To what extent is Shelia Birling an important character in An Inspector Calls?

Watch
Hiya1350
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 4 years ago
#1
Priestley uses the character of Shelia Biring to present his socialist views and teach his readers the duty of responsibility, specifically social responsibility. He is keen to challenge the upper class (like the Birlings) and teach them that everyone can and should be treated equally which he demonstrates through Sheila's progress as the play develops. At first, Shelia is presented as being childish and infantilised by her parents. This can be seen when she says 'Yes, go on, mummy'. The noun 'mummy' has connotations of love, companionship and care but it also connotes a sense of immaturity and childishness. Priestley may therefore be suggesting that, despite Shelia's age, she is still naive and therefore unable to see or understand what is going on around with regards to the lower class. This is significant because the name 'Shelia' is derived from the name Cecilia which derives from the Latin word caceus, meaning blind. However, as the inspector is introduced, we see a change in Sheila which also reflects the change priestley wants in society. This can be seen when Shelia challenges her parents ideologies by staying 'but these girls aren't cheap labour - they're people' Here, through the use of the hyphen, Priestley forces the reader to pause as Shelia realises the value of human lives. She seems to be outraged by the fact her father considers women to be 'cheap labour' because, as a female herself, she feels antagonised by what she hears. Whilst on a literal level, the term 'cheap labour' may refer to the fact that lower class women (such as Eva) were often seen as cheap labour carrying out menial jobs such as cleaning and working in service, the term may also allude to the fact that women were seen as inferior to men as they had fewer rights. However, having said that, the fact that Priestley uses the word 'labour' may be significant as it could refer to the fact that, following the Second World War and during the year that the play was written, a Labour Government was voted into power and a time of great social change began. This, therefore, may be Priestley reinforcing his point that change is necessary and that it is essential for Britain to build a new, more equal society following the Second World War. The fact that Shelia stands up to her parents is also important. The play is set in 1912 and It was at this point in history that women were starting to want more equal rights with men and the suffragette movement was beginning. The suffragette movement was important as it gave women hope and allowed them the opportunity to voice their opinions and stand up for what they believed in. This is important because Priestley wanted to teach his readers that equality is important and that, irrespective of your gender, you are free to make decisions for yourself, without the fear of being coerced by the opposite sex into fulfilling their wishes instead of your own. Shelia also uses negative language to show how remorseful she feels after seeing the damage that her actions have caused. This can be seen in the stage direction 'miserably' Here, through the use of the adverb 'miserably' which has connotations of sorrow and pain, Priestley is able to convey Sheila's reaction vividly to the audience in the hope that others will learn a lesson of responsibility too. Also, the fact that she accepts responsibility is interesting as it is a very rare occurrence in an upper class society to accept responsibility but Shelia managed to set her prestige aide and accept that she has done wrong. Priestley wants his audience to take this lesson of responsibility on board with them. Overall, I believe that Shelia is an important character in the play as Priestley uses her to demonstrate that young people can learn the lesson of social responsibility. 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. He proved that there is hope for the future of society and that people can learn the need to look after others regardless of their class.

I'd appreciate it if someone could evaluate my essay and give me some areas to improve upon.
A few more points to include would be good too.
Many thanks!
0
reply
hanaxogrunge
Badges: 13
Rep:
?
#2
Report 4 years ago
#2
i'll read it and think of more as i did this last year.

