How does the character Sheila Birlings change in the play An Inspector Calls?

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How does the character “Sheila Birling’s” change in the play ‘An Inspector Calls’?

The play ‘An Inspector Calls’ was written in 1945 by J.B. Priestly, but it was set in 1912. At this time society was capitalist, there were very strong distinctions between upper and lower class people, industry and agriculture were privately owned and wealth was not shared equally. The play centers on the Birling family headed by Arthur Birling who is a wealthy factory owner. At the start of the play the Birling family is celebrating happily Sheila’s engagement to Gerald Croft. However, the mood changes when Inspector Goole arrives and informs them about the suicide of a young woman named Eva Smith.

Sheila Birling is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Birling is described at the start as “a pretty girl in her early twenties, very pleased with life and rather excited”, most probably because of her engagement to Gerald Croft. Her hopes and plans for the future are to have a happy married life with her husband-to-be. Early in the play her mother informs her about married life claiming that men “spend nearly all their time and energy on business”. However, Sheila does not agree and she warns Gerald, “so you be careful”, which shows that she wants her fiancé to be attentive towards her. When we meet Sheila she seems to be satisfied with life; she is also from a comfortable family and so is Gerald. When Gerald is presenting Sheila with her engagement ring she accepts it in an “[excited]” way and she spends a long time looking at it, (Birling says, “Are you listening, Sheila?”).

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Her relationship with Gerald seems to be fine on the surface but if you were to dig a little deeper you could see signs of problems. Sheila mentioned how Gerald never came near her the previous summer, but Gerald quickly replied with an excuse claiming that he was “awfully busy at the works all that time”. However, Sheila seemed not to be easily fooled and replied by saying “yes, that’s what you say.” From this the audience can see that Gerald may have not have been loyal.

As the play develops Inspector Goole arrives to question the ...

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Sheila's responses to the revelations brought by the Inspector are well documented and analysed here, with well-chosen and skillfully-managed references. The essay writer shows us how, in contrast to her family and fiance, Sheila is able to accept her own culpability in the death of this young girl. The conclusion ably sums up the findings of the analysis and expresses Sheila's new-found self-awareness. Paragraph and sentence construction are mostly well-managed, with only a few lapses in tense form and punctuation, and the lexis is well up to the task. 5 stars