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Discuss the ways J.B Priestley uses the character of Sheila to develop his themes.

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Coursework: Drama Discuss the ways J.B Priestley uses the character of Sheila to develop his themes. J.B Priestley is the author of the play titled "An Inspector Calls." The play was originally written in 1944, during the World War II but it was only performed from 1946 when the war ended. The end of a major war causes a lot of changes in a country and is often considered as a fresh start. People might start thinking about what their life is going to be like when the war has ended. Priestley's main purpose is to show that the end of World War II was a good time to make a difference and to change the attitudes of pre-war Britain. This is because it is easier to create some new ideas when things have started to change already. One of the main characters called Sheila is used as a device to put forward Priestley's points. She represents what England could be like after the war and how it is possible to change attitudes. Priestley's points are mainly reinforced through the dialogues spoken by Sheila. She is also used as a dramatic device and he moves forward the story by using this character. The reaction and ideas of the audience are manipulated as they first think that the play is a mystery about the death of a young woman but later it is revealed that the mystery lies in who the Inspector (one of the most important characters) ...read more.


She admits that "it was my own fault" and that if she "could help her now, I would." This shows that she regrets that she acted that way and that if possible; she was willing to change things. Sheila changes from a person who does anything to get things her way to a person who admits what she's done wrong and cares for others who are less fortunate. Priestley is illustrating that it is possible for Britain to learn from its mistakes and become a nation where people care about each other, no matter what class they are. Sheila is used to show that if one person in Britain can change, so can the rest. Priestley uses Sheila to state some of his important ideas about how Britain should be. In some key places in the play, Sheila tells the audience what Priestley wants them to know. He puts forth the point that poor aren't to be used for cheap work, but that they are humans with feelings. In one of her speeches, Sheila says that, "these girls aren't cheap labour - they're people" when she argues with Mr about the firing of Eva Smith. She is making a contrast between the two attitudes that Priestley wants to portray. The people of the Nineteenth Century used poor vulnerable women to their advantage for "cheap labour," meaning to work for very low wages. ...read more.


Throughout the play, Sheila is used in many ways to both reinforce Priestley's main themes and also to move the story forward. She is one of the most important characters as she is given the main role and she is conveying the most important themes. Priestley creates a contrast between the characters of Mr Birling and Sheila to use them as metaphors. Birling represents the attitudes people in Nineteenth Century Biratin had, whereas Sheila represents the attitudes he believes Britain should have after the war. Sheila's metaphor is also used to reinforce that change is possible. Just as Sheila changed from being a person who was selfish to a caring person after learning about Eva's death, Priestley implies that it is possible for Britain to change and become a caring community after the war. Furthermore, Sheila's dialogues are used to reinforce some of Priestley's most important points. He shows that employers should treat their employees like humans, regardless of their class. He also uses Sheila as a dramatic device to move forward the story in key points of the play. One example is when Sheila points out that the mystery is not yet over; that the real mystery is based on who the Inspector really is. Overall, the character of Sheila has a lot of importance to the play as she is used continuously for various purposes. ?? ?? ?? ?? Chrisline Thomas July 2010 ...read more.

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