but i do hope the editing on TSR got rid of them and you actually used paragraphs
0
reply
Ray_Shadows
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#3
Report 4 years ago
#3
i blame sheila for eva smith death , if she wan't such an uptight privileged stingy ***** then eva would still be alive
1
reply
hanaxogrunge
Badges: 13
Rep:
?
#4
Report 4 years ago
#4
Priestley uses the character of Shelia Birling to present his socialist views and teach his readers the duty of responsibility, specifically social responsibility. He is keen to challenge the upper class who have attitudes like the Birling family, and teach them that everyone can, and should be, treated equally, which he demonstrates through Sheila's change of perspective as the play develops. At first, Shelia is presented as being childish and infantilised by her parents. This can be seen when she says 'Yes, go on, mummy'. The noun 'mummy' has connotations of love, companionship and care, but it also connotes a sense of immaturity and childishness. Priestley may therefore be suggesting that, despite Shelia's age, she is still naive and therefore unable to see or understand what is going on around with regards to the lower class. This is significant because the name 'Shelia' is derived from the name Cecilia which derives from the Latin word caceus, meaning blind. However, as the inspector is introduced, we see a change in Sheila which couldalso reflects the change Priestley wants in society. This can be seen when Shelia challenges her parent’s ideologies by staying 'but these girls aren't cheap labour - they're people.' Here, by usingthe hyphen, Priestley forces the reader to pause as Shelia realises the value of human lives. She seems to be outraged by the fact her father considers women to be 'cheap labour' because, as a female herself, she feels antagonised by what she hears. Whilst on a literal level, the term 'cheap labour' may refer to the fact that lower class women (such as Eva) were often seen as cheap labour carrying out menial jobs such as cleaning and working in service, the term may also allude to the fact that women were viewed as inferior to men as they had fewer rights. (how is that relevant to Sheila? You’ve made a new point, introduce it rather than moving on) However, having said that, the fact that Priestley uses the word 'labour' may be significant as it could refer to the fact that, following the Second World War and during the year that the play was written, a Labour Government was voted into power and a time of great social change began. This, therefore, may be Priestley reinforcing his point that change is necessary and that it is essential for Britain to build a new, more equal society following the Second World War. The fact that Shelia stands up to her parents is also important. The play is set in 1912 and it was at this point in history that the suffragette movement was beginning and thus, the rise of Feminism. The suffragette movement was important as it gave women hope and allowed them the opportunity to voice their opinions and stand up for what they believed in. This is important because Priestley wanted to teach his readers that equality is important and that, irrespective of your gender, you are free to make decisions for yourself, without the fear of being coerced by the opposite sex into fulfilling their wishes instead of your own. Shelia also uses negative language to show how remorseful she feels after seeing the damage that her actions have caused. This can be seen in the stage direction 'miserably.' Here, by using the adverb 'miserably' which has connotations of sorrow and pain, Priestley can convey Sheila's reaction vividly to the audience in the hope that others will learn a lesson of responsibility too. Also, the fact that she accepts responsibility is interesting as it is a very rare occurrence in an upper-class society to accept responsibility but Shelia managed to set her prestige aide and accept that she has done wrong. Priestley wants his audience to take this lesson of responsibility on board with them. Overall, I believe that Shelia is an important character in the play as Priestley uses her to demonstrate that young people can learn the lesson of social responsibility. 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. He proved that there is hope for the future of society and that people can learn the need to look after others regardless of their class.

okay firstly, the grammar in this made me want to slam my head against a brick wall. please tell me it's down to not proof reading.
secondly, i think you're missing quite a few big points. Sheila Birling wasn't naive because of her parents, she was naive because of herself. she genuinely believe that she was inferior to a male. when she gets her engagment ring from Gerald she says 'is it the one you wanted me to have?' look at the italics. she doesn't have a choice, as was the culture she happily grew up with, with no disregards. on that topic, another thing you need to mention is her relationship with Gerald, her relationship with the Inspector and her relationship, in a lot more depth, with her parents. but you also need to look at the situation that happened with her and Eva/Daisy. break it down. whilst writing this essay, you can answer the question of 'how important is Sheila in the chain of events?' Because the main thing about this play is it's about the suicide of Eva. her role in that chain of events, getting her fired, lead to a lot of things. imagine in Sheila wasn't there. how different would the situation be?
another theme to look at is young/old. Sheila is the first, out of all of them, to take responsibility for her actions. why is that?

