English lit questionsWatch
How far do you agree with this statement?
taken from an edexcel igcse paper x
In Act One of J.B. Priestly’s well made play ‘An Inspector Calls’, Sheila Birling is presented as being “half playful, half serious”. “playful” gives the impression that Sheila is childish, to an extent. The juxtaposition of “playful” and “serious” imply that something is on Sheila’s mind, as she is using her playful personality to hide “serious” thoughts that may be going through her head. This gives her a sense of intelligence; she knows how to use her natural “playful” charm to conceive her thoughts about her husband-to-be Gerald. This is further reinforced by the fact that she says to Gerald that he “never came near” her for “all of last summer”, emphasising her intelligence as she can guess that Gerald has been up to something without telling her, or having any notion that he has been sleeping with someone. Overall, Priestly cleverly uses small details whilst describing Sheila to make her appear to be sharp and intelligent, so that the audience notice that she is a character to watch out for as she is clearly able to notice things that aren’t all that obvious to the other characters.