English / Shelia Birling

Shelia Birling

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Autor:  anton  02 July 2011
Tags:  Shelia,  Birling
Words: 569   |   Pages: 3
Views: 385

How does Priestly present Sheila Birling?

Sheila Birling is an extremely pretty and young upper class woman.

“A pretty girl in her early twenties, very pleased with life and rather excited.”

She is the daughter of successful business man Arthur Birling and is therefore very spoilt. She is a deeply emotional woman who is engaged to Gerald Croft.

At the start of the book Sheila is the perfect daddy’s little girl,

“Drink too mummy”

She is extremely polite to her parents and is extremely childlike. She is a spoilt young woman who is forced to be her parents little girl. She behaves accordingly like an upper class young woman at this time.

“is that the ring you wanted me to have”

She is ignored like a child and is very much second class towards men. Although there is a glimmer of rebellion.

“Last summer, when you never came near me.”

She has a suspicious attitude towards Gerald’s extended absence the previous summer, during which time she suspects he might have been having an affair. So there is an indication that she is living a lie and wants to break free. We can also see that she has an immensely bad temper,

“she has a bad temper”

Her brother warns us that she isn’t all perfect like her mother sees her. In addition she is a spiteful cow, who abuses her power.

“I told them I’d cancel are account if they didn’t get rid of her”

She gets Eva smith fired because she was jealous of her.

During the inspector’s interrogation and shortly after he leaves we begin to see a much different Sheila Birling. She is incredibly honest with her self and accepts her part in Eva’s death. She is horrified by her own part in Eva's story. She feels full of guilt for her jealous actions and blames herself as

"Really responsible."

As early as the first interrogation against Arthur we can see that she starting to change, she shows her compassion.

“But these girls aren't cheap labour - they're people.”

As soon as she hears of her father’s treatment of Eva Smith she speaks her mind and shows she is caring. After the inspector finishes with her she leaves the room, this shows us she has a conscience and her remorse is real. She is very perceptive. She realises that Gerald knew Daisy Renton from his reaction, the moment the Inspector mentioned her name. At the end of Act II, she is the first to realise Eric's part in the story. Significantly, she is the first to wonder who the Inspector really is, saying to him, 'wonderingly',

"I don't understand about you."

She warns the others

"he's giving us the rope - so that we'll hang ourselves"

Sheila yearns to know the truth

“I shall stay,”

She is curious. She genuinely wants to know about Gerald's part in the story. Finally she becomes an adult. When she realises that Gerald had an affair she is not angry. She does not lose her temper like she would have done before, she has become more mature. In the future I can see her becoming completely independent. Her relationship with her parents has been destroyed completely and her relationship with Gerald will have to be rebuilt.

“Quote about the ring”

Her whole character has changed for the better and she will live the rest of her life trying to atone for her part in Eva Smith’s death.

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