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Report Thread starter 4 years ago
Bonjour tout le monde.

So I'm terrible at English and I HATE it because I don't know how many PEA'S I should write depending on the number of marks available. Nevertheless as I need them for my GCSE'S here goes. I've answered a question and I would like some feedback if you have time; thanks. (Sorry for spelling - typed it up so I haven't proof read it)


Priestley criticizes the selfishness of people like the Birlings. What methods does he use to present this selfishness? (30 marks)

A: Priestley constantly reminds the audience of the selfishness living within Capitalist views through contrasting character representation.

The stage directions direct Mr Birling to sit at one end and Mrs Birling on another. It characterizes Mr Birling to be the head of the family and the man who has the power. They ought to be wise. However Priestley utilises dramatic irony in upcoming dialogue to add impact of the truly "hard-headed business man" who believes that talk of the war is "fiddlesticks". The 1945 audience are triggered by the mention of war as they had truly gone through the war. Priestley purposely mentions the war to warn the audience of the selfish views Capitalists, like Mr Birling, have.

Eric's sentence is further left interrupted by Mr Birling to exhibit the selfish character of Mr Birling, who must be the only one to be heard in discussion; contradicting ideas are tossed and never to be heard again.

Priestley makes Birling's strong Capitalist views apparent. Mr Birling speaks of the "cranks who talk and write", like Priestley, and disapproves of how the cranks talk of how one must be together as a "community and all that nonsense". Mr Birling strongly belives that a man must "look after himself and his own-". Just then the Inspector rings the bell. Priestley cleverly uses dramatic irony to add impact to the selfish nature of Mr Birling. The audience are warned that almost as fate, there was a reason Mr Birling was interrupted; to be taught a lesson.

Priestley moves onto disclosing the hidden selfishness of the Birling family through investigation of Eva Smith's death. Mr Birling is the first to display his profit mind in action as he refused to answer why he refused to raise the rates of his workers. How he runs his business is "none of the Inspector's concern". He refuses any interferences from the Inspector to HIS business. It is his business so he will do what he wants. The childish mindset is displayed to the audience as they notice that his business comes before the employers since he is the one to "choose how to run his business"; he shows no sign of remorse. The profit blind man's selfishness is crystal clear.

Priestley shifts the focus to the second in line for interrogation; Sheila one of the younger generation. She is portrayed as a spoilt child whose "own idea" had been opposed by her mother and the sales assistant hence the tantrum. The spoilt nature of the daughter is backed up when Sheila's dialogue sounds distressed purposely done by Priestley to show that the daughter of the upper class has no better control over her feelings than a child. Furthermore, her selfish nature results in the end of Eva's "last steady job"; reason being the dress "suited her". Sheila is shown in a negative light as someone who misused her powers from social status for personal satisfaction. Hence why it comes across as a surprise to the audience that Sheila is the quickest to learn that she has "responsibilities as well as privileges". Priestley wants to highlight the difference in responsibility acceptance between the old and the young to compare how much more selfish Capitalist views are.

Neither the old nor the young, Gerald is in the middle of the generations however is an classic example of the category of people in the audience – the ones who think they care for others yet wouldn't mind risking it for the sake of profit. Gerald agrees with Mr Birling about profit from the start of the play. He has the ideal business mindset to suit Mr Birling's taste – not to mention his wealth too. Until Daisy Renton's name is mentioned, Gerald showed no remorse for Eva Smith, showing that Gerald's sympathy is selective. He was shocked when he heard of Dasiy's name as this is shown through Gerald was "rather more – upset – by this business". The use of hyphens shows that he couldn't collect his thoughts showing that he did feel for Daisy. However it can also be interpreted as Gerald's first act of selfishness in the play as for the sake of his Prince Charming role, he neglected Sheila, proving his selfishness. He did not love Daisy yet he still led her on and kept her as his mistress. He knew that he made Daisy "happier and happier" yet if he loved her, he would not have left her. It marks the end of Gerald's selfishness as he is the one who starts the fairytale and ends it on his own, which ended up costing a life. Through Gerald, Priestley is trying to tell the audience that "helping each other" for personal profit is different to truly being helpful to one another. Priestley pinpoints to the audience who thought they knew what a society was however they do not turly understand the meaning of it.

At the end of the play, Priestley has finished presenting the Birling's to the audience and then leaves it for the audience to decide which Birling or Croft they are. However he gives a grave warning through the Inspector that people will learn through "blood, fire and anguish" if they do not learn; a warning especially to the audience who side with the Capitalist Birling's. The purpose use of biblical terms are a spine chilling flashback to the War when there was high social division. People had not learnt their lesson, hence had to face the WWII, divided. Past will repeat if the present is the same.

In conclusion, selfishness flows through the veins of the Birling's and not just them but outsiders like Gerald too. Ironically, the Birling's and Gerald committed their first act as one to take someone's life. The cruel fact is overbearing; so much so that the audience are forced to reflect on their own actions. When Gerald and Mr Birling are convinced that there is no Inspector, they are overjoyed yet the audience understand that the Inspector may or may not be real but the moral problem in question, is.
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Report 3 years ago
I think you have to expand your context and explain the capitalist society at the time

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