J.B. Priestley. Connector What was the family name?. J.B. Priestley. LO Learn the historical context of the play. Plot.
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What was the family name?
Learn the historical context of the play.
The Birling family are spending a happy evening celebrating the engagement of Sheila Birling to Gerald Croft - a marriage that will result in the merging of two successful local businesses.
Yet, just when everything seems to be going so well, they receive a surprise visit from an Inspector Goole who is investigating the suicide of a young girl.
The questions he asks everyone relating to the case reveal that they all have secrets linking them to the tragedy.
What actually happens in the play?
AIC was written in 1945
It is set in 1912.
To put this play into context you need to know a little about J B Priestley's life and political views, and about some of the huge changes that took place in the world during the first half of the 20th century.
John Boynton Priestley was born in Yorkshire in 1894. He knew early on that he wanted to become a writer, but decided against going to university as he thought he would get a better feel for the world around him away from academia. Instead, he became a junior clerk with a local wool firm at the age of 16.
An Inspector Calls is as much about 1945 as it is about 1912.
Despite Birling’s smugness, the history of Britain from 1912 onwards was far from trouble free.
Make sure you know what happened!
He is wrong!
He makes these statements with confidence, but the audience would know that he is incorrect!
JB Priestly is deliberately making him look foolish – the middle class were wrong to think they were safe at the top, and he has created the character of Arthur Birling to show a classic example of this!
Why did JB Priestly choose to set the play in 1912, when he wrote it in 1945?
JB Priestly set the play in 1912 not 1945 in order to show that middle class people (such as Mr Birling) were wrong. This can be seen in the quote ‘unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable’. Mr Birling says this about the Titanic. The audience watching the play in 1945 would be fully aware that The Titanic sank and killed lots of people. This makes the character of Mr Birling seem foolish and his confidence seems false. JB Priestly included this deliberately, so the audience would dislike Mr Birling and everything he stands for. He seems pompous and arrogant, which is exactly how JB Priestly thought of the ruling upper classes. Moreover, Priestly uses repetition to make sure the audience hears this ridiculous statement.