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Please can someone mark my essay about Sheila in Inspector Calls:)

I’m in Year 10 and just started studying inspector calls. This was a timed essay and I know it’s a lot (hopefully most of it isn’t too waffly). Thank you to anyone who replies. I really appreciate the help:smile:


Throughout An Inspector Calls, Sheila Birling arguably undergoes the most dramatic character development, from a materialistic capitalist to a mature socialist woman, attempting to break free of the internal misogyny implanted in society. Through utilising her as a vessel good to convey socialist ideas, Priestley polemically addresses the deleterious effects of capitalism as well as the malign hindrance caused by the male hegemony on women like Sheila, regardless of class divisions. Priestley expresses his desire for change, vicariously through the change in her character.

Sheila is originally introduced as an allegory for callowness, envy and the corruption of women in the twentieth century due to capitalism. She is depicted as ‘rather excited’ and ‘very pleased with life’ through stage directions, implying that she leads a very comfortable, affluent life. Limning her as a ‘pretty girl’, despite being in ‘her early twenties’, compels us to believe that she is quite infantile and childlike in her demeanor. This concept is amplified through the use of childish colloquialisms, addressing her parents as ‘mummy’ and ‘daddy’, which especially underlines her immaturity, considering that she’s a young woman. Priestley therefore highlights the marginalisation and infantilisation of young upper-class women, due to the unwavering patriarchal society deeming women as vulnerable and passive, showering them with riches to obstruct them from the harsh realities. This image is reinforced by Sheila’s reaction to the engagement ring, exclaiming, ‘Now I really feel engaged,’; this consolidates our view of her as spoilt and heavily materialistic, conforming to the stereotypes of women being satisfied with copious amounts of wealth and equating that to raw happiness. The audience is now exposed to the capitalist corruption that the richer youth unfortunately are driven into, with money and the superficial aspects dictating their emotions only when Sheila received the extravagant ring did she ‘feel engaged’.
Priestley at this moment constructs Sheila’s character as an emblem for the capitalist youth, preoccupied with material possessions and lacking awareness like the rest of her family. Her involvement in Eva’s demise and subsequent suicide eliminates any compassion the audience could’ve felt, as she (‘the daughter of a good customer’), exploits her influence and power at her own convenience, firing Eva and depriving her of a stable income and future, due to a puerile outburst of vanity. The assumption that Eva ‘looked like she could take care of herself’ and could find another job with ease exemplifies her obliviousness to the rising unemployment rates at the time, again referring to the excessive sheltering she experienced through her whole life. Moreover, referring to Eva as a ‘plain little creature’ displays how the upper class completely dehumanise the lower class, thinking of them as inferior while consumed with their own self-importance and egotism. Priestley portrays Sheila as the embodiment of envy, with the sins reflecting capitalist mindsets and their lack of humane qualities in order for the pursuit of power. Due to the capitalist doctrine of avarice and indifference engraved into their daily lifestyles, the current mentality of Sheila epitomises the way in which the wealthier capitalists blissfully confine themselves within unrealistically sanguine interpretation of reality. Therefore, Priestley vigorously admonishes how extortionate luxury and privilege contributes to their blindness regarding the poverty of lower classes. This is especially effective when evoking abhorrence towards capitalism from the audience as they would’ve endured the Depression, with decreasing prosperity and financial struggle, as well as the devastation of the Second World War. Making the audience more susceptible to socialist views, by inducing this abhorrence, was one of Priestley’s main aims, as the 1945 General Election was approaching which did cause the desired effect as Labour Clement Atlee was elected as Prime Minister.
Despite the initially superficial characterisation of Sheila, Priestley establishes an instantaneous renovation of her attitude once accepting responsibility, creating a sharp distinction between her and the other characters, in order to expose the detrimental effect of class divisions and patriarchy. Immediately after viewing the picture of Eva Smith, Sheila ‘gave a half-stifled sob’, expressing genuine penitence and remorse, greatly lamenting her actions (as previously stated). She states, ‘I behaved badly; I know I did’, which is powerful as the repetition of ‘I’ conveys how she gradually adopts the socialist mindset of the Inspector, converting her guilt into a loathing towards the societal cause of Eva’s death. This repetition is perhaps also symbolic of Eva’s abandonment and loneliness during her time of despair, embodying how the capitalist and patriarchal society took advantage of both her class and gender (from being sexually exploited by Gerald to being wrongfully dismissed by an obdurate Mr Birling) and let her die in misery. As well as this, when Sheila plangently claims, ‘If I could help, I would’, the verb help’ infers how unwarranted the dispute between socialism and capitalism is, and how someone with Sheila’s character and ability to develop is necessary in order to learn and rid ourselves of such demonic societal restrictions. Moreover, we can now see how desperately Priestley wanted change during 1912, and how Sheila’s change is a miniscule fragment of what he envisions.
Particularly after Sheila’s anagnorisis, discovering her fiancés infidelity, her language transitions from short and infantile to speaking ‘with sharp sarcasm’, allowing Priestley to advocate for the challenging of gender ideologies. Rooting from Gerald’s affair, she becomes assertive and more outspoken, calling him ‘a fool’ and ‘stupid’, rendering him dumbstruck. The childish nouns and colloquialisms ‘mummy’ and ‘daddy’ previously used dramatically evolve to sharp comments like ‘don’t interfere father’, continuously undermining and contradicting her parents, signifying an evident generation gap. This suggests her capacity to change and learn, in contrast to her intransigent family. Since women were perceived as submissive and docile according to traditional stereotypes of the time, Sheila’s dialogue and resistance to stereotypes would’ve empowered many women in the audience, who (in 1945) would’ve experienced freedom of their own, taking over men’s jobs while they were fighting in war. Another pivotal moment in the play is Sheila’s ultimate rejection of Gerald’s proposal, representing her journey from materialistic, naïve girl to a mature, socialist woman. Marrying him would’ve most certainly benefited her socially and financially yet she prioritises her own moral values, with Priestley’s desired socialist views gradually incorporating themselves into Sheila’s life for the better and rescuing herself from an inevitably failing marriage. From the start to end, Priestley’s use of her character development again reinforces the idea that society was destined to change, while simultaneously wanting the audience to realise how their own society is unchanging.
Creating the main heroine as a young, unmarried woman who would’ve been rendered powerless during the early twentieth century indicates that Priestley was intending to warn us of the dangers of the patriarchy. Despite being of the upper class and despite having the influence to dismiss others for her own convenience, Sheila is still frequently patronised by the men in her family, from her marriage being viewed as a mere transaction by her father to how her guilt and acceptance of responsibility is blamed on being hysterical’ by her former fiancé, illustrating how these static, patriarchal concepts are permanently embedded into our lives and without change like Sheila we will forever be bound by unjust restrictions, ranging from not just gender but wealth, race, appearance and so many other unchangeable aspects. Priestley attempts to shed a light on the major gender inequalities and with a final reference to Ouspensky’s theory (through the final ring of the telephone); the overall cyclical structure not only signifies how the Birlings can’t escape their past decisions, but also how Sheila is effectively trapped and unable to let her voice flourish for as long as this society exists, in order to alert the audience and inform them that this repetitive cycle would continue if we changed nothing of significance.
Reply 1
grade 9 gcse english student here! this is very very good!!!! :smile: if you'd like me to send you some exemplar essays i did please pm me! (i did an Inspector Calls and Macbeth)
Reply 2
Hi is it possible if you can send some your exemplar essays for inspector calls for Sheila pls.
Reply 3
Original post by aliaa03
grade 9 gcse english student here! this is very very good!!!! :smile: if you'd like me to send you some exemplar essays i did please pm me! (i did an Inspector Calls and Macbeth)


