This GCSE English Literature quiz will test you on the context in JB Priestley's play An Inspector Calls.
The context of a text means the environment in which it was written. In a way, context is similar to setting, but applies to the real, rather than fictional, world. Context includes political events, both contemporary to the author and those of the recent past, social issues, geographical location and can even include the author’s personal beliefs.
Understanding the context of a fictional work is important because of the effects which this has on the meaning of text. The relationship is not straightforward, however.
History is in itself complicated and does not affect the text directly, working instead through the mind and prejudices of the author.
When writing about context, pay the closest attention to the text itself. What does it say about history, about politics, or about social issues? This is what is important. Finding out about context for yourself will help you better understand the text, or the points which the text makes. It’s important to remember that even the most political of texts are not actually manifestos and have more to tell us about the world and about ourselves.
Remember, too, to distinguish between the setting of the text and its context. Texts are very frequently set in eras and geographical locations which differ from their own context. Thinking about the relationship between setting and context will help you to understand the text more deeply.
Research the context of J.B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls, and remember what you have learned in lessons, and try these questions to see how much you know.
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