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Mrs Birling Speech

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Mrs Birling Speech Priestly uses the Birling family to show how upper-class men and women behave towards the lower-classes during the early years of the 20th century. Priestly uses the Inspector to show us more than just one problem in society during this time. A good example of upper-class peoples behaviour towards lower classes is shown in Mrs Birling. Mrs Birling is even more hard-faced and arrogant than her husband. She is introduced as his social superior and her manner indicates that she is very conscious of social position, especially her own. She is extremely snobbish, and expects others to show her respect and to defer to her opinions. She resents being contradicted, even when caught out telling outright lies by the Inspector. Mrs Birling seems genuinely shocked to hear about her sons drinking problem, although the information does not surprise Sheila and Gerald. ...read more.


She thinks that people from the 'lower-classes' have different feelings from her own: they are almost a different species. Eva Smith's pleas for help offend Mrs Birling, because the girl was 'giving herself ridiculous airs' and 'claiming elaborate fine feelings'. Her vindictive attitude towards the father of the girl's child changes dramatically when she learns that he is her own son, clearly illustrating her extreme hypocrisy. Mrs Birling seems to divided not just upper and lower classes but her family as well. Sheila and Eric understand about what happened, respect their mistakes and are willing to change, but Mr and Mrs Birling cannot accept it. Priestly is showing us that the younger generation are capable of change but the older generation are not. This is probably because the older generation have been living like that for fifty years so do not want or see the need for change. ...read more.


She brushes aside the fact that her family is falling to pieces, she is only concerned about her reputation and that it is intact. You could say that Mrs Birling's attitude changes like a graph. She starts of very high and confident. Once the Inspector arrives and exposes the family she gets less confident. On page 54 and 55 we see this where we are told she is 'shocked' at finding out that Eric is stealing and that she gets more and more distressed as she finds out more. Once the Inspector leaves and she thinks that Eva wasn't really dead she tries to pull her self back together and look arrogant and confident again, like she was at the beginning. I think Mrs Birling uses her power so much because she hasn't inherited it like others would where money has been in their family for three generations. Mr Birling is fairly new to power to he and his family see the need to show it. ...read more.

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