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English lit - An Inspector Calls

Hello,

I was wondering if anyone could give me some feedback for my essay on:

'How does Priestley present Mr Birling in Act 1 of An Inspector Calls'

It's only a few paragraphs so it isn't that long and there isn't a conclusion or clear introduction so it does need some work. But I was hoping if this essay could reach a grade 7 at least.


Mr Birling is presented as ignorant and misguided when he makes falsely-assumed declarations in his speech, which prove his lack of foresight into the events that shaped society after 1912. He believes that ‘the Germans don’t want war’ and that the Titanic is ‘unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable’. Priestley uses dramatic irony here as a method of presenting Mr Birling as a character with irrational ideologies and a poor judgement; this is effective as the post-war audience would be informed of how drastically society had changed after suffering through both wars so a form of animosity against him is established immediately.

Mr Birling’s character is further developed with a strong connection to capitalism. He manages his profits through ‘lower costs + higher prices’. The oxymoronic language demonstrates the growing imbalance between social classes in terms of wealth and worker’s rights back in Edwardian society. This presents Mr Birling as an archetype of a prospering capitalist through his exploitation and ‘duty to keep labour costs down’. Although many like-minded business-owners of the time would have admired his success, Priestley encourages the reader to look through a socialist’s perspective to understand that most of the wealth generated by cunning capitalists was through the labour and hardship of the less fortunate working-class members.

Through the presentation of Mr Birling as an ambitious capitalist, the opposition towards socialists is also heavily emphasised as he sees them ‘like bees in a hive’. The simile highlights his harsh and insensitive language which compares socialists to bees who are considered as pests; he is intolerant of them and views them as a danger to society. However, Mr Birling fails to understand that just as humans depend on hardworking bees for survival and access to food, society needs socialists in order for it to thrive and be able to accommodate everyone’s needs. This could perhaps demonstrate how he is stuck in his old mentality so J.B.P encourages the younger middle-class audience to use their wealth and influence to guide society to not end up with Mr Birling’s unjust and static personality


Thank you
Reply 1
Original post by *LifeHappens*
Hello,

I was wondering if anyone could give me some feedback for my essay on:

'How does Priestley present Mr Birling in Act 1 of An Inspector Calls'

It's only a few paragraphs so it isn't that long and there isn't a conclusion or clear introduction so it does need some work. But I was hoping if this essay could reach a grade 7 at least.


Mr Birling is presented as ignorant and misguided when he makes falsely-assumed declarations in his speech, which prove his lack of foresight into the events that shaped society after 1912. He believes that ‘the Germans don’t want war’ and that the Titanic is ‘unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable’. Priestley uses dramatic irony here as a method of presenting Mr Birling as a character with irrational ideologies and a poor judgement; this is effective as the post-war audience would be informed of how drastically society had changed after suffering through both wars so a form of animosity against him is established immediately.

Mr Birling’s character is further developed with a strong connection to capitalism. He manages his profits through ‘lower costs + higher prices’. The oxymoronic language demonstrates the growing imbalance between social classes in terms of wealth and worker’s rights back in Edwardian society. This presents Mr Birling as an archetype of a prospering capitalist through his exploitation and ‘duty to keep labour costs down’. Although many like-minded business-owners of the time would have admired his success, Priestley encourages the reader to look through a socialist’s perspective to understand that most of the wealth generated by cunning capitalists was through the labour and hardship of the less fortunate working-class members.

Through the presentation of Mr Birling as an ambitious capitalist, the opposition towards socialists is also heavily emphasised as he sees them ‘like bees in a hive’. The simile highlights his harsh and insensitive language which compares socialists to bees who are considered as pests; he is intolerant of them and views them as a danger to society. However, Mr Birling fails to understand that just as humans depend on hardworking bees for survival and access to food, society needs socialists in order for it to thrive and be able to accommodate everyone’s needs. This could perhaps demonstrate how he is stuck in his old mentality so J.B.P encourages the younger middle-class audience to use their wealth and influence to guide society to not end up with Mr Birling’s unjust and static personality


