Social Responsibility In An Inspector Calls By J.B. Priestley

1108 words - 4 pages

An Inspector Calls

"We don't live alone. We are all members of one body. We are responsible for each other."

What is Priestley's main aim in `An inspector calls`? How successfully does he achieve it.

In `An inspector calls` by J.B Priestley, the writers aim is reflected into this quote, "We don't live alone. We are all members of one body. We are responsible for each other." Meaning that we are not isolated, we all live in one community and we are all collectively responsible for each other, our actions affects the people around us. We can be independent in the society we live in, but only to a certain extent.

Priestley's main aim was perhaps to make an audience aware that no one person can live in a society without being responsible for others who live in that same society. `An Inspector calls` is set in the early 1900`s and was first presented to audiences in the 1940`s, up to current date. Attitudes of the characters in the book, reflect life in the Edwardian times. And how they take and view responsibility of the other people in there society. The older generation would of only cared for themselves and there family while the younger generation take responsibility for others as well as themselves.

Arthur Birling is a hard-headed, practical man of business. He?s a rather portentous man in his middle fifties. His role reflects the life of a typical man of the middle upper class of the Edwardian times. Birling has a certain type of optimism, what he believes it is the opposite to reality, for example he believes that the world is progressing too much for world wars to occur.
?The worlds developing so fast that world was is impossible- lets say, in 1940- I tell you buy then you?ll be living in a world that have forgotten all these silly war scares?.
His optimism is towards politics and economic issues in the 1910s . He believes that world wars are a waste of money and there?s nothing to gain from them. Only the lower classes could agree to them.

Arthur Birling`s treatment of Eva Smith, reflects in his role, in society as a hard headed business man.
?They wanted the rates raised so they could average about twenty-five shillings a week. I refused of course?.
Eva smith was a hard worker in his company, but Birling fired her as she demanded for a pay rise and was one of the main ring leaders. Birling didn?t take notice on what would happen to Eva smith after she left his works, and what happened to her after that, and what would lead her to suicide. A chain of events which he had started. Which reflects on Priestleys main aim, our actions affect people around us.

Arthur Birling cannot accept his responsibility for his treatment of Eva Smith.
?I cant accept my responsibility. If we were all responsible for everything that happened to everyone, we?d had anything to do with, it would be very awkward, wouldn?t it??
Birling is a character who doesn?t believe in community, he believes that everyone has to take their own...

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