An Inspector Calls

niamh.parris
Mind Map by niamh.parris, updated more than 1 year ago
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Mind Map on An Inspector Calls, created by niamh.parris on 04/25/2013.

Resource summary

An Inspector Calls
1 Characters
1.1 Inspector Goole

Annotations:

  • "A man of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness" - Imposing figure who dominates the play in order to achieve his aims. "One person and one line of enquiry at a time. Otherwise there's a muddle" - Orderly, methodical, Priestley can build up a chain of events. "It's my duty to ask questions" - takes his responsibilities seriously. "He never seemed like an ordinary police inspector" - Unusual, but could mean that he was almost superhuman.
1.1.1 Ghoul - morbid interest in death
1.1.1.1 Existence as a result of the girl's death?
1.1.2 Always remains solid and intact as others crumble
1.1.3 Acts as a catalyst, others given possibility to own up
1.1.4 Seen as an outsider: omniscient, mysterious, powerful
1.2 Arthur Birling

Annotations:

  • "Heavy-looking, rather portentous man" - Mr's Birling's size gives him a threatening appearance. "a hard-headed practical man of business" - Thinks of himself as a good businessman, and does not let sentiment or morals hold him back. "Yes, my dear, I know - I'm talking too much" - Knows that he monopolises conversation but does not care. Has a high opinion of his own importance. "I'm a public man" - He expects respect as he has been a member of the town council, Lord Mayor and a magistrate. 
1.2.1 Becomes concerned about scandal - not Eva's harm
1.2.2 Sees himself as an important man in Brumley
1.2.3 Prepared to use his reputation and powerful friends to intimidate the inspector
1.2.4 Clear views that do not change
1.2.4.1 Older generation with Mrs Birling
1.2.4.2 Stubborn, ignorant
1.2.5 Prepared to pay thousands of pounds if he could to protect his reputation
1.2.6 Represents what socialists, e.g. Priestley, thought was wrong with society
1.2.7 Man with power, money and social position (but no sense of justice.)
1.2.8 Boastful, aware of flattering those of social superiority (brown-nosing)
1.2.9 Ignorance shown through Dramatic irony
1.2.9.1 Said that the Titanic was "unsinkable"
1.2.9.2 Said that was not going to happen
1.3 Mrs Birling

Annotations:

  • "A rather cold woman" and "her husband's social superior" - Not friendly or affectionate. She looks down on most people and expects the Inspector to be respectful towards her. "Please don't contradict me like that" - Believes that only her opinion counts and is used to being listened to and having her way. "It's disgusting to me" - Even though Gerald comes from a 'good' family, she still believes that his affair is wrong. "The most prominent member of the committee" - Most powerful and respected with the most influence. She can have her way easily therefore.
1.3.1 Treats the Inspector as her inferior
1.3.2 Used her influence to tell the charity not to help the pregnant girl
1.3.2.1 Look good in society
1.3.3 Blames the girl's death on the father of the child (Eric)
1.3.4 Charity work - contradictory
1.3.5 Lacks understanding of other people
1.3.5.1 Ignorant
1.3.5.2 Pretends to help others but still looks down on most people
1.3.5.2.1 "A girl of that sort"
1.3.5.3 Unaware of Eric's heavy drinking
1.3.6 Untouched by the Inspector's questions - no compassion
1.3.6.1 Only flustered once her reputation could be altered (Eric as father)
1.3.7 Says that Eric's affair is "disgusting" but forgets it once the threat of scandal has been removed
1.3.7.1 No compassion - only bothered about society
1.4 Sheila Birling

Annotations:

