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What sort of parents are the Birlings? Examine their relationships with Sheila and Eric

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Introduction

What sort of parents are the Birlings? Examine their relationships with Sheila and Eric J.B.Priestly presents Mr and Mrs Birling as traditional parents, who are very conscious of their social ranking, and are determined to at the least maintain it. Throughout the play the character's relationships with one another change and deteriorate. The younger generation seems to be more sympathetic, because they are closer to Eva's age. "I think it was a mean thing to do. Perhaps that spoilt everything for her", says Sheila, this quote shows Sheila's idealistic and unbiased preconceptions on how life should be. It is ironic as it is only through her father's actions that he has been wealthy enough to provide her with a life like such which allows her to think that life is fair and make a thoughtless comment. ...read more.

Middle

Sheila says "he's giving us the rope - so that we'll hang ourselves", but the parents do not listen her listen. This seems to make Sheila more critical of her parents throughout the play, supporting her brother's views more. She is angry with her parents for trying to "pretend that nothing much has happened." Sheila says, "It frightens me the way you talk:" she cannot understand how they cannot have learnt from the evening in the same way that she has. She is seeing her parents in a new, unfavourable light. Mr Birling is an over-bearing, traditional father figure, who had certain ambitions for his children and he seems to be concerned that they are not going to live up to them. ...read more.

Conclusion

He is pleased that the Crofts are titled and seems to take some credit for bringing about the marriage. The children appear to me more flexible to social change, unlike the parents who are very conventional. The relationships in the family weaken as the truth is revealed. Sheila, Eric and possibly even Gerald are children of snobbish, selfish parents so their behaviour might well have been different had they been brought up by better people. The young are more likely to learn from their mistakes and be adaptable than the old who are too set in their ways. Mr and Mrs Birling do not accept any responsibility for their actions and they are snobbish parents which will influence the character of their children. ...read more.

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