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An Inspector Calls - Context
Mr Birling thinks the Titanic is unsinkable... little does he know!

An Inspector Calls - Context

This Literature quiz is called 'An Inspector Calls - Context' and it has been written by teachers to help you if you are studying the subject at high school. Playing educational quizzes is a user-friendly way to learn if you are in the 9th or 10th grade - aged 14 to 16.

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This high school English Literature quiz will test you on the context in JB Priestley's play An Inspector Calls.

Mr Birling describes the Titanic as "unsinkable". This is an example of...
dramatic irony
poor research
The audience knows what Mr Birling does not know about the fate of the Titanic
How does class and gender affect Mrs Birling and Sheila?
Because of their class and gender, they are guaranteed a comfortable, happy life
Their best option as upper-class women is to marry well
They have all the advantages of men of their class
They are not affected by class and gender
Mrs Birling does not appear to be a happy woman and Sheila is clearly aware of her dependence on Gerald's affection. Suspicious of Gerald's absences during the previous summer, all Sheila can do is to tease rather than confront him
How does war affect our understanding of the play?
The characters of the play are unaware of impending war, while the audience is conscious of having recently survived war
The audience is unaware of impending war, while the characters are conscious of having recently survived war
The characters are aware that war is coming. This awareness affects their behavior, encouraging them to think about responsibility
None of the characters in the play are aware of impending war, meaning that war has no effect on our understanding of the play
Mr Birling's optimism is misplaced, since the country will soon be embroiled in war. Priestley, however, was optimistic for the future after the defeat of fascism in WWII
What was the result of the first General Election following WWII?
A Labor landslide
A Conservative landslide
A narrow Labor victory
A narrow Conservative victory
The Labor Party won a landslide victory in 1945
Which of the following statements is true?
Class was not an important concern during the time the play is set
People were focussed on rebuilding Britain after WWII and had no time to be concerned with social change
Class distinctions were reinforced by the end of the Second World War
The rigid class distinctions of the play's setting were being strongly challenged during and immediately following WWII
The play reminds its post-WWII audience of the terrible consequences of a social system in which individual members of the working class are considered disposable
With regard to women, what was one of the biggest changes between the time the play is set and the time it was first performed?
Women began to be able to hold jobs. They had never worked before the Second World War
Women gained the right to vote
Women began to be able to run businesses of their own. They had never been able to own businesses before the Second World War
All of the above
Because class and gender are intertwined, it is important to distinguish between the experiences of wealthy women such as Mrs Birling and Sheila and poor working class women such as Eva Smith, who had to have paid work to survive
What is the context for Mr Birling's complaint about "cranks" who write about community and collectivity?
The rise of socialism
The Russian Revolutions
Labor unrest and the rise of labor unions
All of the above
The 1910s were a time of deep unrest in Great Britain and across Europe. Much of this unrest was a response to inequitable social and working conditions. The play is set in the years following the Russian Revolution of 1905 and preceding that of 1917
An Inspector Calls was first performed...
during the Great War (WWI)
before the First World War
before the Second World War
after the Second World War
The play is set in 1912, but was first performed after the end of WWII
J. B. Priestley was a supporter of which political philosophy?
J. B. Priestley was apolitical
Priestley was a strong supporter for the creation of a welfare state in Britain
Which of the characters would have most benefitted from a welfare state, if it had existed during the time the play was set?
Mr Birling
Eva Smith
Eva Smith's troubles were caused by the behavior of individuals, including each member of the Birling family. Their consciences do not provide her with any protection, however. Better labor laws would have protected Eva from unfair dismissal and a welfare state could have prevented her from being exploited for sex by the two upper-class men
Author:  Sheri Smith

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