good luck. i'm happy to read it again for you. as long as there are paragraphs
1
reply
Hiya1350
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#5
Report Thread starter 4 years ago
#5
(Original post by hanaxogrunge)
Priestley uses the character of Shelia Birling to present his socialist views and teach his readers the duty of responsibility, specifically social responsibility. He is keen to challenge the upper class who have attitudes like the Birling family, and teach them that everyone can, and should be, treated equally, which he demonstrates through Sheila's change of perspective as the play develops.
At first, Shelia is presented as being childish and infantilised by her parents. This can be seen when she says 'Yes, go on, mummy'. The noun 'mummy' has connotations of love, companionship and care, but it also connotes a sense of immaturity and childishness. Priestley may therefore be suggesting that, despite Shelia's age, she is still naive and therefore unable to see or understand what is going on around with regards to the lower class. This is significant because the name 'Shelia' is derived from the name Cecilia which derives from the Latin word caceus, meaning blind.
However, as the inspector is introduced, we see a change in Sheila which couldalso reflects the change Priestley wants in society. This can be seen when Shelia challenges her parent’s ideologies by staying 'but these girls aren't cheap labour - they're people.' Here, by usingthe hyphen, Priestley forces the reader to pause as Shelia realises the value of human lives. She seems to be outraged by the fact her father considers women to be 'cheap labour' because, as a female herself, she feels antagonised by what she hears.
Whilst on a literal level, the term 'cheap labour' may refer to the fact that lower class women (such as Eva) were often seen as cheap labour carrying out menial jobs such as cleaning and working in service, the term may also allude to the fact that women were viewed as inferior to men as they had fewer rights. (how is that relevant to Sheila? You’ve made a new point, introduce it rather than moving on) However, having said that, the fact that Priestley uses the word 'labour' may be significant as it could refer to the fact that, following the Second World War and during the year that the play was written, a Labour Government was voted into power and a time of great social change began. This, therefore, may be Priestley reinforcing his point that change is necessary and that it is essential for Britain to build a new, more equal society following the Second World War.
The fact that Shelia stands up to her parents is also important. The play is set in 1912 and it was at this point in history that the suffragette movement was beginning and thus, the rise of Feminism. The suffragette movement was important as it gave women hope and allowed them the opportunity to voice their opinions and stand up for what they believed in. This is important because Priestley wanted to teach his readers that equality is important and that, irrespective of your gender, you are free to make decisions for yourself, without the fear of being coerced by the opposite sex into fulfilling their wishes instead of your own.
Shelia also uses negative language to show how remorseful she feels after seeing the damage that her actions have caused. This can be seen in the stage direction 'miserably.' Here, by using the adverb 'miserably' which has connotations of sorrow and pain, Priestley can convey Sheila's reaction vividly to the audience in the hope that others will learn a lesson of responsibility too. Also, the fact that she accepts responsibility is interesting as it is a very rare occurrence in an upper-class society to accept responsibility but Shelia managed to set her prestige aide and accept that she has done wrong. Priestley wants his audience to take this lesson of responsibility on board with them.
Overall, I believe that Shelia is an important character in the play as Priestley uses her to demonstrate that young people can learn the lesson of social responsibility. 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. He proved that there is hope for the future of society and that people can learn the need to look after others regardless of their class.

okay firstly, the grammar in this made me want to slam my head against a brick wall. please tell me it's down to not proof reading.
secondly, i think you're missing quite a few big points. Sheila Birling wasn't naive because of her parents, she was naive because of herself. she genuinely believe that she was inferior to a male. when she gets her engagment ring from Gerald she says 'is it the one you wanted me to have?' look at the italics. she doesn't have a choice, as was the culture she happily grew up with, with no disregards. on that topic, another thing you need to mention is her relationship with Gerald, her relationship with the Inspector and her relationship, in a lot more depth, with her parents. but you also need to look at the situation that happened with her and Eva/Daisy. break it down. whilst writing this essay, you can answer the question of 'how important is Sheila in the chain of events?' Because the main thing about this play is it's about the suicide of Eva. her role in that chain of events, getting her fired, lead to a lot of things. imagine in Sheila wasn't there. how different would the situation be?
another theme to look at is young/old. Sheila is the first, out of all of them, to take responsibility for her actions. why is that?

good luck. i'm happy to read it again for you. as long as there are paragraphs
Thank you for your advice,

Where do you suggest I add in the paragraph regarding the engagement ring? What sort of analysis can I make for it? Would it link to the fact that men were seen as superior to women?