Hi, is it possible for you to also send me some of your essays on An Inspector Calls please
amazing, definitely within top grades. But it is very long, practical issues probably-would you be able to do this in the exam?
Original post by aliaa03
grade 9 gcse english student here! this is very very good!!!! :smile: if you'd like me to send you some exemplar essays i did please pm me! (i did an Inspector Calls and Macbeth)

hey is it possible you can send me some too please thank you :smile:
Reply 6
Original post by aliaa03
grade 9 gcse english student here! this is very very good!!!! :smile: if you'd like me to send you some exemplar essays i did please pm me! (i did an Inspector Calls and Macbeth)

im very late but do u mind sending them to me as well??? thanks a bunch!!
(edited 2 years ago)
Original post by aliaa03
grade 9 gcse english student here! this is very very good!!!! :smile: if you'd like me to send you some exemplar essays i did please pm me! (i did an Inspector Calls and Macbeth)


Hello , could u perhaps send me some of ur grade 9 essays on AIP ? It would really help for my revision thank you :smile:
Reply 8
Original post by aliaa03
grade 9 gcse english student here! this is very very good!!!! :smile: if you'd like me to send you some exemplar essays i did please pm me! (i did an Inspector Calls and Macbeth)

Hi im very late but would you mind sending your exemplar essays?
Reply 9
hello! could i also have some of these exemplar essays? im aware im late, i apologise. :smile:
Reply 10
Original post by aliaa03
grade 9 gcse english student here! this is very very good!!!! :smile: if you'd like me to send you some exemplar essays i did please pm me! (i did an Inspector Calls and Macbeth)

hello! could i also have some of your exemplar essays on an inspector calls? im aware im very late, i apologize.
Original post by aliaa03
grade 9 gcse english student here! this is very very good!!!! :smile: if you'd like me to send you some exemplar essays i did please pm me! (i did an Inspector Calls and Macbeth)

Hi im very late but would you mind sending your exemplar essays?
Reply 12
Original post by aliaa03
grade 9 gcse english student here! this is very very good!!!! :smile: if you'd like me to send you some exemplar essays i did please pm me! (i did an Inspector Calls and Macbeth)
Hi im like very late haha but would you mind sending me some of your exemplar essays please, I have my mocks in 2 weeks
Original post by aliaa03
grade 9 gcse english student here! this is very very good!!!! :smile: if you'd like me to send you some exemplar essays i did please pm me! (i did an Inspector Calls and Macbeth)

Hi I know Im really late can you send me some of your essays pretty pleaseee:smile:

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