisa“guffaw”(laugh)whenGerald
assuresSheila,“Iwill,Iwill”[becarefulnottolet
herfindoutabouthisaffairswithwomen].Thissug-
geststhatheknowsaboutGerald'saffair,butbe-
causeofhisown,andhewillnottellSheilaeven
thoughsheishisownsister.
Apolitewayofsayingsomethingoffen-
sive.Usedbythosewhowishtosound
professionalordignified.
Example)passedaway=died
Sayingthingsinanespeciallystrong
manner.Canbeusedtopersuadeothers.
Mayusesomeexaggeration.
Languageofthetimethatisnolonger
usedtoday. Canshowsomethingabout
thecharactersorthetimeperiod.
Languagedesignedtocreatean
emotionalreactioninthereaderor
Audience.
Differencesinthewayacharacterspeakscanshowchangesinmood,oroverlongerpe-
riodsoftime,changesinthecharacters'ideasorpersonality
Eric'smoodintheopeningminutesischeerful,but
hebecomes uneasy whenhethinksBirlingand
Geraldknowsomethingabouthim,respondingto
Gerald'sassurancethattheywerehaving“ajoke”
with,”Well,Idon'tthinkit'sveryfunny.”(p.10).This
suggestshehasa guiltyconscience, andisafraid
ofhissecretsbeingexposed.
Soonafterwardshe`burstsout'“WellIthinkit'sa
dam'shame”(p.16),andshowsunderstandingfor
Eva'swishforhigherwages,andrespectforherhav-
ing“abitmorespiritthantheothers.”
Aposhsnob,sheisbotheredbywhatpeoplearoundher
say “(reproachfully)Arthur,you'renotsupposedtosay
suchthings-”(p.2)andsheisshockedatSheila'slan-
guage“Reallythethingsyougirlspickupthesedays”(p3)
ShecallsGoole“atrifleimpertinent”(p.30),andEva's
callingherself`MrsBirling'“grossimpertinence”(p.43).
Shespeaksof“Therudewayhe[Goole]spoketoMr
Birlingandme- itwasextraordinary!“(p.61).Toher,
anyspeechwhichislessthanhumbleandrespectfulis
„impertinent‟becauseasaladyoftheupperclasswithan
importanthusband,she`deserves'specialtreatment
“You knowofcoursethatmyhusbandwasLordMayor
onlytwoyearsagoandthathe'sstillamagis-
trate”(p.31).MrsBirlingissousedtodominatingpeople
bysuchthreatsthatwhensheencounterssomeonewho
resistsher bullying shereactsangrily.

Heisextremely commandingandauthoritative,
inhisspeechandinhispersonalpresence: “hecre-
atesatonceanimpressionofmassiveness,solidity
andpurposefulness.” Thestagedirectionsrepeat-
edlyshowhim “cuttingthroughmassively”(p.12),
”cuttinginmassively”(p.22),“massivelytaking
charge”(p.28),“Withauthority”(p.34),“taking
charge,masterfully”(p.55).
Gooleremains calmandunruffled, thoughspeaking
“coolly”(p.30)and“impeturbably”(p.31).
Hislanguage blunt,emotive and harsh:“Twohours
agoayoungwomandiedintheInfirmary.She'dbeen
takentherethisafternoonbecauseshe'dswalloweda
lotofdisinfectant.Burntherinsideout,of
course.”(p.11)AsBirlingpointsoutlater,“Justre-
peatingitshakesyouabit.Andthat'swhathehadto
do.Shakeusatonce-andthenstartquestioningus
untilwedidn'tknowwherewewere.”(p.69).
Heis disgustedandenraged bywhathasbeen
donetoEva,saying“Shediedinmiseryandagony
hatinglife”(p.28).Hewarns,“Publicmen,MrBirling,
haveresponsibilitiesaswellasprivileges”(p.41).
PriestleyuasesGooletovoiceviewswhichhehimself
held.MrBirlingsaystheInspectorwas“Probablya
Socialistorsomesortofcrank-hetalkedlike
one”(p.60).
Heis boastful,makingboringspeeches-hethinkshe
hasearnedtherighttodothis:“Wecan'tlettheseBer-
nardShawsandHGWellsesdoallthetalking.Wehard-
headedpracticalbusinessmenmustsaysomething
sometime.Andwedon'tguess-we'vehadexperience-
andweknow”(p.7)
He triestointimidate GoolebytellingthattheChief
Constableis“anoldfriendofmine”,andthenactually
threatening“I'vehalfamindtoreportyou”(p.17).Heis
willingtousehispowerandinfluenceto bullypeople.
Sheilais honestandrealistic.Shesays“Wereally
mustdropthesesillypretences”(p32)andcomments
thatErichasbeen“drinkingtoomuchforthepasttwo
years.” Shesays,“we'venoexcusenowforputtingon
airs”(p.41) i.e.behavingasiftheyare„better‟than
everyoneelse.
