Sheila and Gerald celebrate their engagement with the Birling family with a family dinner.
Mr Birling makes a speech outlining his capitalists views on the advances in science, technological innovations and relationships between socialism and capitalism.
The evening is interrupted by the arrival of Inspector Goole making enquiries about the suicide of Eva Smith.
The Inspector shows a photograph of Eva to Mr Birling, who recognises her as an ex-employee at the factory. She was sacked for leading a strike for higher wages.
Sheila and Eric agree their father had acted harshly, while Gerald supports Mr Birling’s claim saying that he acted reasonably.
Sheila is later shown the photo of Eva and realises that she too had been responsible for another sacking of Eva driven by jealousy and her ill temper.
When Gerald learns the girl changed her name to Daisy Renton, his reaction shows that he had once known the girl too.
The Inspector suggests that many people share the responsibility for the misery, which prompted Eva Smith/Daisy Renton to end her life.
Plot Summary - Act 1
Plot Summary - Act 2
Gerald admits that he met Daisy Renton last year in spring & was was her for six months.
Sheila is hurt and angry at Gerald's involvement with the girl.
She also feels a certain admiration of his honesty and openness.
Mrs Birling tries to bully the Inspector and tries to control certain events.
Sheila realises that the Inspectors enquiries are well founded and that her mother might also had some dealing with the girl.
While Eric is out of the room, Mrs Birling is forced to admit that the girl asked for help of the charity she works for and she was deliberately refused.
It is revealed that the girl was pregnant, and Mrs Birling lays the blame for the girls death on the father of the unborn child.
There is suspicion that Eric might have been the father to the unborn child and as Mrs Birling begins to relate the facts Eva told her it becomes clear that Eric and the father are quite similar.
Sheila realises what is happening and tries to stop her mother as Mrs Birling begins to rant about how the father should be punished and made an example of.
Eric arrives home. He confesses that he got Eva pregnant and that he has stolen money from his father’s firm to support her.
Learning that the girl had appealed to his for help and been turned down, Eric blames her for the girls death.
Inspector makes a dramatic speech about the consequences of the sort of social responsibility that Mr Birling was preaching about in Act One.
The Inspector, having shown that each family member (including Gerald) had a part in ruining girls life and driving her to commit suicide, leaves.
Between them, Gerald and Mr Birling gradually prove that the man who had just visited him was not a real inspector.
A telephone call to the Chief Constable establishes that there is not Inspector Goole on the police force.
A call to the Infirmary confirms that there are no recent suicides.
Eric and Sheila continue to feel guilty about what they have done but the others now shrug of any guilt.
Mr Birling answers the telephone and is informed that “a young woman has just died on her way to the Infirmary and an Inspector is on his way to make some enquiries.
Plot Summary - Act 3
Inspector Goole (1)
Who is the Inspector?He introduces himself as Inspector Goole, a police Inspector, who has come to ask some questions about the death of Eva Smith.What does the Inspector do in the play?
He establishes a link between every single family member and Eva/Daisy. He reveals that each did something cruel or unkind to the dead girl which provided scope for her wanting to end her life. Catalyst for the revelations.
The Inspector takes control of the situation in a calm and collected manner - despite social differences, he is able to influence the family. Ignore capitalist/traditionalist views.
He leaves them after making a speech about social justice. This final speech is where J.B. Priestley really portrays his own opinion to the audience of 1945 (socialist).
Gives a second chance to both characters and audience. The end of the play gives the Birlings a chance to do it right this time; a message to the audience that it’s not too late to resolve mistakes.
Makes audience examine their conscience. Everyone is able to relate to an instance in which they did not treat another human as an equal; this is why the play is so effective.
Inspector Goole - Key Quotes (2)
"We hear a sharp ring of a front door bell. Birling stops to listen." - authority established before he enters. Dramatic, dangerous. Presence is felt.
Man of "massiveness, solidity and purposefulness" - The Inspector is an imposing figure; dominates the atmosphere. Solid; he is firm in his purpose, An opaque character.
"One person and one line of enquiry at a time. Otherwise there's a muddle" - Controlling, totally sure of his authority. "One" establishes that he works alone; he does not need anyone to tell him what to do. Omniscient.
"Burnt her inside out" - emotionally unattached, unfeeling. Professional, blunt and factual.
