ohn Boynton Priestley was born in 1894 and died in 1984. He was famous for contemplating science and philosophy, and wrote many plays to put forward his socialist views. An Inspector Calls was one of these, and is about a wealthy upper-middle class family, the Birlings, and how their views on living change as a result of a visit from an inspector. The main characters are the Birlings, Inspector Goole and Eva Smith. Arthur Birling is a successful businessman; his wife, Sybil, is very pretentious; and their rather peculiar son, Eric, is an alcoholic. Ericâ€™s sister, Sheila, has recently engaged to Gerald Croft, a gentleman of a slightly higher social class than the Birlings â€“ Mr. Birling feels a little inferior because of this. We do not know a lot about the Inspector â€“ he is given an air of mystery and importance â€“ but it is possible that he could be an apparition of some kind or perhaps a figure to represent Priestleyâ€™s own views. Eva Smith is an absent character who nevertheless plays a huge part in the storyline. The play takes place solely in the dining room of the Birlingsâ€™ house, which is â€œheavily comfortable but not homelikeâ€. This unified setting is beneficial in many ways. One thing is that it lowers the costs and requirements of the production of the play, meaning that it can be performed in a wider variety of settings and therefore be shown to more people. In addition, the audience will focus on the actors and the plot rather than the set so much if it does not keep changing, which helps retain attention to the play. The play begins as Gerald Croft and the Birlings are celebrating as a family Sheila Birling and Geraldâ€™s engagement, when the evening is interrupted by the arrival of Inspector Goole. The Inspector tells them the story of the tragic suicide of a young girl, whose name is Eva Smith, but she calls herself Daisy Renton after Mr. Birling sacks her, as an attempt to make a fresh start. He forces them to see how each of the people present contributed to her taking her own life by swallowing disinfectant. Gradually, he picks away at the protective, self-satisfied shell that the Birlings have built up around themselves, and eventually manages to pull apart the whole sense of the family. He then exits, leaving them to blame each other and argue amongst themselves. The play was written in 1945 but is set in 1912. I think this is to emphasise the point that rich people are not always right, as Mr. Birling in particular makes several predictions that we, as the audience, know to be incorrect. For example, he says, â€œYouâ€™ll hear some people say that warâ€™s inevitable. And to that I say â€“ fiddlesticks!â€ and â€œThere isnâ€™t a chance of war.â€ However, we know that two years later, WWI began. He speculates about Sheila and Geraldâ€™s future â€“ â€œIn twenty or thirty yearsâ€™ time â€“ letâ€™s say, in 1940 â€“ you may be giving a little party like this â€“ your son or daughter might be getting engaged â€“ and I tell you, by that time youâ€™ll be living in a world thatâ€™ll have forgotten all these silly war scares.â€ This is ironic because in fact in 1940 WWII took place. He also makes predictions about labour struggles when he says, â€œâ€¦thereâ€™s a lot of wild talk about possible labour trouble in the near future. Donâ€™t worry. Weâ€™ve passed the worst of it,â€ and the Titanic, as he says, â€œUnsinkable, absolutely unsinkableâ€, both of which we know are wrong. Mr. Birling is confident about all of these predictions, but we know how wrong he is. This is an example of dramatic irony, and I think J.B. Priestley used it to great effect in portraying Mr. Birling as someone who is entirely ignorant about what the future holds, though the other characters are unaware of this. In Act One, the family is celebrating the engagement of Sheila and Gerald. Sheila is presented as excitable and eager to please her family and Gerald: after she has received her ring she says, â€œ(excited) Oh â€“ itâ€™s wonderful! Look â€“ Mummy â€“ isnâ€™t it a beauty? Oh â€“ darling â€“ (She kisses Gerald hastily.)â€ She is also rather materialistic, as the stage directions, â€œ(still admiring her ring)â€ imply, though she still shows empathy and compassion towards Eva â€“ â€œSHEILA: (Rather distressed) Sorry! Itâ€™s just that I canâ€™t help thinking about that girl â€“ destroying herself so horriblyâ€.Â She plays up to Gerald, saying, â€œOh â€“ is it the one you wanted me to have?â€ and I think this suggests that she wants to keep on everyoneâ€™s good side, and avoid any conflict. She behaves in the same way to her parents, meekly saying, â€œIâ€™m sorry, Daddy. Actually I was listening.â€
Creation Versus Evolution
â€œCreation Versus Evolution.â€ Whatâ€™s wrong with this title? Read it to yourself a few times, and then answer that question.
Weâ€™ve all heard of the argument. Creationism, the idea that God created all the species as they appear today, versus Evolutionism, the idea that all life evolved from simple bacteria to all the species that appear today, is a familiar controversy. Ever since Darwin first published the Theory of Evolution in his controversial 1859 book The Origin of Species, the debate has raged between religion and science.
But this debate is something that has always puzzled me. From the time I first understood what the Theory of Evolution was really saying, I found it difficult to reject. Scientifically, every shred of evidence in biology and genetics I have ever seen points to it, directly or indirectly. And religiously â€“ Evolutionism does not contradict Creationism.
Evolution is based on two underlying principles that themselves are not at all controversial: heredity and natural selection. Heredity is the principle that organisms pass on different combinations of their traits to their offspring. If an organism has strong traits that help it to survive, then its offspring are likely to possess some of those same strong traits and themselves be more likely to survive. The second principle is natural selection, better known as â€œsurvival of the fittest.â€ According to natural selection, the organisms with strong, â€œfitâ€ traits are more likely to survive long enough to reproduce than are the organisms with weak, â€œunfitâ€ traits; thus over time, the strong organisms (as a species, or subspecies) will survive and the weak ones will die out. In this way, only the strong traits that help organisms to survive will be preserved over long periods of time. For instance, all the long-necked giraffes that were able to reach food in tall trees were able to survive, while all the short-necked ones werenâ€™t able to compete and died out.
These two principles, taken alone, are not controversial. Most people seem to intuitively accept them as being true, because they make so much sense and because there is so much scientific evidence to back them up. However, when they are combined together in the Theory of Evolution, something happens. The assertion is made that, over time, species engaging in natural selection and passing on thei...
...y displaces or precludes that same faith.
To react with such fear and narrow-mindedness to this â€œnew-fangledâ€ idea of Evolution, then, belies a fundamental problem with the Anti-Evolution Creationist viewpoint. These Creationists react with fear to this different way of thinking about the origin of life not because this different way is wrong, but because these Creationists are afraid that they are wrong in their beliefs. Secure Creationists who are confident in their faith have no reason to feel at all threatened by the Theory of Evolution; they are free to embrace it as just another argument for their faith. I believe that it is only the insecure Creationists who are Anti-Evolutionists, because on some level they realize that their faith is weak â€“ that maybe their narrow view of things isnâ€™t the only â€œright wayâ€ to look at the world.
But, as Comedian Dennis Miller (and any scientist concerned with the truth) would say, â€œThatâ€™s just my opinion. I could be wrong.â€
Kimballâ€™s (1983) Biology, 5th edition
Green, Joel B., & Longman, Tremper (Eds.). (1996). Holy Bible -- The Everday Study Edition. Dallas: Word Publishing.
IUK Correspondent, April 29, 1996
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.