Themes in 'An Inspector Calls'.

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Themes in 'An Inspector Calls'. by Mind Map: Themes in 'An Inspector Calls'.

1. Class

1.1. At the time on 'An Inspector Calls' Being set, (1912), the class divide was still apparent.

1.1.1. The, (middle class), family didn't see themselves being responsible as the death was of the working class. 'Unrepentant' being without remorse or regret.

1.2. the classes had minimal contact and higher classes didn't associate themselves with lower ones.

1.2.1. Higher classes thought they were better.

2. Social Responsibility

2.1. At that time of the play being written, there was no assistance for people who could not afford to look after themselves. Priestley wanted to address this issue. He also felt that if people were more considerate of one another, it would improve quality of life for all. This is why social responsibility is a key theme of the play.

2.2. The treatment of Eva Smith

2.2.1. most of the characters don't take responsibility for how she's treated since she is female and of a lower class Sheila feels responsible Gerald won't take responsibility "All right Gerald, you needn't look at me like that. At least I'm trying to tell the truth. I expect you’ve done things you’re ashamed of too." - Sheila Mr Birling dismisses the idea that we should be responsible for each other, suggesting that such a situation would be 'awkward'. "If we were all responsible for everything that happened to everybody we'd had anything to do with, it would be very awkward, wouldn't it?" Eric feels socially responsible but not to blame. "I don't see much nonsense about it when a girl goes and kills herself. You lot may be letting yourselves out nicely, but I can't. Nor can mother. We did her in all right." Mr and Mrs Birling turned away Eva when she came to them for help

3. Age

3.1. The younger you are, the less important you're seen as being.

3.2. The opinions of children were unimportant and often ignored.

3.2.1. Mr Birling turns on his son Eric and nearly attacks him physically. "Why, you hysterical young fool - get back - or I'll -" Mr Birling implies here that Eric is a 'fool' because he is young. Ironically, it is the older Arthur who nearly resorts to physical violence.

3.3. Older people were more respected.

3.4. The author used the theme of age in the story to show hope that the younger generation might have changed their attitudes.

3.4.1. the older characters in the book were stubborn but the younger ones accepted their mistakes and took social responsibility for what they contributed to. Eric stands up to his parents when it becomes clear that they will not take responsibilty. "You’re beginning to pretend now that nothing’s really happened at all."

4. Gender

4.1. Women were seen as being weak and unimportant

4.2. Men had better jobs and were more respected regardless of class.

4.3. Women weren't encouraged to have their own opinion and were discouraged/ not allowed to make their own decisions.

4.4. It was set just after when women started to get jobs, some people accepted the change but a lot of people were stubborn and stuck in the past.

4.4.1. Women never used to be expected to work, (if they were in the middle class or above)

4.5. Mr Birling shows that he has a patronising view of women, making the suggestion that clothes are a sign of self-respect for them. He has a stereotypical view of women here and does not see them as individuals but suggests that all women think in the same way.

4.5.1. "...not only something to make 'em look prettier - but - well, a sort of sign or token of their self-respect."

4.6. Gerald shows that he can be very superficial in his view of women. If they don’t meet his standard of how they 'should' look, he dislikes them.

4.6.1. "I hate those hard-eyed dough-faced women."

4.7. Priestley shows that even women like Mrs Birling can be just as cruel and old fashioned as the men are.

4.7.1. "She was claiming elaborate fine feelings and scruples that were simply absurd in a girl in her position."