"Do you remember her, Mr Birling?" - omniscience. He knows the story; isn't looking for answers, but acceptance. He is accusatory; highlighting unjust, morally wrong actions.
"And why did you do that?" - simple, one syllable words make it seem blatant that the family is to blame. Makes it clear; unravelling secrets until everyone is bare.
The Final Speech from Inspector is very important as it provides J. B. Priestley's message clearly to the audience:
"One Eva Smith has gone - but there are millions and millions and millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths still left with us"
• "their hopes and fears, their suffering and chance of happiness," "the time will soon come when, if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught in fire and blood and anguish.”
Inspector Goole - Additional Notes
Priestley doesn't want society to revert back to 1912; through the Inspector, he highlights that we must take responsibilities for our actions and each other. SOCIALIST VIEWS
Priestley left the Inspector's character ambiguous to add tension and affect the audience.
Priestley uses the Inspector to display correct morals that everybody should hold, regardless of class. It shows how a working class Inspector can show better morals than the upper classes. going against all of society's perceptions.
Omnipotent character- he persuades everyone to reveal their secrets. He acts as a catalyst, linking the chain of events. He encourages them to acknowledge guilt & responsibility. Makes each character judge themselves in order for them to change their ways - he is the voice of social conscience.
Mr Birling (1)
Who is Mr Birling?Mr Birling is a successful businessman and factory owner. He is involved in local politics and previously stood as Lord Mayor of Brumley. He is very well respected and known in the local area. He is father to Sheila and Eric, husband to Mrs Birling and business rivals with Gerald's father.What does Mr Birling do?
Mr Birling hosts a dinner party at his house to celebrate Sheila's engagement to Gerald.
He is more interested in the business ventures provided by the marriage between his company and the company operated by Gerald's father.
He declares that a man's responsibility is to only protect himself and his family.
Two years previous to this night he sacked Eva from the factory which is said to have started the "chain of events" .
He tries to intimidate the Inspector, but also tries to protect himself & his family.
He becomes increasingly concerned about a possible public scandal around his family and doesn’t show any remorse for the events leading to Eva’s death .
Mr Birling - Key Quotes (2)
• "heavy-looking, rather pretentious man" - only intimidating in appearance? Internally weak. Only "heavy-looking"; he is "pretentious". The solidity is a facade.• "a hard-headed practical man of business" - doesn't let sentiment get in the way of whatever needs to be done to succeed. Ruthless; ethics and morals are nonexistent to him. Certain and direct tone - intimidating.• "Yes, my dear, I know - I'm talking too much." - he likes to air his views and is aware that he tends to monopolise the conversation, suggesting he is arrogant and self-preserving.• "Unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable" - in reference to the Titanic which was yet to make it's Maiden voyage. The audience knows the Titanic sank; the contrast between fact and belief makes him seem ridiculous and his views irrelevant. Naivety evident. (dramatic irony).• "I say there isn't a chance of war" - Mr Birling's views are again proved wrong. The play is set in 1912, just before the first world war. Just because Mr Birling is middle class and supposedly better opinionated, doesn't always make him right.
Mr Birling - Additional Notes
Priestley constructs this character to demonstrate his lack of morals and links this to stupidity. He makes the Inspector interrupt Mr Birling - highlighting that the Inspector (a socialist) deserves more importance than Mr Birling (a capitalist).Mr Birling is stopped in his tracks during a speech: "We hear the sharp ring of a front door bell". Priestley disagrees with Mr Birling's views and so cuts him off with the introduction of the Inspector; showing the audience that capitalism must be stopped. Mr Birling sees himself as an important man in Brumley and he uses his reputation to try and intimidate the inspector. He makes his views clear in in Act One and these do not change throughout the play. The information revealed by the Inspector should have be enough to shock anybody into changing the way they act in society, but not Mr Birling. This is a contrast with his children, demonstrating the younger generation of the time were prepared to change and learn from their mistakes. It also emphasises the lack of morality in capitalists; that, even after knowing their mistakes they have no intention of accepting them.
Mrs Birling (1)
Who is Mrs Birling?Mrs Birling is a prominent member of the Brumley Women's Charity Organisation. She is the wife to Mr Birling and mother to Sheila and Eric. She is described as her husbands social superior. She is a snob and very aware of the differences in social class. Like her husband, she refuses to believe that she did anything wrong and doesn't accept responsibility for her part in Eva's death. She is a traditionalist.What does Mrs Birling do?
