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Is this forum for help with english?
Original post by testina123
Is this forum for help with english?

The forum itself is for Uk students but this an English thread forum
Original post by ahmadmuh
Can someone give me feedback on this essay? Once again, some of these ideas are not mine, but the feedback can still help. This essay answers the question how is selfishness/capitalism presented in an inspector calls. Also, some advice for my conclusion would be appreciated

J.B. Priestley's didactic play 'An Inspector Calls' is arguably a product of its time, with selfishness being presented as a quintessential characteristic inherited by capitalists. Priestley negatively showers the notion of capitalism throughout the play by exposing its devastating effects. This would have a profound impact on the post war audience, as through their suffering, they would have realised the importance of unity.

One instance of selfishness in the play is with the Birling family. As soon as 'the curtain rises', we can see that the play is set in a 'large suburban house' that is 'comfortable' yet not 'cosy', allowing the audience to deduce that the house belongs to a wealthy family. The stage directions describe the house as 'pink and intimate', which could be connoting 'rose tinted spectacles'. This could be insinuating how the Birlings live in their own bubble of wealth and avarice, detached from the realities of modern Britain, and view the world through their own lens. At the time the play was written, wealth was synonymous with capitalism, the movement that Priestley was trying to eradicate. Therefore, he deploys the inspector, who immediately changes the light to 'brighter and harder'. This serves to symbolise the removal of the Birling's sheltered and shielded nature, which are lifted and replaced by the 'bright' and 'hard' light of an interrogation room. This lighting change foreshadows the rest of the play, as Priestley will throw into relief the issues within the Edwardian society to the inspector, symbolised by 'bright' light, in which nothing can hide.

Certainly, throughout the play, Priestley conveys the feeling that greed is deeply virulent and causes damage to society as a whole. For example, Mr. Birling is constructed as the epitome of capitalism to exemplify the devestating effects selfishness and capitalism has. In his first speech to Eric and Gerald, Mr. Birling echoes the need for 'cheaper costs' and 'higher prices'. One is immediately struck by the juxtaposition between 'cheaper' and 'higher'. This could suggest how the bourgeoisie exploit the plight of the proletariat in order to get an 'increase in prosperity'. Capitalism brings a greater income to those who are already rich, but depreciates 'millions and millions of Eva and John Smiths'. Alternatively, the juxtaposition between 'cheaper' and 'higher' could be highlighting the contrasting attitudes of 'hard-headed business men' like Mr. Birling between their businesses, success, and profit and their demeanour towards the proletariat, who are left to 'count pennies'. Because Mr Birling's first focus on the play is on money, it's easy to see why the main attack is against capitalism.

Mr. Birling's selfishness is also corroborated by his clinginess to money. For example, Mr. Birling assertively admits that he 'refuses' to pay Eva Smith three more shillings, 'of course'. One is immediately struck by Mr. Birling's certainty through the use of the adverb "of course". This insinuates that Priestley believes he was right in refusing his workers any more money and that it was the obvious decision to make. By suggesting that Mr. Birling thinks this is obvious, Priestley implies that many wealthy businessmen adopted the selfish model of paying their workers a minimum amount of money so that they could benefit from a "higher" profit. Alternatively, this quote could be deploying irony, as he refused to pay Eva Smith three more shillings but is willing to "give thousands" to maintain his reputation in society and secure a knighthood. This once again conveys irresponsibility and selfishness, as he thinks that a bribe can allow him sympathy. Arthur's insincere character makes him more unlikable, making the audience more likely to align with socialism.

Similarly, through his final speech in Act 3, the inspector challenges Mr. Birling's capitalist views and states the consequences if the status quo remains and the people in power remain selfish. This is brought to light in the quote 'we have to share our guilt'. Priestley uses the pronoun "we" to create a sense of unity, emphasising the need for an inclusive society, contrasting the notion of capitalism. Contextually, this is important as the play was set in 1912, a time in which society was divided by not only gender, but also social class. Therefore, the inclusive pronoun can be viewed as paradoxical as it subverts the audience's expectations about a divided society. Augmented by the imperative verb "have to", he could be imposing the Birlings and ultimately the audience to take responsibility for their actions, as they are all "members of one body", which could be insinuating that like the organs and limbs in a human body, they cannot function properly without each other. If 'men' fail to embody accountability for their actions, then they will be 'taught in fire, blood and anguish'. The semantic field of 'agony' and 'eternal suffering' could be referring to the everlasting and imminent doom that capitalism carries. However, as the inspector only refers to 'men', one can deduce that it is only 'men' who have the ability to change, as females had virtually no power in the patriarchal society. Alternatively, it can be because the businesses owned by men were very unjust and exploited the lower class for 'an increase in prosperity'. Therefore, the use of the noun 'businesses' can be viewed as euphemistic. After his last speech and exit, there's a sudden silence because no one else is speaking. The audience, like the characters on stage, are left 'starring, subdued and wondering' Priestley truly did believe that capitalism had detrimental effects on others, because in 1945, he, along with twelve million others voted for Labour, causing a landslide win for the first time in history.

Priestley also cleverly structures his morality play in order to negatively shower the notion of capitalism and the values cemented into it such as selfishness in order to make the audience side with him. For example, Arthur Birling's self-centred nature is illuminated by the charactynom of his name, 'Arthur', which may be alluding to King Arthur. King Arthur was viewed as a symbol of good rule and, therefore, was idealised by many. For example, he sat at a round table and was therefore equidistant from all other people. This suggests how he believed that everyone was equal, even when stripped of their wealth. Mr. Birling, on the other hand, sat at the 'head' of the 'dining table', and thus had varying distances from each other. This insinuates that he also had varying respect for others based on their position in the hierarchy.

In conclusive terms, selfishness is a typical trait found in capitalists, which has debilitating effects on many, especially the lower class. As a socialist himself, Priestley villainises Arthur Birling and ultimately the notion of capitalism in order to align the audience with his views and for Britain to advance as a country after a period of 'anguish'.

your essay has strong elements, but it would benefit from a more organized structure, improved integration of quotations, and a more engaging introduction. Your conclusion should also provide a concise summary of your main points and offer a broader perspective on the play's significance. Overall, with some revisions, your essay can become a more polished and effective piece of writing.
i would like you to consider

In addition, Citations and Sources: ensure that you properly cite any external sources or ideas that are not your own. Proper attribution is essential in academic writing to avoid plagiarism.
Critical Analysis: While you analyze Mr. Birling's character effectively, you could explore the other characters' roles in promoting or challenging the themes of selfishness and capitalism. How do Sheila, Gerald, Eric, and Mrs. Birling contribute to the play's message?

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