An Inspector Calls

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Eva Smith Symbol Analysis

Eva Smith Symbol Icon
The symbol of Eva Smith is the character that the Inspector constructs by explaining that she has changed her name multiple times, was injured by each of the Birlings in turn, and consequently commits suicide. In fact, the Inspector seems to have created her as an amalgam of several women, each of them separately harmed by the different Birlings. As a combination of many working class women affected by the Birlings, Eva Smith represents the working class, the Labor side of the Labor vs. Capital agitations, who get squashed by the powerful upper class, such as the Birlings.
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Eva Smith Symbol Timeline in An Inspector Calls

The timeline below shows where the symbol Eva Smith appears in An Inspector Calls. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 3
Wealth, Power, and Influence Theme Icon
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
Morality and Legality Theme Icon
...any more, and reminds the family that each member is responsible for the death of Eva Smith . He tells them to never forget it. Mr. Birling offers the Inspector a bribe... (full context)
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
Class Politics Theme Icon
Morality and Legality Theme Icon
The Inspector deduces a moral from the investigation—though Eva Smith has gone, there are millions and millions of Eva Smiths still alive, who have hopes... (full context)
Morality and Legality Theme Icon
Gerald proposes that the one fact that Eric and Sheila are assigning great significance—that Eva Smith is dead—may not even be a fact after all. He asks the Birlings how they... (full context)
Morality and Legality Theme Icon
...what happened after he’d left. Mrs. Birling recounts that the Inspector accused her of seeing Eva Smith only two weeks previous, and that she had assented even though the girl hadn’t called... (full context)