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9 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Contrasting Characters

Sheila and Eric

Sheila: light-hearted, enthusiastic and exciteable manner


Eric:(after drinking too much) lacks control, suddenly laughing, speaking 'rather nosily', making comments..Sheila calls him 'an ass'
Mr Birling Act 1

Enjoys playing host

Life centred round business

Family just another way of increasing his business

Can't resist making speeches as local politician

Talks about future in lengthy monologues- peace, prosperity, 'Capital and 'Labour', working together

Audience see extreme confidence misplaced

Mrs Birling Act 1

Never really enters the general conversation

Speaks- self-controlled rather cold

Disapproves of young people drinking

Places high value on things being done in the 'right way'

Act 1 summary

1. Birling Family and Gerald enjoying dinner to celebrate engagement of Gerald and Sheila

2. Mr Birling- speech congratulating couple and expressing hope that marriage bring 2 families closer and more profitable links between 2 firms

3. Gerald gives Sheila engagement ring

4.Ladies leave room men enjoy port & cigars

Family's Social position

Wealth suggested formal nature of dinner party

Stage directions- set show privileged lifestyle

Luxury taken for granted

Hard furniture suggests lack of family warmth and homliness

Mr Birling- toast wish happy couple 'the very best life can bring' suggest natural that life should be good to them.

Priestley preparing audience for the contrast seen between way of life enjoyed by weathy & hardships endured by workers

Examiners Tip: Writing about mr Birling and the Social Context of the play
Priestley uses comfortable view of life enjoyed by wealthy before WW1 indicate ways life would change during 20th century. Mr Birling confident that the future bring good times to factory owners like him -fewer strikes & greater prosperity. Talks about advances in technology, quoting Titanic as symbol of progress 'Unsinkable. Absolutely unsinkable'.Illustrates how we led to doubt what Mr Birling says later & how wrong we see him to in his views of what future holds. View that socialist ideas of equality and workers' rights are dangerous destroyed Inspector shows people like Eva Smith need protection
Mr Birling
'Men with important work to do sometimes have to spend nearly all their time and energy on their business'
Mr Birling
' I speak as a hard-headed business man'