I am currently revising for my year 11 mocks and i have practiced writing an inspector calls essay. It would be really helpful if anyone could give me a mark on this and any tips for improvement. Thanks very much!
Why is Sheila important in the play
Sheila is shown to be an important character throughout the play in the three main areas, her connection with Eva, her relationship with Gerald and finally, her position in society and her change due to The Inspectors visit.
Firstly, her connection with Eva showed her importance in the play as her part in the chain of events represents her as being inconsiderate towards the lower class, which leads to Eva’s death. In the result of Sheila being in a bad mood, she complained to the manager at Millwards about Eva, who was working there at the time. Sheila abused her quality of a good worker because she was jealous of Eva Smith, who did very little wrong. This suggests how Sheila was selfish and didn’t think twice of the consequences of this for Eva, which shows the ignorance of the upper classes towards the lower classes in the Edwardian era. This lead to Eva having no reference, so she was unable to get another job and in the at this time there were no benefits so Eva was left without much money to even eat, therefore she was forced into changing her name and becoming a prostitute. However, Sheila was ignorant to this which may be because she was protected by her farther from knowing any cruel events occurring in life, because she is a woman, so didn’t consider what could happen to Eva when she complained, she only thought about her own feelings in this situation which many upper classes were guilty of especially towards the lower classes in these times.
In addition, her relationship with Gerald also shows her importance to the play, as she represents many upper class women in 1912. Initially, the relationship between the pair is portrayed as loving and they seem, to the audience, to be happily celebrating their engagement. Although, cracks become visible when last summer was mentioned, ‘except for last summer when you never came near me.’ This conversation in act one foreshadows to the audience that their relationship might not be perfect. Furthermore, Gerald Croft is represented to be very dominant over Sheila in their relationship, for example when she is given the engagement ring she asks Gerald, ‘is it the one you wanted me to have?’ this highlights how he has control and she lets this happen. This is a representation of the patriarchal society in the Edwardian era as the man is superior to the woman, like in Gerald and Sheila’s relationship, therefore Sheila’s importance is emphasized by this as she is a symbol of the current society. Their relationship finally disintegrates when Gerald admits to his connection with Eva Smith, this reveals that their relationship is built on lies. Their unstable relationship could be due to their engagement being more forced than for love. In the Edwardian era you were expected to marry into someone of a higher class than you, the Crofts are higher than the Birling’s therefore, Sheila is marrying Gerald in order to climb the social ladder. This could suggest why their relationship isn’t so strong and the audience may question if they really do love each other or it is just a plea for higher class. The consequence of this is their relationship together breaking mainly due to Gerald’s involvement with Eva.
Finally, Sheila’s significance continues by her position in society and her change throughout the play. Sheila represents a higher class woman who has been protected, by men, from the harshness of reality, this leads her to become ignorant to what was happening to the lower classes in the 1940's. She is shown to be slightly different to the older members of the family as she initially feels sympathy for Eva, she asks questions and seems to generally care. Moreover, she also admits she instantly ‘felt rotten’ about her involvement with Eva which highlights that she is taking responsibility for what she did and accepts this. Her reaction contrasts with her parents, as they are portrayed as being very stubborn and determined that what they did was the right thing to do and won’t accept they were in the wrong. Sheila is a symbol of one of the main themes in the play, the difference between the old and young generations. Priestly believed that the young have potential to change and produce a better society where everyone cared for each other no matter what class and didn’t act selfishly towards others. This was the inspectors message throughout the play who acted as a mouthpiece for Priestley’s socialist views. The consequence of Sheila’s social class is her actions towards Eva, as she is upper class she is naive to what may have happened to Eva therefore didn’t consider this.
In conclusion, Sheila Birling is shown to be very important in the play, her main importance in the play is her involvement with Eva Smith as this is a representation of how the upper class where treating the lower classes and how they were ignorant to the consequences of this, which escalates Eva’s whole story and leads to her suicide. Priestly uses this to express his socialist views and the main themes of, ‘An Inspector Calls,’ therefore I think this comes out as the most significant of Sheila’s importance.
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- 14-11-2016 18:34