I'm not sure why Shelia was the first to take responsibility for her actions ether.
0
reply
hanaxogrunge
Badges: 13
Rep:
?
#6
Report 4 years ago
#6
(Original post by Hiya1350)
Thank you for your advice,

Where do you suggest I add in the paragraph regarding the engagement ring? What sort of analysis can I make for it? Would it link to the fact that men were seen as superior to women?

I'm not sure why Shelia was the first to take responsibility for her actions ether.
i suggest you go back, break down all your points, make a plan, then rewrite your essay. you're doing exactly what i do and that is only giving the general gist and not going deep enough. i'll help you out if you like. break down all the points you want to put in your essay and i'll structure them for you.

Okay, so think about her age and how that links into it, think about her gender and think about how she is treated by her parents compared to her brother. although tbh he wasn't treated that great either. there were a lot of comparisons to Gerald which is why he drank a lot.
0
reply
Hiya1350
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#7
Report Thread starter 4 years ago
#7
(Original post by hanaxogrunge)
i suggest you go back, break down all your points, make a plan, then rewrite your essay. you're doing exactly what i do and that is only giving the general gist and not going deep enough. i'll help you out if you like. break down all the points you want to put in your essay and i'll structure them for you.

Okay, so think about her age and how that links into it, think about her gender and think about how she is treated by her parents compared to her brother. although tbh he wasn't treated that great either. there were a lot of comparisons to Gerald which is why he drank a lot.
How do you mean 'break them down'?

Thank you for your help!
0
reply
hanaxogrunge
Badges: 13
Rep:
?
#8
Report 4 years ago
#8
(Original post by Hiya1350)
How do you mean 'break them down'?

Thank you for your help!
like this:

Introduction - An introduction to Sheila as a character

Paragraph 1 - Beginning of the play, Sheila's naiveness, her comment about the engagment ring

Paragraph 2....

Do you get the gist? So I'm basically telling you to plan the essay cause it reads like a hot mess at the moment.
0
reply
Hiya1350
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#9
Report Thread starter 4 years ago
#9
(Original post by hanaxogrunge)
like this:

Introduction - An introduction to Sheila as a character

Paragraph 1 - Beginning of the play, Sheila's naiveness, her comment about the engagment ring

Paragraph 2....

Do you get the gist? So I'm basically telling you to plan the essay cause it reads like a hot mess at the moment.
Introduction - An introduction to Shelia as a character

Paragraph 1 - Beginning of the play, Sheila's naiveness/childishness

Paragraph 2 - Comment on engagement ring

Paragraph 3 - Inspector, challenges her parents 'but these girls aren't cheap labour - they're people' Perhaps another quote?

I'm not sure where to take it here, apart from a conclusion. However, I need to write 3 x A4 so I need some other ideas if that's ok.

Thank you!
0
reply
Hiya1350
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#10
Report Thread starter 4 years ago
#10
Does anyone have any other advice as to how I could improve it/and/or any example paragraphs?
0
reply
username3441700
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#11
Report 4 years ago
#11
(Original post by Ray_Shadows)
i blame sheila for eva smith death , if she wan't such an uptight privileged stingy ***** then eva would still be alive
Tbf they all contributed, if Mr Birling hadn't fired her, she wouldn't have ended up working at the dress shop or changing her name to daisy renton
1
reply
hanaxogrunge
Badges: 13
Rep:
?
#12
Report 4 years ago
#12
(Original post by Hiya1350)
Introduction - An introduction to Shelia as a character

Paragraph 1 - Beginning of the play, Sheila's naiveness/childishness

Paragraph 2 - Comment on engagement ring, her relationship with Gerald

Paragraph 3 - Her relationship with her parents and how she challenges her parents 'but these girls aren't cheap labour - they're people' Another quote from maybe the end of the play when she's trying to talk them over. She repeats the Inspectors words about fire and blood and anguish at one point. I can't remember the exact quote.

I'm not sure where to take it here, apart from a conclusion. However, I need to write 3 x A4 so I need some other ideas if that's ok.

