This is My book report on An Inspector Calls' by J.B. Priestley.

Essay by marcecko72 April 2004

download word file, 6 pages 5.0

I am currently studying a play called 'An Inspector Calls' by J.B. Priestley. Basically, this play is about a suicide in which a whole family, the Birlings, are implicated. The play is set in the home of a middle class family, on a spring evening of 1912. This play contains an important message for today's society. I have chosen to examine two dissimilar characters, Sheila Birling and Mr Birling, who are father and daughter. I find their differing personalities highly interesting and they clearly show the contracting attitudes between generations.

        The Birling family are celebrating their daughter Sheila's engagement to a man called Gerald Croft when Inspector Goole calls. A young girl drank a bottle of disinfectant and died. It is thought that at sometime or another each of the family members knew her and contributed to her death. The other characters in the play are Mrs Birling, Eric Birling, their son and Edna, their maid.

The Inspector questions them individually and shows them all a photograph. They all recognise in the photograph for different reasons. After the Inspector has left the family discover that he is not actually a real Inspector.

        Sheila Birling is in her early twenties and thinks that life is perfect. She is rather obnoxious and stuck-up at the beginning of the play. A good example of this is her reaction to the Inspector's accusation 'what do you mean by saying that? You talk as if we were responsible' (page 18). Sheila is certain that they have nothing to do with the death of the young girl, Eva Smith. She is quite a spoilt child as we are shown when her involvement in the suicide is revealed. Eva Smith was sacked from her job at a Department Store due to Sheila's jealousy of her good looks.