MYTUTOR SUBJECT ANSWERS

220 views

What is the significance of Eva Smith's name in 'An Inspector Calls'?

As is often the case in tackling English questions, there is no right or wrong answer, the key is in choosing a few strong ideas which you can support with evidence from the text and which you can communicate clearly. Always remember, for most students the approach of writing a lot about a little, not a little about a lot, is most successful, because it enables you to show the full scope of your skills to the examiner instead of skipping from one idea to the next. 

Successful ideas may include: The name Eva comes from the root of the name Eve,  often associated with the Eve of the Garden of Eden who is believed by many to be the first ever female. Therefore, perhaps Eva Smith may be intended as a character representative of womankind as a whole and of how they were treated during the early 20th century. This can be supported by Eva's protests that she (and the other striking factory girls) would not be treated so poorly, or paid so poorly, if they were men. 

The name Eva also means 'life giving' or 'living', which is ironic within the context of the play, since 'An Inspector Calls' centres around the investigation into her death. At this point you may want to reflect on John Priestly's use of irony throughout the play, alongside the use of opposites. Perhaps you could mention the way that the Birlings' ideas of responsibility are opposite of the truth, so Eva can be seen as 'life giving' in the way that she brings people to the truth. Beware of the potential to go off on a tangent here though, the examiners want you to answer the question set!

On the other hand, you could also respond to Eva's surname - Smith - which is particularly common. The name Smith may remind the audience of the placeholder name John Smith, who is representative of mankind as a whole. Thus, Eva Smith can equally be seen to be a generic character who is not to be understood as merely an indivual but as a figure present in all cultures and societies. 

Of course the potential answers to this question are not limited to those given above and I'd certainly be interested in hearing your responses and ideas. The key to success is conveying your ideas eloquently and supporting what you are saying. Remember: PEEL!

Evelyn H. A Level English Literature tutor, GCSE English Literature t...

3 months ago

Answered by Evelyn, a GCSE English Literature tutor with MyTutor

Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist

132 SUBJECT SPECIALISTS

£18 /hr

Annie G.

Degree: Social Anthropology (Masters) - Edinburgh University

Subjects offered: English Literature, Religious Studies+ 1 more

English Literature
Religious Studies
History

“About me: I am a Social Anthropology Student at Edinburgh University. This means I study people in their social environments- literature, life rituals and the important concept of history, as well as the way that we all act in relatio...”

£20 /hr

Anna F.

Degree: English Literature (Bachelors) - Glasgow University

Subjects offered: English Literature, English

English Literature
English

“Experience working with international students and adults, improving their written and spoken English skills, has greatly enhanced my skills of explanation”

£18 /hr

Luthien C.

Degree: Applied Human Rights (Masters) - York University

Subjects offered: English Literature, History+ 1 more

English Literature
History
German

“About me: Hi! My name is Luthien and I am currently working towards a Masters degree in Applied Human Rights at the University of York. I have a Bachelors degree in History and German from the University of Durham (First Class Honours...”

About the author

£18 /hr

Evelyn H.

Degree: English (Bachelors) - Southampton University

Subjects offered: English Literature, History+ 1 more

English Literature
History
English

“A Bit About Me I am an English student at Southampton University whose main interests include late-Victorian fiction, contemporary women's poetry and dystopian fiction (although I love anything and everything really!). I have been an ...”

You may also like...

Posts by Evelyn

What are the main themes in King Lear?

What is differentiation and why is it useful?

What is the method used for differentiation?

What is the significance of Eva Smith's name in 'An Inspector Calls'?

Other GCSE English Literature questions

Writing a perfect essay question.

What is hyperbole?

How do I plan for essays in an exam?

How do I analyse 'character' in my exam?

View GCSE English Literature tutors

Cookies:

We use cookies to improve our service. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss

mtw:mercury1:status:ok