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    I have written an essay on Mrs Birling from the book An Inspector Calls, could someone please mark the essay and tell me any improvements I could make. Thank you.


    Sybil Birling seems to regard everyone as beneath her which may because of her social superiority; this is supported by ‘I’m Mrs Birling, y’know’, Priestley’s character of Mrs Birling is therefore central to the play due to their representation of the upper class and is symbolic of the social elite in the Edwardian society. Her character is combined with Mr Birling to emphasises the idea of the older generation being stubborn and not easily impressionable like the young as we can see in the characters of Eric and Sheila.
    During her introduction in act 1, structurally Priestley introduces Mrs Birling’s home as ‘not cosy and homelike’ which suggests her priority is to be influential, patronising to any lower class person who would feel intimidated by this scene and how capitalist ideas are a huge them in this play. This introduction is effective in showing Priestley’s purpose of showing how social class was the main focus in the Edwardian times and comfort and love came very far below it. As well as this she is explained as being ‘a rather cold woman and her husband’s social superior in the stage directions. The use of the adverb ‘rather’ effectively explains how Sheila is a difficult person to describe and can be very complicated at the start; it also foreshadows her lack of change later in the play in comparison to Sheila who has a very drastic change. The use of the sibilance in ‘social superior’ emphasises how she has a very powerful position in the Birling house hold due to her background, this is supported by the use of exclamative when she calls the family when saying ‘Arthur!’, ‘Sheila!’ and ‘Eric!?’ as well as when speaking to Edna she explains how she will ‘ring… when we want coffee’ this shows the lack of respect and care she has for people who work for her and the dominance she has over them. It gives a sense of dehumanisation due to the use of the verb ‘ to ring’, because it has connotations of a very practical action with no thought or care to the effort the person is putting in for her. As well as this we can see that Sybil is never spoken back or argued with as we can see from when she asks the Inspector to ‘please don’t contradict me like that’. This suggests that she is used to having her opinions accepted which we know would be expected at this time in the Edwardian era as she is from a higher class family than her husband so is socially superior as Priestley described her in the stage directions.
    As well as this Sybil seems to be ignorant of less fortunate people who are struggling without the Welfare state which the audience know through dramatic irony will come a lot later through the lead of the Labour party. Her myopic view of everything around her seems to stop her from understanding what Eva’s going through and create a sense of separation between the almost like what Sheila describes as how they ‘mustn’t try to build up a kind of wall’. This metaphor is effective is powerful in explaining how the social classes are creating a type of physical barrier that only the younger generation like Sheila can see; this emphasises how the younger generation can only see the class separation therefore foreshadowing that the younger generation are more impressionable unlike Sybil and Mr Birling, the older generation who stick to their ways. This is also enforced by the stage directions that describe her as speaking ‘bitterly’ and ‘triumphantly’. The use of these adverbs are effective n showing her self-centred manner which is Priestley’s way of implying the older generation higher class capitalist people are not very impressionable compared to the longer generation who can be so he is saying that the Elizabethan people should be teaching the younger generation as they can be changed to socialists to make society a better place. We also know that Priestley makes Sybil be selfish in this way to emphasis the message through how she acts towards Eva. During the time when Eva visited Sybil’s Brumley women’s charity organisation, Sybil begins to judge Eva on her class as she is pregnant without a husband and explains how her situation was ‘gross impertinence- quite deliberate- and naturally that was one of the things that prejudiced me against the case’. Sybil’s use of the phrase ‘quite deliberate’ is effective in explaining how it wasn’t actually her fault and the use of dramatic irony is effective as audience know her situation wasn’t delibrate at all and that her class is not her fault and Sybil made the decision because of how she looked which shows the prejudice at the time in the Edwardian period. We also know she used her class to her advantage when she explained how she was the ‘most prominent member of the committee’; the use of this effective in showing how she feels like she stands out and is the centre of attention and only focus rather than Eva who should actually be focused on because she is the person who needs help and is actually the focus of the charity or should be, the use of irony is effective her so Priestley can show the audience how bad it was in 1912 and how people should not be treated like this as well as how bad capitalist ideals are through Mrs Birling represented as the embodiment of it mirrored with Mr Birling. The use of the adjective ‘prominent’ is effective in showing how she uses her image in society rather than her idea of what would be best for Eva first which represents her as selfish.
    As well as this, the idea of how she looks in society seems to always come first for Sybil. This is shown through how later on in the play during the time she is being inspected the painful use of dramatic irony is used to emphasises the stupidity of the Capitalist figures in the play. She explains what she said to Eva when telling her how the committee were not going to help her, this was how she should ‘go and look for the father of the child. It is his responsibility.’ The dramatic irony is effective as the audience know that the father of the child is actually Eric, Sybil’s son which therefore enhances the capitalist Sybil’s stupidity because she has just put Eric in an impossible position which counters his higher class position in Sybil’s eyes as he and Eva could never be together as she is a lower class to him. The use of the declarative sentence saying ‘it is his responsibility’ is effective in showing how fitting in with society is all Sybil can think about even if it put her family in an impossible position. The noun ‘responsibility’ is effective because it has connotations of looking after, caring for and giving money which is ironic as Eric is higher class so should have a lot but is an obvious alcoholic as we know from how he is regularly described as ‘squiffy’ by Sheila and other characters.
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    As someone who got an A* in English literature a few years ago, I would say that this is either 8 or 9. You are definitely on track to a 8/9 if this is the type of work you are putting out (it is better than the essays I use to write)

    I like the way you are always analysing the writer's use of language techniques and linking to the wider context.

    (I cannot give a definite grade on this though because I didn't read inspector calls)
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    (Original post by C_Yap)
    As someone who got an A* in English literature a few years ago, I would say that this is either 8 or 9. You are definitely on track to a 8/9 if this is the type of work you are putting out (it is better than the essays I use to write)

    I like the way you are always analysing the writer's use of language techniques and linking to the wider context.

    (I cannot give a definite grade on this though because I didn't read inspector calls)

    Thank you thats helpful as I have only currently stepped up the grade boundary as I used to be quite bad and only achieve low 4's so thats good to here. Are you studying lit currently?
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    I hated English lit and was pretty bad at it at the start. I was predicted a B and wasn't confident with my writing ability to begin with. The main question from my exam was so similar to the mock my teacher made in January so I kind of lucked out.
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    Very good analysis of language, however, try to refer to the context of her Edwardian way of thinking and just more context in general. Another small detail you could improve would be to try and embed the quotations into your sentences. The examiners love when this is done. It’s a tricky skill to master but adds a large flair to your writing that will sway their final decision on your grade.
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    did you write this based off a question if so what was the question?
 
 
 
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