Twentieth Century Drama

Twentieth Century Drama “An inspector Calls” J. B Priestly Read the passage at the end of act 2 pages 42-49 and analyse its effectiveness as a piece of theatre? As part of my English coursework I have been asked to read the passage at the end of Act 2 and analyse its effectiveness as a piece of theatre. In order to do this I must give a brief explanation as to how this scene fits into the rest of the play. First of all the play starts when the Birling’s are celebrating their daughter’s (Sheila) engagement to Gerald Croft.

The engagement party is interrupted by an “Inspector” who is investigating a young woman’s suicide. At the end of act 1 we find out that Mr Birling had known the girl Eva Smith, at some point. Her involvement with Mr Birling was very vague, she had worked for Mr Birling until the workers at his company decided to go on strike, in order to receive higher wages. As Eva was one of the head protesters she was sacked and was out of a job. Shortly afterwards she was employed at a company named Milward’s, a very respectable shop, and both Mrs Birling and Sheila were valued customers there.

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Sheila’s involvement with Eva Smith was not quite as tenuous as Mr Birling’s had been, but again it had cost Eva her job. Sheila tried a dress on at Milwards after her mother and the shop assistants including Eva explained that the dress wouldn’t suit her, when Eva brought the dress to Sheila she held it up against herself as if to say “this would look better on me” When Sheila tried the dress on she knew that they were right. As Sheila glanced in the mirror she had seen Eva giving an awful smirk to the other assistant.

Sheila was very angry and complained to the manager of the store and said that she would withdraw her account if Eva was not sacked. Of course she was again out of work. This time for a longer period of time. Gerald’s involvement with Eva, however was very much different to both Mr Birling’s and Sheila’s as Gerald had had an affair with Eva (now called Daisy Renton according to the inspector) , at the same time he was with Sheila. Gerald later abandoned her. The inspector pointed out that all of these things caused her distress and gave her all the more reasons to commit suicide.

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