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Flashcards in An Inspector calls quotes Deck (10)
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Social class

Class and money led to power in 1912, after war many questioned upper class leadership.
Influenced all’s behaviour, if ES was higher in social status then she would be alive now. Uses characters as a vessel to challenge social views and hierarchy.
Portrays upper class w limited sense of social responsibility > Sybil doesn’t recognise ES’s photo (lower classes had no identity, suggesting also she was a repeat offender). “She was claiming elaborate fine feelings (...) simply absurd of a girl in her position “ < ‘claiming’ suggests she has no right to express feelings of nobility (stereotyping lower class) while suggesting she is trying to be better than she is (lack of social mobility).
Upper class don’t question class systems as worked for them (same as not questioning Alderman’s womanising ways/Eric’s drinking problem).
Each hold exaggerated qualities of each class.
ES’s lack of speech illustrates her as voiceless victim to the class system, showing moral values better than that of upper class.
Inspector hints class clouds judgement of others. ‘Knew it couldn’t last’ referral to damaged relationship further displays divisions caused by class. Lead to war...

The generation gap quotes


Younger views take responsibility, ‘and I say the girls dead and we all helped to kill her- and that’s what matters” (eric) < shows society’s need to reform priorities inflicted by old traditionalists. Older generations don’t, “you began to learn something and now you’ve stopped (…) same old way” (Sheila) shows older generation’s fixed ways and younger generations hope for future.
Old feel children should be seen and not heard, is why they are shocked at younger generations questioning of their authority, “and you’re not eh?” < actively trying to ignore problems.
Younger generation are portrayed as ambitious determined and motivated “had a lot to say-far too much” (Birling about ES) < threatened by young, however led to Es’ firing.
HOWEVER G goes against trend as is younger but still represents traditionalist views (upper class) agrees w Birling about firing and doesn’t take responsibility for affair, “everything’s alright now Sheila.” < suggests hopeful future isn’t inevitable, perhaps handing responsibility over to audience to prevent “fire, blood and anguish”.
Younger are seen as more impressionable, “we always do on the young ones” (inspector ghoul), “I remember what he said, how he looked and what he made me feel”


Gender quotes

ES would still be ali
Eva’s life was ultimately taken from her by a patriarchal society as she was exploited by E and G for sex. Sheila sacked ES due to vanity, pride and jealousy (stereotypical female traits) portraying negative character of middle class women. Sheila is also often accused of being hysterical, often associated w women at time. Women depend on husband and need to go higher up in life, ‘when you’re married, you’ll realise that men with important work to do often sometimes have to spend all their time and energy on their business. You’ll have to get used to that, just as I had.’ (Sybil) assume that she will get married and is expected not to work or have control over life or husband > shown by G having affair ignoring her. ‘Mother says that we mustn’t stay too long. But I don’t think it matters. I left‘ early talking about clothes again. You’d think a girl had never any clothes before she gets married. Women are potty about‘ em.’ (Eric). Masculinity comes with defiance of female control, ‘we’ vs ‘em’ is attempt to separate men from women (more division within class divisions). Women can’t discuss politics or ‘unpleasant and disturbing things’, instead expected to talk about material things like clothes. Links to status. G is excused to sleep around before marriage, ‘everything’s alright now, Sheila’ (g) < belittles her w reassurance of affair he took no responsibility for. Example of women used as sexual objects, ‘knew it couldn’t last’ (g). B was more concerned over Eric’s stolen money than assault of ES. Young women challenge stereotypes: ES questions authority of boss and refuses to depend on Eric’s stolen money/ S interrupts and challenges fam. As S grows stronger and more confident, men lose control once had (challenging author’s views)

Eva Smith quotes

Representation of lower-class girl > real identity never revealed to maintain lack of identity and power.  “Girl of that sort” (Sybil) < stereotyped and judged on class not character, leading to death.
“Had a lot to say- far too much” (birling) < seemed justice and challenged upperclass authority (like many post-war). “No work, no money coming in (...) she was feeling desperate” (insp) < high morals as was only choice left to go to palace bar, optimistic despite getting pushed down repeatedly by Birlings. “She didn’t blame me at all” (G) shows society is to blame and G’s eagerness to relieve of guilt. “Knew it couldn’t last- hadn’t expected it to last.” (G)

Sheila quotes


Vessel to mirror social reformation needed by 1912/1941 Britain.
IMMATURE AND PEURILE, (very pleased with life and rather excited)/ “you’re squiffy” «_space;closure from outside world. Matured and exposed to harsh reality, “you began to learn something. And now you’ve stopped. You’re ready to go on in the same old way.”
Although one could argue hasn’t learnt lesson, implied will take G back, “not yet. It’s too soon. I must think.”
Capitalist view points, “why had this to happen?” onto development of young idealist views, “you mustn’t try and build up a wall between us and that girl.” (Links to mirroring of Inspector later on in play).
One could argue, “that” implies is still capitalist at heart, “can’t change ways?


Mr Birling


Narrow minded and fearful of change, “hardheaded’ ‘fiddlesticks!’ ‘Rubbish!’
Firmly 1 dimensional character, ‘provincial’ ‘same ideals, ‘you’re ready to go on in the same old way’
Although seen as inferior when comes into conflict w socialism, [sharp ring of a doorbell. Birling stops to listen] [the telephone rings sharply (…) Birling goes to answer it] ‘panic-stricken’. Speech breaks down during play as power decreases ’she’d had a lot to say- far too much-so she had to go.’ Colloquial ‘y’know’
Self-assured, “unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable.”
Selfish, ‘lower costs and higher prices’
“I’d give thousands”


Mrs Birling


“Rather cold woman and her husband’s social superior’
‘Arthur you’re not supposed to say such things’ (exterior)
‘Girls of that class’ ‘girls of that sort’
‘Naturally that was one of the things that prejudiced me against her case’ ‘I used my influence to have it refused’ (Capitalism promotes corruption?)
‘Please don’t contradict me like that’
‘Unlike the other three, I did nothing I’m ashamed of’
“I don’t believe it. I won’t believe it.”
“First she called herself Mrs Birling!”
“Perfectly justified”




“Now listen darling”
“Everything’s alright now Sheila (holds up ring) how about this ring?”
“Alright, I knew her, let’s leave it at that”
“I don’t come into this suicide business”
(Pulling himself together) “do you mind if I get a drink Sheila?”
“I never asked for anything in return”
“I insisted on Daisy moving into these rooms and I made her take some money to keep her going”
“Fairy prince”


Stage directions


Not cosy or homelike
Pink and intimate
(All set in one place)
Heavily comfortable




(Not cosy or homelike)

“You’re not the kind of father a chap can go to when he’s in trouble”