  • "Oh - how horrible! Was it an accident?" - Shocked and so therefore compassionate/ more caring. Naive as she cannot imagine anyone wanting to drink bleach - cannot imagine a worse situation than her own. "I wouldn't miss it for worlds" - Bitter about Gerald's affair, but curious to hear the full story (strong enough) "I had her turned out of a  job" - Responsible, honest "It's you two who are being childish - trying not to face the facts" - Believes that it does not matter whether the policeman was real or not. Genuinely concerned that they could have harmed someone rather than just being bothered about scandal.
1.4.1 Shows genuine emotion when she hears that a woman has died
1.4.1.1 Compassionate
1.4.1.2 Naive
1.4.1.3 Takes responsibility
1.4.2 Realises the true power of the Inspector
1.4.2.1 Should not be lied tp
1.4.3 Realises Eric's drink problem = realises problems in society more than her parents
1.4.4 Breaks off engagement after hearing of Gerald's affair - strong
1.4.4.1 Not bothered about reputatation etc.
1.4.5 Understands the experience
1.4.5.1 "They are more impressionable"
1.4.5.2 Younger generation - cares less for reputation and more for genuine issues such as health and equality
1.4.6 Changes more than any other character
1.4.6.1 Beginning - playful, protected, naive and self-centred
1.4.6.2 Hears of Eva's death - sensitive side
1.4.6.2.1 Reasponds to the girl as a human being (not cheap labour - Sheila criticises her father)
1.4.6.3 Realises her own jealousy and is genuinely sorry
1.4.6.4 Grows stronger
1.4.6.4.1 Respects Gerald's honesty
1.4.6.4.2 Engagement is stopped - not affected by the thought of respect/social class
1.5 Eric Birling

Annotations:

  • "Just keep quiet Eric and don't get excited" - Arthur realises that Eric is drunk and could say something that would not be acceptable in high society/ might make the family look worse. "That's something this public-school-and-Varsity life you've had doesn't seem to teach you" - Although Eric has had a fortunate education, Arthur thinks that he knows better. "You're not the type - you don't get drunk" - We know that this is untrue (dramatic irony) so the Birling family is not very connected. Sybil does not understand/ see Eric's habit. "Your trouble is - you've been spoilt" - Mr Birling thinks that he knows better/ Eric is undermined and his opinion is not worthy because it is not the same as Arthur's.
1.5.1 Changes
1.5.1.1 From doing something bad - getting Daisy pregnant
1.5.1.2 Accepts responsibility for Daisy
1.5.1.3 Weak-willed, looks for an easy way out of troubles
1.5.1.4 Believes that the Inspector should change the family and their attitudes
1.5.2 Different to older generation
1.5.2.1 Not afraid to speak out
1.5.2.2 Sees some injustice
1.5.2.3 Less traditional
1.5.2.4 Cares less for reputation
1.5.2.5 Stole money from his father
1.5.2.6 Like Sheila, does not care whether the Inspector is real or not
1.5.2.6.1 Old/ young generation divide
1.5.2.7 Does not share his father's 'hard-headed' approach to business/ life
1.6 Gerald Croft

Annotations:

  • "easy, well-bred young man-about town" - Personable, confident and assured. This may come from his heritage (important to Arthur) "That was clever of you Gerald" - has Mrs Birling's approval so must be very wealthy and socially high up. Sybil is very shallow and ignorant. "You're jsut the kind of son-in-law i've always wanted" - Arthur sees Gerald as being like himself = concentrated on business. The engagement is more of a business investment, the joining of two family businesses. "I'm rather more - upset - by this business that I probably appear to be" - Gerald has been hiding his feelings, as a gentleman would be expected to do. Deep down, he is greatly saddened. Has a strong sense of responsibility. Still very business-inclined, would not reveal his feelings openly.
1.6.1 Gives Shelia ring during the party, public
1.6.1.1 A very public man, much like Arthur
1.6.1.2 Agrees with Mr Birling's business ideals
1.6.1.2.1 Bridge between the two generations
1.6.2 Rescues Daisy from Alderman Meggarty
1.6.2.1 Sense of justice
1.6.2.2 Compassion, felt sorry for Daisy
1.6.3 Still telephones the infirmary to find that no girl had died that day - relief
1.6.3.1 Like Mr and Mrs Birling
1.6.4 Different to the others
1.6.4.1 Others fuelled by lust, jealousy, business, spite, greed or pride
1.6.4.2 Acted out of genuine sympathy or attraction
1.6.5 Admits affair with Daisy - taking resonsibility
1.6.5.1 Bridges two generations
1.7 Eva Smith

Annotations:

