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Generational Divide In An Inspector Calls

887 words - 4 pages

The Generational Divide in ‘An Inspector Calls’

I feel that the younger generation in ‘An Inspector Calls’ are ‘more impressionable’ as they are still growing and being shaped by daily events that happen in their lives, whereas the older generation are dismissive as they are unwilling to change the ways that they have grown to live by.
The Inspector, as well as investigating their actions contributing to the death of Eva Smith, is examining their morality and appealing to their sense of responsibility. This is where I feel that the two generations contrast the most, in their ability to accept responsibility. For example, Sheila admits ‘between us, we killed her’ ...view middle of the document...

The older generation are very representative of the old class system and their strict obedience to it. Mr Birling works whilst Mrs Birling stays at home. Mr Birling believes that the women are more fragile and shouldn’t be present when the men are talking about business and when the topic of sex comes up during Gerald’s affair, the stage directions show Mr Birling indicating Sheila so that they shouldn’t talk about it in front of her, before much later he tells Sheila to take her mum to the drawing room so that neither of them would have to hear the talk of Eric’s revelations. Additionally, Mr Birling is of the belief that a woman should stand by her man despite having an affair. When Sheila says she and Gerald would have to get to know each other again, he says ‘I’m not defending him. But you must understand that a lot of young men – ‘, getting cut off before giving another speech. Mrs Birling does have some sense of responsibility due to her involvement in the committee but she is unwilling to help Eva when she comes looking for support because she is of the working class.
Mr and Mrs Birling’s attitude towards the Inspector also reflects the difference between the two generations. They are uncooperative and hostile and Mrs Birling in particular ends up almost infuriating the Inspector with her unwillingness to answer his questions, for example when he asks if there was a committee meeting she becomes defensive and says ‘I dare say there...

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