An Inspector Calls

  • Category: Miscellaneous
  • Words: 1234
  • Grade: 88
An Inspector Calls





Although the play an "Inspector Calls" by J.B. Priestley, takes the form of a

"Whodunit", it gradually becomes clear that there is an underlying serious issue. The play examines social responsibility, with the Birling family and Gerald Croft being questioned about the suicide of Eva Smith.

When the inspector arrives at the Birling estate uninvited he suspects the family of being some way involved in the events leading up to the death of Eva Smith. The Inspector describes Eva Smith as "A young woman"¦. A bit out of the ordinary"¦" As the story unfolded my feelings of sympathy for Eva grew stronger and stronger. This is surprising as she does not appear in the play and is in fact dead before the play begins.

The Inspector starts his inquiry by questioning Mr. Birling who is the owner of a large company, which employs several hundred young girls. Mr. Birling describes Eva who was one of his employees as "a lively good-looking girl-country bred" he continues to say that she had been working for the company for over a year and that she was an excellent worker. Mr. Birling describes Eva and some of her work colleagues as being "rather restless" after the summer vacation; this resulted in them demanding a pay rise of an increase from twenty-two and six to twenty five shillings a week. Mr. Birling dismissed this completely, which resulted in the workers going on strike. Mr. Birling took action and sacked the ringleaders, Eva Smith being one of them. At this point I did not feel any sympathy for Eva as I felt she had brought these problems on herself. Mr. Birling was right to take the action, which he did. This was the start of a down ward spiral for Eva Smith.

Eva's fortunes changed, however, as in a couple of months she found herself a new job at the large department store, Milwards. Eva was delighted with her new job which made her the happiest she had been in a long time. "She was among pretty clothes." The Inspectors line of inquiry turned to Mr. Birling's daughter, Sheila. He wanted to try and establish her involvement in the death of Eva Smith. Sheila used Milwards store regularly. Sheila was out shopping for the perfect dress. After many fruitless visits to other stores Sheila finally decided to try Milwards. She demanded to try a particular dress on, against her mother's advice. After trying it on she realized to her horror that it looked terrible on her. Eva innocently held the dress up against herself to show the dress to the other assistant. Sheila saw out of the corner of her eye that it suited her perfectly. Sheila became terribly jealous and shouted at the assistant, getting herself into a "furious temper" "Sheila went straight to the manager and complained," this selfish gesture resulted in Eva losing her second job in about as many months. Sheila felt terribly guilty on reflection that her own personal shortcomings had resulted in Eva's dismissal. I felt sorry for Eva, as she loved this job which she was well suited to.

After suffering a short spell of depression, Eva Smith decided to put her past troubles behind her by changing her name to Daisy Renton. Gerald Croft (Sheila's fiancé) sits up and begins to take an interest when the Inspector asks Gerald to tell him the story of his meetings with Daisy. Gerald explains uneasily that he met Daisy at the Stalls bar in the Palace Variety Theatre, which is a meeting place for the "hard-eyed dough-faced women' as Gerald put it. Across the room he spotted someone who was not like the rest "she was very pretty-soft brown hair and big dark eyes." He continues his story; he introduced himself to her and before long they were on their way to the County Hotel, a more respectable bar. They had a few drinks and got talked. Before long he knew that she was out of work, penniless and homeless. Gerald took pity on her after hearing her tale of woe. He offered her a nice little set of rooms in a nice area of the city, which he had to mind for a friend while he was away on business to Canada. He also gave her some money to live on for a while. Gerald visited Eva a lot; he made the excuse to his fiancée Sheila that he was busy with work. Six months later Gerald had to go away for a few weeks on business so he finished the relationship before he went away. I felt sorry for Eva as ultimately she knew that the relationship was not going to last. And once again she had ended up penniless and homeless on the streets.

The Inspector then brings Mrs. Birling into his line of inquiry. The inspector asks Mrs. Birling about her involvement with the Brumley Women's Charity Organization. This is an Organization set up to help women who are in distress. Eva went to the organization for help. She used the name Mrs. Birling so at this point the real Mrs. Birling began to feel some prejudice for the young girl, but she continued to listen anyway. The girl went on to tell a whole pack of lies. She said she was married and this was later proven to be a lie. Mrs. Birling felt no sympathy for the young girl and refused her case, and no help was given. I felt this was unfair and my feelings for Eva grew. By now I felt her life could not get much worse as the help she needed was not granted. The inspector continues asking Mrs. Birling why Eva came to her organization for help. Mrs. Birling refuses to answer saying it is not necessary. But in the end the Inspector wins. Mrs. Birling said that Eva was pregnant and could not go to the father for financial help as the money he had already given her was stolen and she did not want any more of his money. Mrs. Birling said this was terrible and a public example should be made of him.

At this point Eric Birling walked in the door he looked around and said, "You know, don't you?" Eric then continues to explain that one night in the Palace bar he got talking to Eva, he then walked her home to her lodgings and after a fuss he went in with her. After two weeks they met up again. It was not planned but again they went home to her house. At their next meeting she told him she was pregnant. He supported her with money, which totalled about

50 pounds. When asked where he got this money, he explained that he had stolen it from his father's office.

        Through out the play my feelings for Eva grew and by the end I really felt for her. The Birling family had contributed to Eva losing her two jobs, she had two failed relationships when put like this you begin to see why she needed help and when this was refused you can begin to see why she wanted to end her life. I feel that the whole family contributed to her death, which makes me, feel great sympathy for Eva.
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