Mrs Birling praises Gerald for his timing in presenting the ring for Sheila.
She treats the Inspector as an inferior.
She is disgusted when she learns Daisy Renton was Gerald's mistress.
She persuaded the Charity not to help the pregnant girl (abused her powerful social position).
She blames the girl's death on the father of the child and explains how he should be made an example of (not knowing that the father is Eric).
She claims she is the only who didn't "give in" to the Inspector.
Mrs Birling - Key Quotes (2)
"a rather cold woman" and "her husband's social superior" - Mrs Birling is not a friendly person and rarely shows any affection. Contradicts her own traditionalist views: where women should respect their husbands and be benevolent, she makes the social divide clear and seems heartless. The contradiction shows the stupidity in traditionalism.
"You're not the type - you don't get drunk" - she denies what she doesn't want to believe. Pretentious; proves that her arrogance is empty because, after seeing her son's mistakes, it is evident that there is no difference between classes. Everyone makes mistakes.
"She was claiming fine feelings[...] that were simply absurd for a girl in her position" - social divide is important to her. Claims that lower class women don't have feelings, and if they do they don't deserve to express them.
"as if a girl of that sort would never refuse money" - "that sort" - She is stereotypical and unsympathetic; sees Eva Smith as a liar and a criminal (traits she assumes all lower class citizens have). Sarcasm and prejudice present.
Mrs Birling - Additional Notes
• She doesn't take any responsibility no matter how clear the Inspector makes it that she played a key part in the death of Eva Smith. She wants to protect herself from any humiliation; she seems the least bothered by the Inspector's visit than anyone else.• Despite Mrs Birling's line of work (she is supposed to provide support for needy working class women), she lacks understanding of other classes.• She is unaffected by the Inspector's questioning; she pays the most attention when she learns of Eric's involvement with Eva.• She has almost no respect for the Inspector. She attempts to intimidate the Inspector - unsuccessfully - and force him to leave. Lies that she doesn't recognise the photograph to preserve herself and her false honour.• Having condemned Gerald's "disgusting affair", she forgets it once the threat of a public scandal has been removed. This shows how she is similar to her husband in that she is only concerned about the reputation of the family rather than the terrible reality of what has actually happened.
Sheila Birling (1)
Who is Sheila Birling?Sheila is the daughter of Mr and Mrs Birling and is engaged to Gerald Croft.What does Sheila do?
Sheila shows genuine emotion when she hears that a young woman has died.
She was responsible for making the girl lose her job in the dress store.
She realises the Inspector is not someone who can be lied to.
After hearing about his affair, she breaks off her engagement to Gerald.
She reveals that Eric drinks too much, helping the Inspector; she's the most influenced by the Inspector and is a support to his questioning.
She understands that the family's experience that night is meant to make them improve the way they treat others; Priestley uses her to set an example to the audience.
She changes and learns from her previous acts and begins to understand that her morals were corrupted. Sheila has done exactly what Priestley wants the audience to do.
Sheila Birling - Key quotes (2)
• "She was very pretty and looked as if she could take care of herself. I couldn't be sorry for her." - Defends herself after her confession. Highlights the views she was brought up with, but also marks the changing in her mindset; her capitalist views make her look for excuses but the oncoming socialist mindset leads her to petty reasons; that she wasn't to blame because Eva was pretty.• "You not only knew her but you knew her very well." - Perceptive; after her interrogation, she changes and in a sense adopts the Inspector's character. Knows that everyone is to blame; becomes perceptive and sees through her family's translucency.• "No, he's giving us the rope - so that we'll hang ourselves." - Sheila acknowledges the Inspector's omniscience. Realises everyone is to blame, and by not accepting the blame they are digging their own graves. Superior to her family in the sense that the knowledge has hit her; she knows that her family have done wrong.• "I couldn't possibly go. Nothing could be worse for me." - Although bitter about Gerald's relationship with Daisy Renton, her curiosity needs to be satisfied and she stays to hear the full story. The satisfaction of knowing what killed Eva is only surface-deep. In reality, she wants to assure herself that she isn't the only one to blame. She stays to hear everyone's story so that her own mistakes don't seem so bad to her.