Sheilafeels remorse ,andpassionatelybelievesthat
theyshouldlearnfromtheInspector'svisit.“Anddon't
let'sstartdodgingandpretendingnow.Betweenuswe
drovethatgirltocommitsuicide.”(p.66).
Gerald'smannerintheopeningscene,beforeGoole's
appearance,reflectshisconfident,relaxedapproachto
life.Birlingtellshim,“you'rejustthekindofson-in-law
Ialwayswanted.”(p.4).Geraldprovestobe similarto
MrBirling inhisviewsofbusinessandofwomen.
SheisSheilaisa perceptive- thefirsttorealisethat
theInspectorisnoordinarypoliceman,“Why -youfool-
heknows. Ofcourseheknows. AndIhatetothinkhow
muchheknowsthatwedon'tknowyet.” Similarly,she
isthefirsttorealisethatthefatherofEva'sbabyisnone
otherthanEric,andtriestogethermothertostopin-
sistingthatheshouldbeheldresponsible:“(Withsudden
alarm) Mother-stop- stop!“(p.48).
Gerald flatters MrBirling,agreeingwithhisopinions
(p.6)anddoesn‟targuewithhim.WhenBirlingis
explainingwhyhesackedEva,Geraldapprovesofhis
action “Iknowwe'dhavedonethesamething.
“(p.17),andreferscontemptuouslytothestriking
women,saying“They'dallbebroke -ifIknow
them.”(p.15).GeraldchallengesGoole,saying“we're
respectablecitizensandnotcriminals.“(p.22).
Theinspector‟sfinalspeech(pg56)hasastrange,
powerfulandpropheticquality.Thisisnotthelan-
guageofapoliceman.Hisimagesarealmostbiblical.
Hehastakenontheroleoftheprophetofdoom.
Hisarrogantbeliefthathe„knows‟isseemsfoolishto
theaudiencebyhisconfidenceinthe“unsinkable,abso-
lutelyunsinkable”(p.7)Titanicandbythefactthathe
dismissesthethreatofwar ‑ “Isaythereisn'tachance
ofwar”(p.6). Theimplicationisthatitistragicthat
someoneasstupidasthisshouldbeinaposition
ofpower.
Hehas noconscience,anddismissesanysuggestion
thatheshouldshowresponsibilitytowardshisemploy-
ees:“Ifyoudon'tcomedownsharplyonthesepeople
they'llsoonbeaskingfortheearth”(p.15).Goole'sre-
sponse,“it'sbettertoaskfortheearththantotakeit”,
showsthathethinksBirlinghasdonethis — taken
powerhedoesn'tdeserve.
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10/9/12 An Inspector Calls Essay Guide
6/11 www.scribd.com/doc/2306271/An-Inspector-Calls-Essay-Guide

Asyoureadtheplay,itisimportanttoimagineyourselfwatchingandlistening
totheaction.Itisadramanotanovel!The stagedirections areimportantin
helpingustoimagineexactlywhatisgoingon:theycanhelpuspictureeach
character'sactionsandreactions.
The Setting and Lighting areveryimportant.Priestleydescribes
thesceneindetailattheopeningofAct1,sothattheaudiencehas
theimmediateimpressionofa "heavilycomfortablehouse." The
settingisconstant(allactionhappensinthesameplace).Priestley
saysthatthelightingshouldbe "pinkandintimate" beforetheIn-
spectorarrives-arose-tintedglow-whenitbecomes "brighterand
harder." Thelightingreflectsthemoodoftheplay
The mysterygenre isinteresting.TheInspectorcontrolsthe pace
and tension bydealingwithonelineofenquiryatatime.Thestory
isrevealedgradually,piecebypiece,likeina'whodunit'orapuzzle.
Entrances and exits arecrucial.Forexample,theInspectorarrives
immediatelyafterBirlinghastoldGeraldabouthisimpendingknight-
hoodandexplainedhisviewsonresponsibility.Ericleavesandar-
rivesat key * , * # + 10 &`+ ( , 2 1 1&# + 0 - # ! 1, / ‟0 # 5 `1 + " # / )" ‟0
/ # 12 / + 4 `1& “proof”
Cliffhangers ( # # - 1&# 2 " `# + ! # , + „ 1&# # " %# , $ 1&# `/ 0 # 10 ‟ + "
4 + 1`+ % * , / # ! 1 # + " 0 `+ 1&# * `" " )# , $ 1&# + 0 - # ! 1, / ‟0 . 2 # 0 1`, +
ingofGerald — “ + 0 - # ! 1, / Well? ” ! 1 # + " 0 0 `* `) / )6 1&# 2 " `
enceandSheilahavefigureditout,suddlenly “Ericenters,looking
extremelypaleanddistressed…Curtainfallsquickly” InAct3
1&# `/ )`+ %‟0 # )`# 3 # " 1&# * 0 # )3 # 0 1, # , $$ 1&# &, , ( &`0 / # )# 0 # 0
someofthetension-butthefinalcall,announcingarealinspector,
suddenlyrestoresthetensionverydramatically.Itisanunexpected
finaltwist.