  • "A lively, good-looking girl - country bred" and "a good worker" - Arthur had a high opinion of her. Country girl = naive and less aware than a 'city girl'. "She'd had a lot to say - far too much - so she had to go" - She had spoken up, not shown deference and so threatened Birling's business. "Very pretty and looked as if she could take care of herself" - Sheila judged her by her appearance, did not think of the difficulties that she could have. "Now she had to try something else" - Words sound innocent but this contrasts with the true meaning (prostitute). This exaggerates how she was naive and in trouble, making the actions of the Birlings even worse.
1.7.1 Sacked by Arthur for speaking up
1.7.1.1 Injustice of the class system at the time
1.7.1.2 Rigid hierarchy
1.7.2 Complained about for no reason by Sheila
1.7.2.1 Exaggerates how unjust her situation was and how unfortunate she was
1.7.2.1.1 Could not help being pretty - unlucky turn of events
1.7.3 Refused help by Mrs Birling
1.7.3.1 Geniune case for help
1.7.4 What the audience learns about her contrasts greatly with the Birling family
1.7.5 Although she was unfortunate, she still had enough integrity to not accept stolen money from Eric
1.7.5.1 Contrasts with the Birlings, who are made to look self-centred and ungrateful
1.7.5.1.1 Birlings compared to Eva = no morals
1.7.5.2 Genuine and kind
1.7.6 Represents the everyday person
1.7.6.1 Birlings represent change, tradition, inequality and negativity
1.7.6.2 Injustice is Edwardian Britain - discriminated against
1.7.7 Used to force the audience to think about our effect on other people
1.7.7.1 Links to context - Priestley's left-wing opinions are represented
2 Setting and Place
2.1 Brumley - typical
2.1.1 Factory owners provided employment - powerful
2.1.2 Large town
2.1.3 Typical of Edwardian Britain
2.1.4 Employment of any kind is dependent upon factory bosses and the shops' rich customers
2.1.4.1 Brumley Women Charity Organisation - women are in need of help/poor
2.1.4.2 Contrast between Birling home, clothes, food etc. and Eva's conditions and hunger
2.1.4.2.1 Shows inequality in society
2.2 The Birlings' home

Annotations:

  • "Substantial and heavily comfortable, but not cosy" - reflects the family's outward comfort and inner tensions. The family look happy from the outside but are not under closer inspection. The set is like it is to suggest that the scene is real and so the play is more effective at convincing and persuading the audience and portraying Priestley's views and ideals.
2.2.1 Seems nice
2.2.1.1 A facade
2.3 Eva's treatment shows that the poor cannot depend on the rich for help
3 Key themes
3.1 Equitable society
3.1.1 Powerfully expressed social message
3.1.1.1 Comfortable home/lifestyle of the Birlings vs. accounts of desperate attempts for the poor to increase their wages
3.1.1.2 Sordid life of Eva Smith because of the actions of the Birlings
3.1.1.3 Inspector champions the poor people's cause
3.1.2 The Inspector tries to persuade the rich that all people share a common humanity
3.1.2.1 Message gets through to Eric and Sheila - younger generation
3.1.2.2 Ignored by Arthur and Sybil
3.1.2.2.1 Dismiss the idea of a community
3.1.2.3 Suggests what would happen if this carried on
3.1.3 As the play progresses, the Inspector's point is put across more forcefully - spokesperson for the disadvantaged
3.1.3.1 A conscience
3.1.3.1.1 Lacked by the Birlings (and Gerald)
3.1.4 Shows that the rich had all of the power and that they could choose whether to help the poor or not
3.1.4.1 Shown by the Women's Charity - Sybil chooses not to help Eva
3.2 Responsibility
3.2.1 Most characters - narrow view of how to be responsible
3.2.1.1 Inspector provides the audience with a much broader view
3.2.1.2 Mr Birling thinks that it is his responsibility to make a success of his business
3.2.1.2.1 Making as much profit as possible - not being humanitarian
3.2.1.2.2 Feels responsible for providing his family with money
3.2.1.2.2.1 Lack of love - Eric cannot turn to him in a crisis
3.2.1.3 Mrs Birling
3.2.1.3.1 Feels responsible of running the Women's Charity Organisation
3.2.1.3.1.1 Can choose who to help
3.2.1.3.2 Allows personal feelings to interfere with her help
3.2.1.3.3 Shelia recognises afterwards that her lack of responsibility lead to Eva being turned out of a job
3.2.2 Eric - little sense of responsibility
3.2.2.1 Shown through his drinking
3.2.3 Gerald showed some responsibility
3.2.3.1 Rescued Daisy from Alderman Meggarty
3.2.3.1.1 Eventually gave in to his own personal desire
3.2.3.1.1.1 Eventually abandoned her and did not seem to care too much
3.2.4 Young vs. old
3.2.4.1 Sheila and Eric accept responsibility for causing harm for the girl- compassionate
3.2.4.2 Sybil and Arthur more concentrated on business/social position - less compassionate
3.2.4.3 Shows the development of society
3.3 Love
3.3.1 Nature of love
3.3.1.1 Sheila and Gerald appear to be in love
3.3.1.1.1 Engagement brings false happiness
3.3.1.2 After confessing of involvement in Eva's death...
3.3.1.2.1 Shelia breaks off engagement, realises that they do not know each other well enough
3.3.1.2.2 Trust is a key ingredient for a loving relationship
3.3.1.3 Arthur Birling's attitude
3.3.1.3.1 "working together for lower costs and higher prices"
3.3.1.3.1.1 Measures love with money
3.3.1.3.1.2 Marriage is a convenient way of making more money
3.3.2 Neither Eric nor Gerald say that they loved Eva