Sheila Birling - Additional Notes (3)
Sheila has always got what she wanted from her parents -spoilt- because of the way she has been socialised, she can use her power and authority to perform negative acts.
She commits one of the seven deadly sins - Jealousy (religion is a significant part of traditionalism and by sinning she is contradicting her family's beliefs, rendering them meaningless).
Sheila is already aware of her actions and how they are wrong. She is willing to change her views but there is a sense of holding back throughout the play, like how she feels the need to share the blame. This is her internal conflict between the views she has been brought up with and the views she knows are right.
Priestley uses Sheila to show how the younger generation can change views & realise their mistakes. Doesn't want society to revert back to 1912; society after WW2 developed because the wars brought the country together. Priestley didn't want this to disintegrate after the wars had ended.
Eric Birling (1)
Who is Eric Birling?Eric is Sheila's brother. He is employed in his father's business, drinks more than is good for him and is the father of Eva's unborn child.What does Eric do?• Eric drinks too much at the family dinner. • He met Eva in the bar of the Palace Variety Theatre and got her pregnant. • He stole money from his father's firm to give to the girl.• He accuses his mother of killing her own unborn grandchild. • He accepts his guilt, whether the Inspector is a real police officer or not.
Eric Birling - Key Quotes (2)
"Well, don't do any. We'll drink their health and have done with it." - He is selfish and arrogant; orders his father in a childish way. He is uninterested and does not care to show anyone the courtesy to continue their speeches.
"Your trouble is - you've been spoilt" - Familial relationships with Eric are weak. He is disrespected and disregarded; no mutual respect between him and Birling because Birling insults him and blames Eric of taking advantage of his luxuries.
"You told her. Why, you little sneak!" - Eric is an immature and childish character. His language emphasises this; he results to insulting, highlighting his helplessness and true powerlessness. He is completely weak and insecure. "You": he finds others to blame because he can't deal with disrespect. He has the arrogance of a child; needs to find solace in blaming others to reduce the blame on himself.
"Half shy, half assertive" - neurotic and unstable character. "Half" shows that he doesn't know himself; he is unsure and confused about his own character, highlighting his immaturity and lack of self-understanding. The contrast between shy and assertive emphasises his confusion and uneasiness. He is nervous, guilty and full of secrets.
Eric Birling - Additional Notes (3)
He is weak-willed and looks for an easy way out of troubles - like when he leaves the house upon the Inspectors arrival. Guilty conscience, unable to handle responsibility of blame.
He sees his father as "not the kind of father a chap could go to when he's in trouble". He doesn't share his father's hard-headed attitude to business; the contrast between him and his family highlights his aloofness and detachment. Like Sheila, Eric believes that the family's experiences at the hands of the Inspector should make them improve their behaviour.
Priestley uses Eric, much like Sheila, to show how the younger and future generations are prepared to change their ways for the future of society. They have both learnt a lesson.
Gerald Croft (1)
Gerald Croft (1)
Who is Gerald Croft?Gerald is the son of a wealthy industrialist and business rival of Mr Birling. He has just engaged Sheila Birling. What Does Gerald Do?
Gerald gives Sheila an engagement ring during the dinner party.
He agrees with Mr Birling's speech.
He rescued Daisy Renton from the drunken Alderman Meggarty.
He kept Daisy as his mistress for six months, then broke off their relationship.
He finds out that the Inspector who questioned him does not exist.
He telephones the Infirmary and learns that no girl died that day.
He leaves just after his part in Eva's death is revealed and doesn't return until the end when it has all been uncovered about what happened.
Gerald Croft - Key Quotes (2)
"Easy,well-bred young man-about-town"-Gerald gets one easily with people; self-confident and assured. Demonstrates an upper class front. He expects to be respected by others around the local area. He has not achieved his status, proving that he is nothing but a "young man-about-town". Spoilt, indulgent and unjustly arrogant.
"My God! Sorry - I - well, I've suddenly realised - taken it in properly - that she's dead" - exclamation; realisation hits him and though he does not eventually end up taking responsibility he realises his mistakes. He shouts because he realises the extent of what has happened; the girl he was with on an intimate level is dead and gone due to him. Pauses show how he needs time to make sense of the situation.
