In this essay I am going to be describing how the character of Sheila develops throughout “An Inspector Calls” by J.B Priestley. Priestley was an English writer, who was born in Bradford. He served in the infantry during world war one, then afterwards attended Cambridge University. As a newspaper essayist and journalist, he wrote on a variety of subjects, then the publication of “The Good Companions” in 1929 led to his establishment as a writer. At the beginning of the play, Sheila seems to be fairly naive and acts like a younger girl.
We see this when she talks to Gerald about the previous summer and his dissappearance. When Gerald explains that he was “awfully busy at the works all that time”, we see that Gerald finds Sheila to be naive in that she believes Gerald was really working for all that time. We also see that Sheila is possesive of Gerald when she says that she would hate for him to become an expert on port “like one of those purple faced old men”. Sheila’s relationship with Eric is completely different, and we see that they are always arguing with each other or calling each other names.For example when Eric lets out the laugh during the dinner party, Sheila calls him “squiffy”, or later on when she says “Don’t be an ass, Eric.” This seems to be a petty sibling rivalry.
Sheila appears to get on very well with Mrs Birling. There never seems to be any aggression between the two, just polite conversation. Also, Sheila seems to agree with her mother most of the time , which we see when Mrs Birling objects to her husband talking about work, Sheila says “Neither do I. All wrong.” Sheila seems to have a different relationship with Mr Birling than she does with any other members of the family. I think this is because Mr Birling still sees Sheila as a little girl, and doesn’t have much respect for her intelligence. This is shown when he starts a speech, and Sheila continues to admire her newly acquired ring. Mr Birling then becomes annoyed and asks “Are you listening Sheila?”
I think Sheila has a somewhat missinformed outlook on the world, having lived in such a priviliged familiy all her life. When Sheila first meets the inspector, she isn’t sure what is going on, but appears worried when she asks “What Business? Whats Happening?” When Sheila does find out what business the inspector has at the house, she shows genuine concern exclaiming “Oh-how horrible!” Sheila then proceeds to find out all she can about the girl. Sheila’s attitude towards her father changes to a disgusted one when she finds out that Mr Birling had sacked Eva Smith. She says its “a rotten shame” and says how girls like this are “people” and not just “cheap labour.” PUF0VZ from PUF0VZ coursewrok PUF0VZ work PUF0VZ info PUF0VZ
When the inspector begins questioning her, Sheila appears to feel guilty and says that while she felt bad at the time for complaining, she now felt “a lot worse.” Sheila begins to feel more worried that she is responsible, and when she moves onto her large speech,”she almost breaks down, but just controls herself.” She admits that she was jealous of the fact that the girl looked better in the dress than she did. 2yKK7q Visit coursework dc in dc fo dc for dc more dissertation dc Do dc not dc redistribute 2yKK7q After the revelation, Sheila seems to be remorseful for what she has done, and she says she’ll “never,never do it again to anybody.”
In acts two and three, we see that Sheila is trying to protect her mother from making the same mistake as she and her father had done. She tries to stop her from setting her up for a fall. At the start of Mrs Birling’s questioning, Sheila asks her mother to stop before its “too late.” Then at the close of act two, when Mrs Birling has just left it clear the Eric got Eva pregnant, Sheila says “Mother-I begged you and begged you to stop.”
Towards the end of the play, when we find out the inspector is not a real inspector, while Mr and Mrs Birling believe they have got off scot free, Sheila thinks differently.She knows that everything they “said had happened really had happened.” This reaction is significant as it shows Sheila has really matured throughout the play. I think Priestley has created Sheila to give the audience a person whom they can follow throughout the play. The audience learn that she can be spitefull in the middle of the play, then towards the end, Sheila is seen to be the more respectful in the family, as she still feels guilty even though the girl isn’t dead..