An economic system in which the trade industry is privately owned. Owners control the production and distribution of goods for gross profit margins.
__Birling: __‘working together- for lower costs and higher prices’ (Act One)
__Birling: __‘a man has to mind how own business and look after himself and his own’ (Act One)
__Birling: __‘Well it’s my duty to keep labour costs down.’ (Act One)
__Birling: __‘We employers at last are coming together to see that our interests – and the interests of the capital- are properly protected. (Act One)
__Birling: __‘we let them all come back – at the old rates – except the four or five ring-leaders’. (Act One)
__Eric: __‘We try for the highest possible prices’ (Act One)
Under the Capitalist regime and the class system, people lower down in the chain of hierarchy were considered expendable. They were disregarded and used for what they could produce or offer:
__Birling: __‘If you don’t come down sharply on some of these people, they’d soon be asking for the earth.’ (Act One)
__Sheila: __‘But these girls are cheap labour – they’re people’ (Act One)
__Inspector: __‘you used the power you had… to punish the girl. (Act One)
__Gerald: __‘I didn’t install her there so that I could make love to her.’ (Act Two)
__Gerald: __‘I didn’t feel about her as she felt about me.’ (Act Two)
__Mrs Birling: __‘I used my influence to have it refused’ (Act Two)
__Eric: __‘I was in that state when a chap easily turns nasty- and I threatened to make a row. (Act Three)
__Eric: __‘I wasn’t in love with her or anything’ (Act Three)
Shared responsibility means that everyone should look out for the interests of others. It is our duty to be concerned for other members of mankind, regardless of their social standing and ability.
__Birling: __‘you’d think everybody has to look after everybody else, as if we were all mixed up together like bees in a hive. (Act One)
__Birling: __‘Community and all that nonsense. (Act One)
__Birling: __‘Still, I can’t accept any responsibility.’ (Act One)
__Birling: __‘If we were all responsible for everything that happened to everybody… it would be very awkward’ (Act One)
__Birling: __‘He’s admitted he was responsible for the girl’s condition… he stole from the office.’ (Act Three)
__Inspector: __‘You’ll be able to divide the responsibility between you when I’ve gone. (Act Three)
__Inspector: __‘We are all responsible for each other.’ (Act Three)
- Which characters accept responsibility for their actions?
- Your answer should include: Sheila / Gerald / Eric
Once someone realises that their attitude and behaviour is not morally acceptable, they should stop being ignorant. Change is necessary in each generation, as society and technology develop.
__Sheila: __I felt rotten about it at the time and now I feel a lot worse. (Act One)
__Inspector: __‘She’ll feel she’s entirely to blames, she’ll be alone with her responsibility, the rest of tonight.’ (Act Two)
__Mrs Birling: __‘Go and look for the father of the child. It’s his responsibility. (Act Two)
__Sheila: __‘The point is, you don’t seem to have learnt anything.’ (Act Three)
__Eric: __‘You’re beginning to pretend now that nothing’s really happened at all.’ (Act Three)
__Eric: __‘the girl’s dead and we all helped to kill her- and that’s what matters-’ (Act Three)
- Which characters do not change their attitude throughout the play?
- Your answer should include: Mr Birling / Mrs Birling
An economic theory that advocates the social organisation of production and distribution of goods. A socialist system expects that workers are paid in line with their economic contribution. A welfare state, would mean that all people would benefit from social care and support regardless of their social status.
__Birling: __‘cranks talk and write now… community and all that nonsense.’ (Act One)
__Eric: __‘cranks who tell us that everybody has to look after everybody else’ (Act Three)
__Inspector: __‘there are millions and millions and millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths still left with us. (Act Three)
__Inspector: __‘All intertwined with our lives.’ (Act Three)
__Inspector: __‘We are all members of one body.’ (Act Three)
__Inspector: __‘We are all responsible for each other.’
__Eric: __‘It’s what happened to the girl and what we all did to her that matters.’
- How does Mr Birling feel about socialism?