"She was young and pretty and warm hearted - and intensely grateful" - "and": words spill out; he has so much to say about Eva because he was intimate with her. He knows her in a positive light, unlike Sheila, Mr & Mrs Birling. He knows her feelings and emotions. "intensely grateful" proves he also looks down on the lower class. He only knows how to give and help in terms of finance
"You're just the kind of son-in-law I always wanted" - he sees the engagement as bringing the two family businesses together. This shows the differences between how men and women felt in that time as it demonstrates how Sheila is looking forward to a loving relationship but the men are more concerned over possible business opportunities.
Gerald Croft - Additional Notes
Gerald is the only one who really seemed to genuinely care for Eva. Anyone else who was involved with Eva pushed her away in order to gain something for themselves.
Gerald didn't push Eva away; he saved her from the man in the Palace Variety Theatre. He made her live at Morgan Terrace because he felt truly sorry for her and wanted to help.
The fact that they ended up in a relationship shows that Gerald must have been a really good friend to Eva for them to become comfortable with each other. He is an example of the people in the higher class with respectable morals, who are held back by their own people and traditions.
This is why he appears to agree with both the Birlings and the Inspector; he doesn't want to go against his own class but he didn't want to turn away from his mistakes either.
He wanted to fit in with the Birlings to impress Arthur so that he could marry Sheila; their talks of business ventures proves this, where Mr Birling presents his ideas and Gerald simply agrees.
Priestley uses him as an example of the conflict society is faced with; his confusion mirrors the audience's in terms of what is right and what is expected of them.
Eva Smith/Daisy Renton (1) Who is Eva/Daisy?These are two names by which a girl who suffered at the hands of the Birling Family and Gerald was known. She was a factory worker at Birling & Co. and shop assistant before being fired by both. She was working class and faced prejudice from people of other classes. (i.e.: the Birlings) What happens to her? •Mr Birling sacked her from his factory for leading a strike over better pay.She was sacked from a dress shop after Sheila unjustly complained about her.She became Gerald's mistress.She impregnated by Eric Birling.She was refused help by the charity that Mrs Birling operated.She committed suicide by swallowing disinfectant as a result of the neglect she received.
Eva Smith/Daisy Renton (1)
"She'd had a lot to say -far too much- so she had to go"-She had spoken up for the other girls who were on strike and was showing leadership qualities against Mr Birling. Girls like Eva from the working class, in his opinion, shouldn't be confident and rebellious. Mr Birling felt threatened by the unexpected power that Eva had, leading to her being sacked.
"She was very pretty and looked as if she could take care of herself" - A strong character despite the prejudices that were against her. Sheila admits that she was pretty; her disguised compliment to Eva proves that the social divide was unnecessary. She was sturdy and stronger than Sheila, who, without her position in society would be powerless. Eva was wiser than her despite being of a lower class.
"Big dark eyes" - A mysterious character. No one cared to pay her attention until the interrogation; this is when the Birlings realise there is a lot more to her than being part of a lower class. "dark eyes" prove that she is knowledgable and, despite her position, is wiser than most higher class people.
"I insisted on giving her enough money to keep her going - until she refused to take any more" - shatters all stereotypes built by Mrs Birling. Despite being in need she did not take stolen money; she would rather suffer than have the guilt over her head. This is an action that induces humiliation for the upper class; despite being so low in social position her morals were higher than any of the Birlings.
Eva Smith - Key Quotes (2)
Eva Smith - Additional Notes
Eva Smith is a sort of "everyman". Her first name "Eva" is similar to the first woman of the world (Eve) and is therefore symbolic of all women. Her second name "Smith" is an extremely common surname. It comes from the word for a trade man. This shows that she is not an individual case, but rather an example of several other working class people who were terrorised by the carelessness of the higher classes. Eva is a silent, offstage character. In the play, she represents the silent, invisible and powerless members of society. She dominates the action of the play invisibly.
The inspector speaks for Eva and uses her as a symbol of the powerless working class to teach the Birlings about social responsibility and to make them realise their mistakes.
The inspector says there are "millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths still left" and their chances of happiness are "intertwined with our lives", making Eva Smith the central character.
The inspector tells the Birlings, and the audience, to behave responsibly towards other (Priestley's Message).
J.B Priestley uses her to make us think about our responsibility towards others.
There were expectations of Middle Class families in 1912:
Family members were expected to know their role and accept it - the parents were in charge of the family and children were obedient.
