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How does J.B Priestley use the character of Sheila Birling to convey his message to the audience?

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How does J.B Priestley use the character of Sheila Birling to convey his message to the audience? In An Inspector Calls, Sheila Birling is an important character, used by J.B Priestley to put across his message to the audience. I am going to talk about socio-historic content, Sheila at the beginning of the play, Sheila's reaction to; finding out the girl had died; finding out her father sacked the girl; finding out she contributed to the girl getting fired; finding out that Gerald knew the girl and finding out that her mother refused to help the girl. I will also talk about how Sheila reacted to discovering; Eric was involved with the girl; the Inspector was a fake and overall, how much Sheila changed through the play and how much she learnt. An Inspector Calls was written in 1945, just as World War II was ending. The play is set in 1912, which was known as the Golden Age, the period before the First World War when Britain flourished. Winston Churchill, the Conservative leader, was engaged in an election battle with Clement Attlee, the leader of Labour. Churchill wasn't a good leader for poor people as the Golden Age was all about rich men. Attlee wanted to change this with the Welfare State, which pledged to look after the working class. An Inspector Calls is a play about the good old days when poor people had no choice in how Britain was run and rich people lived their lives with no regard for others. ...read more.


This quote from Inspector Goole agitated Sheila as she may have remembered her involvement with the sacking of Eva Smith. The discovery that Eva Smith used an alias, Daisy Renton, shocked but shocked her fianc�e even more. As soon as Inspector Goole mentions the name Daisy Renton, Sheila sees Gerald's reaction and knows he was guilty of betraying her. We see a sensible and calm side to Sheila as she finds out that Gerald has "cheated" on her. Sheila doesn't revert back to being a spoilt childish brat, but remains level-headed and tries to help Gerald. She knows that honestly is the best policy and encourages Gerald to tell the truth about his relationship with Daisy/Eva, which he does. " It's no good lying Gerald. You're wasting time." I think this proves that Sheila has matured as a person and has been truly shocked by the night's revelations. Even though he betrayed her ,Sheila admires Gerald's honesty and the couple are finally honest with each other which makes their bind stronger. " I don't dislike you Gerald, as much as I did half an hour ago. Now you've told the truth I rather respect you more than I have ever done before. But this has made a difference. We're not the same people who sat down to dinner together." When Sheila finds out that her mother had met and dealt with Eva/Daisy, she is shocked to discover how cold her mother could be. ...read more.


After realising that being a spoilt immature brat isn't the best way to be taken seriously, Sheila tries to change for the better. She still believes that her family has a lot to learn from Inspector Goole and that they must not sweep the nights events under the carpet. Sheila desperately tries to make her family see this, but that proves easier said than done. "I suppose we're all nice people again because he wasn't a real police inspector." She is adamant in herself that she doesn't want to go back to the "good old days", which would make her a selfish, na�ve young woman again. "And now you've stopped and you want to go back to the old ways again. I remember what he said and how he looked. It frightens me the way your are talking as if nothing had happened." At the end of the play, Sheila has matured greatly and now comes across as a thoughtful, compassionate young woman. This is the complete opposite of the person we met at the beginning of the play: a selfish, spoilt brat. I think that this proves that Sheila has matured and discovered that life doesn't revolve around her, but there are other people who matter. Readers of the play can now relate to Sheila and she may have become a role model for other young women. Sheila has made the transformation from immature and irresponsible to caring an intelligent, unlike her parents who seem to have learnt nothing from the nights events. Kayleigh Howen 10ne ...read more.

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