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"An Inspector Calls" - J.B. Priestley

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Family


J.B. Priestley talks about a lot of different themes in his play „An Inspector Calls“. One of these themes is ‘family’.

The Family in the play – the Birlings – represent how the structure of a family in those days was: The father is the head and his word is law within the family. The mother has some influence, but are less direct in doing so. Children, no matter how old they are, are expected to obey the parents completely. I think this is a very conservative structure and if the family always acts in this structure there can arise many problems as we can see in the play:

Problem 1: No communication
If the members of the family really had talked to each other and if the parents had really cared about the children’s problems, Mr. And Mrs. Birling would have known about Eric’s problem with alcohol. And if the relation between parents and children had been better because of more talking, Eric maybe would have had the courage to tell his parents about his problems.

Problem 2: Bad Atmosphere
A second thing is, that not only one of them told another about his meeting with Eva Smith. If the atmosphere in the family had been better, one of them maybe would have told the other about what had happened. But they are all afraid maybe that the others would laugh or that the parents would be angry.
Problem 3: Bad education and values
Because the parents show such a bad attitude against other members of society, the children don’t learn how to deal with other people humanly. They learn to live with values like money, power and strength and don’t get the chance to learn another way of life. All things you one does must have a real good sense (e.g. earning more money, getting more power) and it’s really awful to make a mistake because this fault could destroy your chances in life.
The children are expected to obey their parents, but what if their parents are acting badly or immorally? They haven’t learnt to criticise the parent’s behaviour, they’ve only learnt to behave like their parents do.
Problem 4: No coherence but recrimination
When the family hears about what happened to Eva Smith and when they see that everyone is a bit to blame they don’t hold together like a family should, they accuse each other to be more guilty. Everyone wants to wash himself clean from guilt except Eric and Sheila.
These problems and I think a lot more arise from this conservative family structure. I think communication is really important in a family. If everyone can tell the other about his feelings and problems the members of the family can try to solve the problem together. The atmosphere is much more better then.
If the children are educated that they can differ between good behaviour and bad no matter who the person is. The parents should be able to own up to having done something wrong, so that the children are able to learn from faults and not to become desperate about it.
When the whole family gets into trouble it should hold together so that they can find a resolution together.
Inhalt
Kurze Erläuterung der Themen, die in "An Inspector Calls" angesprochen werden von J.B. Priestley.

1) No communication
2) Bad atmosphere
3) Bad education and values
... (538 Wörter)
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15.10.2004 von unbekannt
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