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Who Is Held Responsible For Eva Smith's Death In An Inspector Calls

2695 words - 11 pages

Who is Held Responsible for Eva Smith's Death in An Inspector Calls

In this essay I will explain who I feel is most responsible for Eva
Smith's death, by examining each character's contribution to the
tragedy. I will also illustrate to what extent her death can be blamed
on the society she lived in.

In 1912 the society in which Eva Smith lived was very strict with a
class system that split England up into wealthy and poor people with
no classes dividing them. The sailing of the titanic was one of the
feature points for that year. The navy was unchallenged and there were
no help from the state to support the poor, no DHSS or NHS and the
average life expectancy was around 46. There were advances in
technology mass media being one, the developing of motorcars was
introduced but only available for those who were rich enough to afford
one. Trade unions had also started to gain power in the society, there
were strikes from coal miners about work costs and conditions and the
campaign for women’s rights had begun.

I will demonstrate what I think Mr Arthur Birling had to do with the
death. He is a pompous, self-serving business man who seems to have a
high opinion of himself. Mr Birling states ‘for lower costs and higher
prices’. From this quote you can tell that all he is interested in is
his business, money and himself and couldn’t care less about anyone or
anything. He also says ‘I gather that there is a very good chance of
knight hood’ this also tells us he is snobby and vain, and thinks his
stature and class make him the best and his knighthood is what he
really cares about. When the Inspector starts to ask him questions
about Eva Smith he seems to remember her quite well and gives the
Inspector a lot of information about her, he even said himself that
‘she was a good worker….’ And was told by the leading operator in his
factory that she was ready for promotion. He told the Inspector that
it all started to go wrong for her when she came back from holiday in
August, he said that her attitude had changed quite dramatically and
she seemed rather restless within herself. Then out of no-where Eva
and a group of girls asked Mr Birling for a pay rise of twelve and a
half shillings, so that they could average twenty-five shillings a
week. He had refused their demand and told them that it was ‘a free
country…’ and if they wanted to go and work somewhere else they could.
He basically was telling them they were sacked and to go and find
another job. The women then decided to go on strike but as Mr Birling
told us that the strike didn’t last for long maybe a week or two, as
they were all broke. At this time there were no work benefits so the
workers had no help and just did what they were told to do. There was
a class system and because the workers were lower class they had to

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