Thank you!
3 x A4 pages is about 1000-1200 words depending on font size. I'd recommend re reading An Inspector Calls again before you write the essay and try to do without looking back. (I'm assuming your exam is closed book?)

The impression that the Inspector has on her
The theme of young vs old and how Sheila signifies that the younger generation are going to bring about change

Just some ideas I've thought of. I'm trying not to write your whole essay for you haha, but also help you. Do you want to PM me your email and you can send me the document as you work on it so that I can give you constructive criticism as you go along?
0
reply
Hiya1350
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#13
Report Thread starter 4 years ago
#13
(Original post by hanaxogrunge)
3 x A4 pages is about 1000-1200 words depending on font size. I'd recommend re reading An Inspector Calls again before you write the essay and try to do without looking back. (I'm assuming your exam is closed book?)

The impression that the Inspector has on her
The theme of young vs old and how Sheila signifies that the younger generation are going to bring about change

Just some ideas I've thought of. I'm trying not to write your whole essay for you haha, but also help you. Do you want to PM me your email and you can send me the document as you work on it so that I can give you constructive criticism as you go along?
It's ok, thank you for all your help though!
0
reply
hanaxogrunge
Badges: 13
Rep:
?
#14
Report 4 years ago
#14
(Original post by Hiya1350)
It's ok, thank you for all your help though!
you're welcome! i'm more than happy to read it again if you want at any point
0
reply
Hiya1350
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#15
Report Thread starter 4 years ago
#15
I'm really stuck as to what I can talk about her relationships with other characters (such as her parents and Gerald)

Can anyone give me any quotes or analysis as that would be much appreciated
0
reply
boujee
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#16
Report 4 years ago
#16
Sheila used to hold traditional views and listen to her parents. Now, she has socialist views and her own mind- she understand that Eva didn't have to die
0
reply
Hiya1350
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#17
Report Thread starter 4 years ago
#17
I'm going to add in these two paragraphs:

Furthermore, during being interviewed, Sheila is again seen to be deeply saddened and embarrassed by the problems her actions have caused. This can be seen when the stage directions explain how Sheila 'looks as though she's been crying' The verb 'crying' has connotations of being distressed,in pain or showing sorrow for the effects your actions have had. The fact that Sheila accepts the damaging consequences her actions have had shows that she has changed. Whilst before she used to hold traditional capitalist views and listen to her parents, she has become more independent as the post has developed and she now has socialist views and understands that Eva didn't have to die.

Finally, the fact that Sheila (despite being the second person interviewed by the inspector) is the first to accept responsibility is also significant. This is because it emphasises Priestley's overall purpose for writing the novel which is the lesson of social responsibility. Sheila is a representation to suggest that there is hope for the younger generation in the future because, much like Sheila, we can all learn the lesson of social responsibility too. Priestley aims to influence society and, by sending out his social message, he is able to do so and signify that, like Sheila, the younger generation are going to bring about change.
0
reply
math42
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#18
Report 4 years ago
#18
She's a VIP
She's all like "get this poor pretty ***** out of here"
Then she's all like "oh no ***** died i cri"
And finally "i get it now, we should be nice."
But Birling is like "lol nah was all a lie"
Then she's like "who cares still gotta be nice!!"
He's like "nah m8"
Then World War 2/the second inspector calls and they're screwed
0
reply
sagqueen2001
Badges: 7
Rep:
?
#19
Report 3 years ago
#19
Yes but she regrets it the most and Eva was treated worse by the men and Mrs Birling
0
reply
zoe2002
Badges: 16
Rep:
?
#20
Report 3 years ago
#20
what was the question for inspector calls in 2017 paper 2 english lit ? xoxo
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Have you made your mind up on your five uni choices?

Yes, and I've sent off my application! (236)
57.28%
I've made my choices but havent sent my application yet (53)
12.86%
I've got a good idea about the choices I want to make (46)
11.17%
I'm researching but still not sure which universities I want to apply to (36)
8.74%
I haven't started researching yet (23)
5.58%
Something else (let us know in the thread!) (18)
4.37%

Watched Threads

View All