"Gender Roles" were well defined for the wealthy middle class
Men were expected to: work to support their family, protect women.
Women were expected to: marry into money so they didn't have to work, have children, be social, remain a housewife, obedient and quiet:
These expectations are broken in Act One:
Clear hierarchy in the family is destroyed when the Inspector arrives.
Without their parents' influence, Sheila and Eric can think and speak for themselves.
Eric says his mother doesn't "understand anything" and Mr Birling isn't "the kind of father a chap could go to" for help. Sheila & Eric refuse to "go on behaving just as we did". They slowly untangle themselves from their traditionalist views.
Key Themes - Family Life
Key Themes - Social Class
Class drives the plot and shapes the characters:
Priestley designed the characters to put across a message of social responsibility.
He challenges alternate views with his own, presenting socialism positively and capitalism/traditionalism negatively.
Priestley shows the upper classes as having a limited sense of social responsibility in order to break the divide.
Mrs Birling "doesn't recognise" Eva's photo. To her, Eva has no identity & doesn't deserve any.
Higher classes didn't question the unfair class system because it worked for them. They overlooked unpleasant issues like alcoholism and womanising because it didn't apply to them.
The Birling's think Class is all that matters: Birling's biggest concern over Eva's death is that he won't be awarded his knighthood because of the "public scandal".
Birling thinks that because he has had positions of authority he is more important.
Birling uses Gerald to promote his social class - he asks him to hint to his parents he's expecting a knighthood and is pleased his daughter's marrying into a higher class.
Key Themes - Young and Old
The Older Generation (traditionalists):
Priestley presents Arthur & Sybil as having traditional views
By questioning their old views, Priestley also questions their obsession with social class- suggesting the system is out of date and needs to be reformed.
The Younger Generation are Different
They're determined & motivated - Eva "had a lot to say". Her courage is why Birling sacked her.
Sheila and Eric are shown to be challenging the authority in society.Birling feels threatened and meekly warns them they'd "better keep quiet"
Because the younger generation learn their lesson,there's a chance for an equal and fairer society in the future
Key Themes - Men and Women
The Women & Men start out as stereotypes:Women - Supposedly obsessed with "pretty clothes", shopping and weddings (Sheilagazes adoringly at her ring). Sheila gets Eva sacked because of pride, vanity and jealousy. Men - Preoccupied with work and public affair. Gerald feels it's his duty to rescue Daisy from the womaniser in the Palace Variety Theatre. Gerald is allowed to sleep around before his marriage. Arthur says that even in his day they "broke out and had a bit of fun sometimes". The Young Women Challenge the Stereotypes:
Eva and Sheila try to rebel and break out of the roles they've been given
Instead of relying on a man to save her, Eva refuses to take Eric's stolen money
Sheila interrupts and challenges her family at different times; grows bolder
By the end:Birling, Gerald & Eric get weaker as Sheila gets stronger. Gerald's rejected by Sheila. Birling is
Key Themes - Judgement
The style is like a Morality Play
Morality plays were religious plays in the Middle Ages which taught people how to behave and warned them of sins
An Inspector Calls follows the same idea as it shows everyone's sins and gets them to confess and repent
It doesn't follow Christian ideas. Breaks traditionalism boundaries and introduces socialism.
There's something odd about the Inspector
His origin is unknown and he appears omniscient. They didn't tell him anything he didn't already know - a real inspector wouldn't have known that much
Priestley deliberately leaves questions unanswered as it increases the mystery of the play
Key Themes - Social Responsibility
Birling - thinks that community responsibility is nonsense. Interests of business are more important than worker's rights Mrs Birling - believes she has no responsibility towards the working class - her prejudices can't be changed because they are so ingrained Sheila - realises that getting Eva sacked out of spite was irresponsible - but she didn't do anything about it. The Inspector challenges her to improve her behaviour •Eric - realises too late that his selfish actions were responsible for ruining Eva's chances of improving her life. Final speech is clear and to the point. a summary of his lesson about responsibility Inspector wasn't trying to make the family feel guilty, but to make society aware of the difficulties faced by all the "millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths" All the events in An Inspector Calls are connected. Priestley's moral seems to be that "it doesn't take great people to change the world - we all change it every day just by the way we treat others"