can someone mark my answer out of 30 please
it's to the question of how does Priestley present ideas about women in inspector calls
deas about gender are very persistent throughout the course of ‘An Inspector Calls’. Priestley believed that, at the time, women were seen as second class citizens and he disagreed with this biased and unfair treatment of women.
A character who suffers harshly at the hands of sexism is the character of Eva Smith, a lower-class girl. Throughout the play men use their status to abuse Eva Smith in ways that they see acceptable. For example, in Act 2; when Gerald explains to the Inspector how he met Eva Smith (named Daisy Renton at this point) he says “Old Joe Meggarty… had wedged her into a corner”. This shows how an upper-class man was able to take advantage of the lower-class women. Priestley criticizes this behaviour and by the use of “old” implies that this is outdated or a traditionalist view, which he opposed. Also, the use of “wedged” conveys that Eva Smith does not want to be there and that she had no choice in being there. This reflects Priestley’s abhor of this treatment of women as it goes against their own personal interests. Alternatively, the use of “wedged” and a speech made by the Inspector at the end of the play, “that lesson will be learnt in fire and blood and anguish”, suggests that Priestly feels, or is even trying to encourage, that women rise up against their injustice, which is an example of dramatic irony as, in the 20th century, women name suffragettes fought for the rights of women.
Another way that Priestly presents ideas about gender is through the anecdote that Sheila Birling tells in Act 1. She explains that she had Eva Smith fired from Milwards as she had looked better in a dress than Sheila had; “you might be said to have been jealous of her.” First of all, this shows Priestley’s belief that the upper-class were no different from the lower-class, as both seem as emotionally torn as the other (though at the time the upper-class would have denied as their status was what made them look good), which could have extended to how Priestly felt about gender, that men and women were no different from each other. As stated in the above brackets, the upper class wanted to look splendid in the eyes of others. However, during the 1900’s, women were seen as the possessions of men, which is highlighted by the fact that Sheila went to Millwards’; she even mentions to Gerald that it was “for his benefit” which tells us that she was only there to look nice for Gerald, which he is pleased by: “Good!” This shows Priestley’s distaste for the objectification of women during the 1900’s; he believed, and shows in the play, that this treatment of women leads to pathetic and “jealous” behaviour that will always leave a woman who is emotionally damaged, as implied by Sheila’s “jealousy” of Eva Smith, and physically damaged, as in the case of Eva Smith, who we know is supposed to have killed herself at the end of the play.
Finally, at the time that ‘An Inspector Calls’ is set, women were expected to have children at to look after them. This idea about the roles of women is put into conflict at the very end of the play. Eric tells us that “She thought she was going to have a baby,” which immediately places Eva Smith into what was expected of her at the time, however, she was not married and would therefore have been shunned by others, especially those of the upper-class (which was one of the reasons why Priestly was spiteful towards them). However, the fact that Eva Smith was expecting a child would have agreed with the audience at the time, who believed that that was the role of a woman. However, when we discover that Eva Smith, or a girl, has “just died in the infirmary” this destroys this view that women were responsible for looking after the child, which would have outraged the audience at the time. Priestly believed that it was unfair that people believed that women were solely responsible for the child: Mrs Birling even states “the father, of course” when asked who was responsible for Eva Smith’s death. This illustrates Priestley’s view that men were not as important as they believed (he even criticizes them by having Eric, the father, as a drunk, “he’s squiffy”, which highlights his own weakness) and that they also had a responsibility to bring up their children, whether in the upper or lower-class, which he tried to destroy the barrier between by writing ‘An Inspector calls’.
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As we can see, Priestley was a socialist who believed in equality for all. At the time, women were seen as second class citizens and they had little say on how their lives were led. Priestley challenged this view by creating stark contrasts between the views of people at the time and the events that befalls the characters in the play; an example being Eva Smith, who would have been expected to look after the child, failed by killing herself and the child along with her.