Annotations:

  • Gerald: " it'd hard to say. I didn't feel the same about her as she felt about me" - disregard for Daisy's feelings. "I wasn't in love with her... she was pretty and a good sport" - Gerald used Daisy and did not really love her. He took advantage of her.
3.3.2.1 Relationships fuelled by physical attraction and desire
3.3.3 Inspector preaches a sort of love
3.3.3.1 true 'charity'
3.3.3.2 Care for other human beings
3.3.3.2.1 Alien to Mrs Birling - devotes her time to chairty without having any regard for others
3.3.4 Gerald and Sheila - affectionate at the start

Annotations:

  • When Gerald produces the ring, Shelia's sentences are disjointed and incomplete - shocked, overwhelmed, in love with Gerald, emotional Gerald speaks similarly when he discovers the death of Daisy - genuine affection Shelia is then scorned and angry at Gerald. She is more independent and in control.
3.3.4.1 Mr and Mrs Birling are unaffectionate - marriage fuelled by status and money
3.4 Time
3.4.1 Set in 1912, written in 1945
3.4.1.1 Retraspect
3.4.2 At the end of the play, we are left with the feeling that the events are going to be repeated
3.4.3 Reflections on the past and possibilities for the future highlight the importance of thinking about consequences of actions
3.4.4 Dramatic Irony is used to show the ignorance of Arthur Birling (play written in hindsight)
3.4.4.1 Describes the Titanic as "unsinkable"
3.4.4.2 "there isn't a chance of war" - WWI 1914
3.4.4.3 Shows that although the rich have all the power, they are not necessarily most intelligent
4 Language and Structure
4.1 The Inspector
4.1.1 speaks "carefully, weightily"
4.1.1.1 Purposeful, full of questions. Good at his job - intense and intelligent
4.1.1.2 Speaks mostly in instructions/ commands/ questions
4.1.1.3 Can control and develop the plot
4.1.2 Final speech - prophet-like, missionary
4.1.3 Short, single-worded sentences are often followed by long ones - shows the importance of what he says.

Annotations:

  • "because what happened to her then may have determined what happened to her afterwards, and what happened to her afterwards may have driven her to suicide" - methodical, logical, intelligent and thinks about what he is saying carefully.
4.1.3.1 Followed by "a chain of events" - summarises
4.1.4 Speech contrasts with Mr Birling. Birling speaks in a forceful and bullying manner. His language lacks sophistication.
4.1.4.1 Wants to sound clever but just comes across as pompous. Represents the middle class of the period.
4.2 Lnaguage/Edwardian manners
4.2.1 Mr Birling describes the meal as "very nice" but is told off by Sybil as it is not polite to make such comments with company.
4.2.1.1 Geralsd glosses over this social error
4.2.2 Gerald is usually polite and correct
4.2.2.1 Apart from when describing Meggarty
4.2.3 Younger generation use slang - shows developing society

Annotations:

  • "squiffy" "don't be an ass" "chump"
4.3 Eric and Gerald use euphemisms when talking about sex
4.3.1 In the presence of ladies - protect them (sexism of the time)

Annotations:

  • Inspector: "became Daisy Renton, with other ideas" Eric: "She wasn't the usual sort" Sybil: "A girl of that sort"
4.4 Dramatic Irony
4.4.1 Used so that the audience can build up a picture of what will happen next
4.4.2 Each new revelation adds to the picture of Daisy's life
4.4.2.1 A pattern develops
4.4.3 Used to show ignorance
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