This GCSE English Literature quiz takes a look at themes in An Inspector Calls by JB Priestley.
Theme in a work of literature is shown through multiple means. Often a theme is like a thread linking together dialogue, setting, characters and plot. Sometimes the theme will appear as a topic which arises several times during a novel or play. Perhaps it will be an issue which causes argument and disagreement among the characters. Sometimes a theme will be only subtly suggested through choice of vocabulary, as a collection of related words used by a particular character or in the narration.
Although theme is expressed through the text, it is not contained there. Theme is also how the author communicates with the reader, asking the reader to think about his or her own ideas and beliefs.
Readers engage with the text through reflecting on the themes, even subconsciously. If a text, or one of its characters, evokes an emotion, it is often through the author’s creation of psychological conflict in the exploration of a theme or themes.
An Inspector Calls deals with themes of class, social change, workers’ rights, responsibility, gender and generational differences. Each of the themes is interrelated, building a complex web of meaning in the play. For each character is defined by his or her class, attitude to society, belief (or not) in workers’ rights — and the ability to affect these, by gender and by age. Their differences appear in their conversations with each other and with the Inspector and also determine their openness to the truths about themselves and their behaviour exposed by his interrogation.
Read the questions below and test your knowledge of the themes of An Inspector Calls.