The timing oftheplayis'realtime'-inotherwords,thestorylasts
exactlyaslongastheplay.TheBirlingfamilyandGeraldchange
from self-satisfied toextreme self-doubt inthistime.Whathap-
penstocreatesuchadramaticcontrast?Howisthedramamain-
tainedandtheaudienceinvolved?

Thereare subtlehints thatnotisallasitseems.Forexample,early
onwewonderwhetherthehappyatmosphereisslightlyforced.
SheilawonderswhereGeraldwaslastsummer,Ericisnervous
aboutsomething,LordandLadyCroftdidnotattendtheengage-
mentdinner.Thisarousesinterestintheaudience-wewanttofind
outwhatisgoingon!
Thereis dramaticirony .Forinstance,theaudienceknowshow
wrongMrBirlingiswhenhemakesconfident predictions about
therenotbeingawarandisexcitedaboutthesailingofTheTitanic:
famously,theshipsankonhermaidenvoyage.Thisputstheaudi-
enceatanadvantageoverthecharactersandmakesusmorein-
volved.
Soundeffects canaddalottoaplay.Thedoorbellisasoundthat
$`/ 0 1 " `0 12 / 0 1&# `/ )`+ %‟0 / # ) 5 # " # 3 # + `+ % — theInspectorshatters
anyhopeforapeacefulevening.Thesoundofthedooralsoalerts
theaudiencetooff- 0 1 %# ! & / ! 1# / ‟0 ! 1`, + 0 / `! &# - &, + # ! ))
servesasimilarpurpose.Theaudiencewouldwanttoknowwhatis
Irony isdifferentthandramaticirony.Itiswhenwhatisbeingsaid/
donehastheoppositemeaning,ortheoppositehappens — canbe
similartosarcasm)ThinkabouttheideasinAct1.Forexample,
`/ )`+ % 0 6 `+ % “there’saverygoodchanceofaknighthood—so
longaswebehaveourselves,don’tgetintoapolicecourtor
startascandal ” , , + $1# / 1&# `/ )`+ %0 + " 1&# - , )`! # / # `+ 3 , )3 # "
inalargescandal
The stagedirections giveinsightintohowPriestlywantedthe
dramatounfold.Payattentiontothemtoseeextracluesthat
10/9/12 An Inspector Calls Essay Guide
7/11 www.scribd.com/doc/2306271/An-Inspector-Calls-Essay-Guide
dramatounfold.Payattentiontothemtoseeextracluesthat
Priestlywantedtogivetheaudience.Dotheyaddtoourunderstand-
ingofthecharacters?Themes?Dotheyaddtensionordrama?
Forgoodexamplessee:Ericp.10,55;Sheilap.23,71;Birlingp.6,8;
Inspectorp.28,55;Sybilp.46,48;Geraldp.36,39
OneofthemostimportantdevicesistheInspectorhimself,forheisthe
pathwaytotruth. Heislikeapriestinthewaythathegivespeoplea
chancetochange,butitisuptothemtoacceptandmaketheneces-
sarychanges.TheInspectorisalsolikethewarsbecausethefirstone
came,whentheydidnotrespond,anotherwassenttomakethempay
"infire,bloodandanguish."Peopleshouldhaveseentheerrorof
theirwaysandchangedwhileitwaspossible.Withouttheinspector,
1&# / # `0 + , - ) 6 # `0 ! # / 1 `+ )6 “noordinaryinspector”
10/9/12 An Inspector Calls Essay Guide
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Kathryn Rose Wilson
Thank you, a very detailed and useful guide to this play.
reply05 / 23 / 2012
deleted_fbuser_1291666053
this is not usefull !!!!
reply12 / 06 / 2010
chester41
Why can't I download or print this ? I'm happy to pay! cbrooks@hackneyfree.hackney.sch.uk
reply11 / 19 / 2009
inspector goole
really good! you click on download pdf free at the top to download it.
reply11 / 01 / 2009
cheekyyyy09
how to downaload it?
reply10 / 25 / 2009
becimai
10/9/12 An Inspector Calls Essay Guide
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I'm so pleased to find this. My son has just returned to school after a 2 year absence and is struggling to catch up. he was upset the other night as he doesnt know how to
tackle his homework. I found this, EXCELLENT, thankyou for posting!
reply06 / 04 / 2009
Carolina Roessler
What an excellent material!!!! I'm having the picture much more clear! Thank you!
reply04 / 28 / 2009
duncan.reid8559
yeah - how do you download this?
reply02 / 10 / 2009
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