Thank you
Hello! I think it would be helpful if you posted your essay in the English forum. That way, you can get feedback from experienced English teachers who can help you with grading.
Original post by Alm_xo
Hello! I think it would be helpful if you posted your essay in the English forum. That way, you can get feedback from experienced English teachers who can help you with grading.
hii, I did post it in the english forum a day ago but the post got pushed down as newer posts came in so I thought if I did it here then it may be more likely to get views or feedback
Reply 3
Original post by *LifeHappens*
hii, I did post it in the english forum a day ago but the post got pushed down as newer posts came in so I thought if I did it here then it may be more likely to get views or feedback
oh I am sorry for that , I hope you get your answer..
i mean english lit is level based, and relies on the fact that you do consistently on all essays to get your grade.

while I may not be able to comment a clear level/ mark. i can give some feedback.

In your first paragraph, you need to explain the wider intentions o priestly. why make Mr birling look daft towards us the audience. is it for the same of it, or a deeper meaning? I'll let you come up with the idea, but think what he is a microcosm of and what he's trying to tout in this play. to access higher grades, put in your own opinion that may differ from school, after all this is an opinion-based subject. and having that extra perhaps shows you are thinking. lets say with Mr birling in act 1 you can provide evidence of him being a victim to what he praises as he is not at the top, but seeks to have his legacy be there in the form of his progeny ie the marriage with the Crofts. then use the correct quotes and you have a pretty good point with is different to what the "average" student who is also studying this book.

this paragraph above feels horrendous as I was writing it, but I hope it gets a general idea to you.
so focus more on the writer's intention as what difference would it make in Mr birling was right on his assumptions, is there a knock-on effect, I recall that this speech generally in the story had no real place ( if it was real). remember Mr birling is a bourgeois he is almost at the top but will never be there. so he hopes for the next best thing. ( as a separate point)

you could also reference history with the historical labour win which allowed labour to make radical changes to the system, which could in turn infer that with low costs high prices, he's trying to show greed from this new money type of people, and hence after the war this audience wishes to see justice and equality with workers.


i personally don't really like this question as I would prefer to maybe talk about the change each character procures by the inspector but yeah and how that has changed. for example, last year's gcse question on women was fairly interesting.
(edited 1 month ago)
Original post by *LifeHappens*
Hello,

I was wondering if anyone could give me some feedback for my essay on:

'How does Priestley present Mr Birling in Act 1 of An Inspector Calls'

It's only a few paragraphs so it isn't that long and there isn't a conclusion or clear introduction so it does need some work. But I was hoping if this essay could reach a grade 7 at least.


Mr Birling is presented as ignorant and misguided when he makes falsely-assumed declarations in his speech, which prove his lack of foresight into the events that shaped society after 1912. He believes that ‘the Germans don’t want war’ and that the Titanic is ‘unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable’. Priestley uses dramatic irony here as a method of presenting Mr Birling as a character with irrational ideologies and a poor judgement; this is effective as the post-war audience would be informed of how drastically society had changed after suffering through both wars so a form of animosity against him is established immediately.

Mr Birling’s character is further developed with a strong connection to capitalism. He manages his profits through ‘lower costs + higher prices’. The oxymoronic language demonstrates the growing imbalance between social classes in terms of wealth and worker’s rights back in Edwardian society. This presents Mr Birling as an archetype of a prospering capitalist through his exploitation and ‘duty to keep labour costs down’. Although many like-minded business-owners of the time would have admired his success, Priestley encourages the reader to look through a socialist’s perspective to understand that most of the wealth generated by cunning capitalists was through the labour and hardship of the less fortunate working-class members.

