An Inspector Calls Unit Essay

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J .B Priestley’s

An Inspector Calls

N5 Unit

Lesson 1

Unit Aims
In this unit, you will read the play ‘An
Inspector Calls’ by J.B Priestley and do the following :
Revisit the definition of and aspects of a play
Learn about the playwright and play’s background Study:
Plot as well as Plot Structure

Success Criteria:
To successfully study this unit you will complete:
-A series of group discussion tasks.
- A Watching and Listening assessment
- An Analysis and Evaluation Reading assessment - A research project on a topic which stems from the play
- An assessed group presentation and a
Critical Essay centred on the play’s main theme.

Before reading the play we must :
Refamiliarise ourselves with the conventions of the genre which make a play different from other texts.
Learn important facts about the play and playwright and recognise their importance in enhancing our overall understanding of the play.
Be able to recognise clues given by the front cover of the play which help us to gain an early insight into the play’s genre/theme /plot and characters etc.

Task 1: Defining a play
Working in your groups, use the show me board to write a definition for the following:
is a

You have 2 minutes to complete this exercise.
Everyone must be prepared to feed back to the rest of the class if required to.

What is a play?
A play is a form of literature written by a playwright. It consists of scripted dialogue and is arranged into ’Acts‘.
Rather than be read like a novel or a poem, a play is intended to be read aloud or
‘performed’ on a stage in front of an audience. Apart from Acts, what other aspects is a play comprised of?

Task 2: The distinguishing features of a play
As a group, using your show-me-board, write down as many features of a play you can think of (for example, ‘Acts’ would be one).
You have 2 minutes to complete this exercise.
Everyone must be prepared to feed back to the rest of the class if required to.

The main distinguishing features of a play: Acts & scenes
Stage directions
SFX (sound effects) and music.

J.B Priestley

The Playwright

Priestley facts:

Born: 13th September 1894; Died:
14th August 1984
Mother died in the year he was born.
Left school at 16 ‘to write’ and began work in 1910 as a junior clerk at a wool firm.

Influences in Priestley’s life and work
Priestley said that it was the years
1911 - 1914 that ‘set their stamp’ upon him.
- What do you think this means?
- Which significant event did these years lead up to?
- How might this have influenced Priestley’s work ?

He often engaged in political discussions with his father’s socialist friends.
- How might these discussions have influenced Priestley and his work?

For your information:
With the outbreak of WW2 in 1939, Priestley continued writing and worked for BBC radio.
However, his programmes were cancelled by the
British Government for being ‘too critical’ of their actions in the war.
An Inspector Calls was written in 1945 and was set in
1912 (before WW1) and was first performed in
London in 1946.
Using the information you have been given so far, why might Priestley have chosen to set the play in 1912?

Task 3:
By examining some of the various cover illustrations for the play along with the title it may help you to gain some insight into the genre, theme, plot line and the characters in
‘An Inspector Calls’.

Copy the following headings into your jotter. Make sure that you leave a space underneath each one ( a few lines) so that you can make notes based on the title of the play,
Example 1 and/or 2 and/or 3 for each.

a) Clues which indicate the plot

b) Clues which suggest the play’s genre
c) Clues which suggest the play’s theme(s)
d) Clues which give you information on the characters who may feature
The play covers needed for this task feature on the next slide.

Play Covers: Predictive task

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Lesson 2