The Second World War Essay
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I chose to do the scene in which Mr. Birling sacks Eva Smith. It is set in August 1912, and written shortly after the Second World War, many things then were different to how they are now and people had different priorities. Their clothing has changed greatly over the last century. I chose to dress in what I thought would be suitable factory wear of the time and gave everything a cheaper look to it, plain white shirts and fading Grey skirts to give them impression of wearing and lifeless clothing.
They are also wearing plain but dirtied white aprons, which again look as if time has had its toll on them. Everything has a slightly cheap look to it as I thought that Mr. Birling was not the type of man to indulge his staff, either this or he wasn’t paying them enough to buy their own more expensive clothing for work. The idea of Mr. Birling cutting back on his staff is continued in the description of the room: Worn tables, overused machines, cheap peeling paint and unfinished worn-down flooring revealing only cold hard stone underneath.
However when it comes to Mr. Birling’s office, he has very fine dï¿½cor, elaborate furniture, carpeting in ornate designs, a typewriter ready to use positioned squarely on a large and expensive desk. He definitely prefers to spend money on himself rather than his employees and this makes him look selfish and self-centered. He is a harsh businessman that cares more about the business than the welfare of his employees. He regards his employees as inferior people that aren’t on the same social level as him and they are not as worthy as he is. I have made Mr. Birling seem selfish, harsh strict and a stern business man who thinks very highly of himself.
The play refers to Mr. Birling as a heavy looking portentous man in his middle fifties. He is provincial in his speech and has easy manners. In the script I have made him say the most as he comes across as someone that likes the sound of his or her own voice. At the beginning of the play he is very intent on giving advice to Eric and Gerald and giving speeches. Though he does come across as an authority figure he is proved wrong many times at the start of the play. (E.g. Titanic not sinking, World War never happening, and Russia always being behind hand.) “Just because the Kaiser gives a speech or to, or a few German officers have had too much to drink and begin talking nonsense, you’ll hear some people say that war’s inevitable. And to that I say-fiddlesticks!” Its quotes like these that make us admire Mr. Birling a lot less and we see him to be naive.
We can only judge what Eva Smith is like based on other peoples opinions, Mr. Birling sees her as a ringleader, Mrs. Birling sees her as common and unworthy of her committees time, Gerald sees her as a lonely girl relying on him for everything. Sheila and Eric see Eva as completely innocent and they all are the ones to blame, The inspector refers to her as if she has done nothing to merit the kind of treatment she had. I made Eva seem not so lively but with enough drive to ask for higher wages, I made it look as if it was less her fault for getting fired than it was the other workers fault.
This made her look more innocent and it made us see Mr. Birling as a cold old man. In the book we are given the impression that he doesn’t care about people when the inspector says, “Yes, she was in great agony. They did everything they could for her at the infirmary, but she died. Suicide, of course.” Mr. Birling only replies with, “(rather impatiently) Yes, yes. Horrid business. But I don’t understand why you should come here inspector-” He can’t accept the guilt or the blame, even at the end of the play he believes the inspector to be a fake and a phoney, he doesn’t seem to understand the moral of the story. Mr. Birling is ironic in the way that he claims and acts like he is the cleverest and the “the famous generation who know it all.” are inferior. Ironically it is them that have got it right and have learnt from the ordeal and they are the better people.