The Student Room Group

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How is Sheila presented at the start of the play?
The character of Sheila begins the play immature and following capitalistic norms,which support nepotism,but develops and has some character development.The reason Sheila is who she was at the beginning is because shes a manifestation of her environment.Sheilas immaturity is in part from her parent infantilasation,shown in the text how mr Birling tried to shelter Sheila from the truth when the inspector was stating the death of Eva.Thereason Sheila is infantilised is because her parents shelter her from reality because of her class,warping Sheila’s perspective.Sheila uses child like language when addressing her parents (‘mummy’ and ‘daddy’).Priestley may have written her like this at the start, to show growth from her naivety and ignorance,by how Sheila is like a child doesnt know anything yet.

Sheilas immaturity is also shown in her jealous tendencies towards other females.This because Sheila is insecure about her own beauty as its a large factor of how valuable she is perceived.The inspector informed her of Eva’s passing,Sheila responded with ‘pretty?’.The word soft and gentle word ‘pretty’ juxposes the audiences expectations of what one says after someones death. This shows Sheila’s warped misogynistic perception of how if she was prettier she would be of more value and therefore worth more grieving.The lower classes dont have the funds amplify their beauty (better quality clothes,makeup,going hairdressers often ect)compared to the higher classes implying Sheila believes lowerclasses are of less value than upper classes.This makes the character of Sheila to seem shallow,which is only amplified by how she needed a physical ring to feel ‘really’ engaged.However the engagement is superficial and is for social and monterey gain( Sheila trys to gain through nepotism and capitalism).The relationships nature is strategically done for her to gain a higher class as she is middle class,and for her fathers business,therefore without an monetory investment(the ring) it doesnt feel real to her.

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