An Inspector Calls 'Context and Background'



Oh an inspector arrives at the door bearing news of a young woman's suicide his questions forced the Burling family to face the truth about their role in her death and to acknowledge the consequences of their selfishness and greed an inspector calls is filled with suspense mystery and revelations but beyond its captivating narrative the play has some important things to say about British history and society as World War two ended in 1945 JB Priestley set out to show how society had changed since the First World War so his plane was set just before its outbreak in 1912 when families like the burling's flourished as the cradle of the Industrial Revolution Britain was by 1912 highly prosperous and technologically advanced nation many people worked in factories where steam powered machinery manufactured products in massive quantities a class of industrialists merchants and ship owners accumulated most of the wealth while the working classes toiled long hours for very little pay working in small spaces with hot and dangerous machinery while factory workers lived in polluted and overcrowded slums people like the burling's moved away from those areas into comfortable suburbs working conditions began to improve when trade unions were legalized in the nineteenth century but in 1912 the laws still favored factory owners and class divisions were still very much apparent as factory owners continued to reap the rewards of workers labor at the same time gender divisions remains just as rigid and the women of England were fighting for their rights despite millions finding employment as textile workers and domestic servants women's wages were generally only 1/3 to 1/2 of male workers wages women who weren't forced to work for a living were usually confined to domestic duties looking after their husbands children and running the household it was very difficult for a married woman to get a divorce she also risked losing her children who became the property of the father after a divorce while it was acceptable for a husband to have affairs and keep mistresses a woman who had multiple partners was seen to be ruined pregnancy outside marriage was also viewed as shameful and no state support was provided for unmarried mothers women were forced to rely on any charity they could find in the decades that followed JB Priestley became a vocal advocates of women's rights JB Priestley was born in Bradford West Yorkshire in 1894 like Bromley where an inspector calls is set Bradford was known as a hub of Industry and manufacturing Priestley was born into the suburb of Manningham which housed the families of many wealthy industrialists not unlike the bearings in 1910 at age 16 Priestley began work at a textile mall and saw firsthand the working conditions of the poorer classes four years later he joined the army as the First World War broke out but was badly injured in a collapse trench in 1916 the England he returned to was in the midst of change large sections of the working classes had served in the war many who didn't serve had obtained higher paying positions in the work force class barriers were further broken down by the weakened state of the middle and upper classes due to the death toll and too heavy financial losses join the war in the 1930s Priestley's concerns over social inequality led him to become a passionate supporter of socialism which sought equal opportunity rights and wealth for all citizens Priestley became a prolific writer of essays plays and novels as well as a well-known broadcaster on the BBC he used this role to promote socialist ideals and the concept of a welfare state with free education and health care for all he started to write an inspector calls in 1944 the socialist Labour Party won the election in 1945 and introduced the welfare state so the views Priestley expresses in the play were in tune with public feeling now that World War two had ended he saw a major opportunity for people to build a better and more generous society to help audiences see the potential in their future Priestley gave them a glimpse of Britain's less enlightened past and in spectacles opened on the London stage in 1946 the year following the Labour Party's landslide victory and Priestley's ideas about social equality and responsibility resonated them as they still do among many in society today you




Comments
  1. i realised the reason why the story takes place in 1912;
    i was reading the Titanic and it said in "curious case of Marconi" that this was the era where british society emerging from the victorian era into a new one.
    This era of change in the play represents how people's behavior towards others should change as well.

  2. Literally saw this at school today, been made to watch it again cos teacher kept pausing video, its acc so much effortttt

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