An Inspector Calls

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade March 2002

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"˜An Inspector Calls' is both a gripping detective thriller and moving moralistic mystery intertwined to produce this brilliantly compelling naturalistic play. Although written for entertainment purposes, author J. B Priestley (1894-1984) also wanted to express his desires of social equality. Through "˜An Inspector Calls' Priestley confronts the decay of the British Class System and conveys the importance of a social conscience. They play centres around the prosperous Birling family celebrating the engagement of their daughter Sheila Birling and Gerald Croft. But their evening is soon disrupted by the unexpected arrival of an Inspector Goole who informs them of the tragic suicide of a young girl called Eva Smith. As the play unravels the Inspectors shocking revelations of each family member's involvement with this girl's fate startles the family and crush the very foundations of their lives.

The 1940s, when the play was originally written and performed saw a time of world war.

A devastating period. Buildings were annihilated, thousands upon thousands of soldiers killed, as well as the civilians. But the war was also a time of reformation. The war destroyed the social barriers and united the people. People of upper class were forced to change their social and economic habits. Men from mixed backgrounds fought along side each other in the same uniform, children of different statuses were evacuated to homes of various classes and the introduction of rationing meant everyone regardless of social standing had equal food supplies. Everyone was bonded together through Britains determination for victory. Coincidentally from then on people attitude towards social and political problems changed, the rich and poor were no longer such different people, but equals. Throughout the play Priestley is asking us if we want to revert back to the old ways of 1912 based on an exploitive, hierarchical society, or remain...