Through the presentation of Mr Birling as an ambitious capitalist, the opposition towards socialists is also heavily emphasised as he sees them ‘like bees in a hive’. The simile highlights his harsh and insensitive language which compares socialists to bees who are considered as pests; he is intolerant of them and views them as a danger to society. However, Mr Birling fails to understand that just as humans depend on hardworking bees for survival and access to food, society needs socialists in order for it to thrive and be able to accommodate everyone’s needs. This could perhaps demonstrate how he is stuck in his old mentality so J.B.P encourages the younger middle-class audience to use their wealth and influence to guide society to not end up with Mr Birling’s unjust and static personality


Thank you
The essay is way to short to reach a grade 7, needs at least 600 words, as you get marks for how many explanations you offer. These explanations must link to the Priestley's purpose. Also, the question is framed obscurely, for a high grade you need to track how Birling changes throughout the play (although he doesn't), its impossible to achieve a good grade with only discussing the first act. Also, I would pick another question for a different reason: question 2 is better because it allows you to discuss a theme, which will involve multiple characters, so your argument is more sophisticated. This is an easy way to reach band 5. I like the advanced use of punctuation though, well done!
Original post by jacksmith23
i mean english lit is level based, and relies on the fact that you do consistently on all essays to get your grade.

while I may not be able to comment a clear level/ mark. i can give some feedback.

In your first paragraph, you need to explain the wider intentions o priestly. why make Mr birling look daft towards us the audience. is it for the same of it, or a deeper meaning? I'll let you come up with the idea, but think what he is a microcosm of and what he's trying to tout in this play. to access higher grades, put in your own opinion that may differ from school, after all this is an opinion-based subject. and having that extra perhaps shows you are thinking. lets say with Mr birling in act 1 you can provide evidence of him being a victim to what he praises as he is not at the top, but seeks to have his legacy be there in the form of his progeny ie the marriage with the Crofts. then use the correct quotes and you have a pretty good point with is different to what the "average" student who is also studying this book.

this paragraph above feels horrendous as I was writing it, but I hope it gets a general idea to you.
so focus more on the writer's intention as what difference would it make in Mr birling was right on his assumptions, is there a knock-on effect, I recall that this speech generally in the story had no real place ( if it was real). remember Mr birling is a bourgeois he is almost at the top but will never be there. so he hopes for the next best thing. ( as a separate point)

you could also reference history with the historical labour win which allowed labour to make radical changes to the system, which could in turn infer that with low costs high prices, he's trying to show greed from this new money type of people, and hence after the war this audience wishes to see justice and equality with workers.


i personally don't really like this question as I would prefer to maybe talk about the change each character procures by the inspector but yeah and how that has changed. for example, last year's gcse question on women was fairly interesting.
Thank you for taking the time to give me some feedback!

I understand what you mean, now that I reread the paragraphs from my essay I can tell that it could use some discussion of writer's intentions and perhaps more context too

I agree with you about how vague the question is, actually this question was in my end of term exam for english but my essay wasn't marked so I just wanted to see how effective of a response mine was that's why I posted it here. But thank you again for identifying what I could add or improve in, now I'll be able to adapt my essay accordingly
Original post by OliverKnowledge
The essay is way to short to reach a grade 7, needs at least 600 words, as you get marks for how many explanations you offer. These explanations must link to the Priestley's purpose. Also, the question is framed obscurely, for a high grade you need to track how Birling changes throughout the play (although he doesn't), its impossible to achieve a good grade with only discussing the first act. Also, I would pick another question for a different reason: question 2 is better because it allows you to discuss a theme, which will involve multiple characters, so your argument is more sophisticated. This is an easy way to reach band 5. I like the advanced use of punctuation though, well done!
I agree, the essay could definitely use some more paragraphs/points/analysis and the question itself was very vague too.

Thank you for the feedback, I could definitely link my points to Priestley's intention/purpose and that might develop my analysis more, I'll take it into account
Original post by *LifeHappens*
Thank you for taking the time to give me some feedback!

I understand what you mean, now that I reread the paragraphs from my essay I can tell that it could use some discussion of writer's intentions and perhaps more context too

I agree with you about how vague the question is, actually this question was in my end of term exam for english but my essay wasn't marked so I just wanted to see how effective of a response mine was that's why I posted it here. But thank you again for identifying what I could add or improve in, now I'll be able to adapt my essay accordingly
yeah when you are in te real exam try and go for the theme preferably as its easier to talk about change or no change with the writers intention to access the higher bands.
yeah, the question is unrealistic of a true exam question, I hope we do well in our GCSEs

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