Sheila Birling An Inspector Calls Essay Plan

Sheila Birling: Quotes & Revision Notes

Topics covered on this page (Sheila Birling):
Sheila Birling's Character
Priestley's Message (intended effect on the audience) 
Sheila's Character Development/changes
Sheila Birling's Key Quotes Bank

Sheila Birling's Character

Sheila Birling is engaged to be married to Gerald Croft. She is the daughter of Arthur Birling and Sybil Birling, and sister of Eric Birling. J. B. Priestley describes her as "a pretty girl in her early twenties, very pleased with life and rather excited," which is precisely how she comes across in the first act of the play. In the second and third acts, following the realisation that she has played a part in Eva Smith's death, she matures and comes to realise the importance of The Inspector's message.



Priestley's Message (intended effect on the audience) 

  • She represents (with Eric) the younger generation – Priestley saw them as ‘more impressionable’ – after all, they were the future.
  • She gives the audience hope that their society can improve if people make changes and take responsibility.

Sheila's Character Development/changes

  • She learns her lesson. She takes responsibility and changes; she also tries to encourage others to do the same.

Sheila Birling's Key Quotes Bank

Act 1

Pg 3: 'Yes – except for all last summer, when you never came near me, and I wondered what had happened to you.'
Pg 4:'Neither do I all wrong'
Pg 5: 1910 View of women '(Excited) Oh – Gerald – you’ve got it – is it the one [ring] you wanted me to have?'
Pg 5: ‘Oh-its wonderful! Look- Mummy- isn’t it a beauty? Oh - darling - [She kisses Gerald hastily]’
Pg 6: ‘I’m sorry, Daddy. Actually I was listening’
Pg 16: ‘Oh- sorry. I didn’t know. Mummy sent me in to ask you why you didn’t come along’
Pg 17: Displays Sheila's curiosity 'What’s this all about?'
Pg 17: Only one to react and care about Eva's death 'Oh, how horrible! Was it an accident?'
Pg 17:'What was she like? Quite young?'
Pg 19: Socialist View 'But these girls aren’t cheap labour – they’re people.'
Pg 20: 'I was there this afternoon- (archly to Gerald) for your benefit.'
Pg 21: ‘(a little cry gives a half-stifled sob)'
Pg 22: You knew it was me all the time, didn’t you?
Pg 23: '(Miserably) So I’m really responsible?'
Pg 23: 'I’d been in a bad temper anyhow.'
Pg 23: 'No, not really. It was my own fault. (Suddenly, to Gerald) All right, Gerald, you needn’t look at me like that. At least, I’m trying to tell the truth. I expect you’ve done things you’re ashamed of too.'
Pg 23: Apologetic 'No, not really it was my own fault.'
Pg 24: Jealousy 'I couldn’t be sorry for her.'
Pg 24: 'I told him that if they didn’t get rid of that girl, I’d never go near the place again and I’d persuade mother to close our account with them
Pg 24: Spoilt Brat - Rude to Miss Francis for no reason 'I was absolutely furious I was very rude to both of them.'
Pg 24: Apologetic 'I’ll never, never do it again.'
Pg 24: 'And if I could help her now, I would'
Pg 26: '(laughs rather hysterically) Why – you fool – he knows. Of course he knows. And I hate to think how much he knows that we don’t know yet. You’ll see. You’ll see.'

Act 2

Pg 27: Context 'Then I’m staying.'
Pg 28: Context (To Gerald) 'So that’s what you think I’m really like.'
Pg 29: The first to accept responsibility and take some blame 'I know I’m to blame – and I’m desperately sorry'
Pg 29: (to Inspector) 'There's something I don't understand about you'
Pg 30: '(slowly, carefully now) You mustn’t try to build up a kind of wall between us and that girl. If you do, then the Inspector will just break it down. And it’ll be all the worse when he does.'
Pg 33: 'He’s giving us the rope- so that we’ll hang ourselves.'
Pg 36: 'Of course, Mother. It was obvious from the start'
Pg 37:(cutting in, as he hesitates) I know. Somehow he makes you.
Pg 42: ‘You might as well admit to it’
Pg 45: ‘Mother, I think that was cruel and vile’
Pg 48: '(with sudden alarm) Mother – stop – stop!'
(to Gerald) 'I rather respect you more than I’ve ever done before.'
Pg 53: 'This isn’t my fault’ 

Act 3

Pg 56: '(who is crying quietly) That's the worst of it'
Pg 58:But that’s not what I’m talking about. I don’t care about that. The point is, you don’t seem to have learnt anything.
Pg 58: ‘(with sudden alarm) Mother-stop-Stop!’
 'Between us we drove that girl to commit suicide.'
Pg 59: 'Don’t you see, if all that’s come out tonight is true, then it doesn’t matter who it was who made us confess. And it was true, wasn’t it? You turned the girl out of one job, and I had her turned out of another. Gerald kept her – at a time when he was supposed to be too busy to see me. Eric – well, we know what Eric did. And mother hardened her heart and gave her the final push that finished her. That’s what’s important – and not whether the man is a police inspector or not.
Pg 65: 'But that won’t bring Eva Smith back to life, will it?'
Pg 70: 'You’re forgetting one thing I still can’t forget. Everything we said had happened really had happened. If it didn’t end tragically, then that’s lucky for us. But it might have done.'
Pg 71: 'No, because I remember what he said, How he looked, and what he made me feel. Fire and blood and anguish. And it frightens me the way you talk'
Pg 71: Affected by Inspector's message 'I tell you – whoever that Inspector was, it was anything but a joke.'

The final line: [As they stare guiltily and dumbfounded, the curtain falls.] 

 
  1. I am struggling to answer this question as i feel like there is not much to say about Sheila.
    She was immature and the start of the play but then later showed maturity.
    She was remorseful for what she did to Eva, Unlike her parents.
    Priestly is conveying that the youth can change and accept responsibility whereas the older generation cannot.
    Capitalists such as Mr and Mrs Birling will not change, but the youth can leave this acient capitalist views.
    How can i structure this?
    Is this even enough information?
    I am really confused, HELPPPP
    Does anyone think Sheila will even be on the exam?

  2. Sheila is the character who goes through the largest change, from an immature acting child, to the moral superior to her parents. Analyse on how she changes, she is described as childish at first but also shows she knows the real world better than her own mother suggesting she is much more mature than first presented.

    Last edited by ghost88; 17-05-2015 at 22:49.
  3. I don't think Sheila will be on the exam anyway there are two questions . Which exam board are you doing, OCR or AQA? Write about Priestley's intentions, he uses Sheila to present his socialist view of equality but it is ignored, just like how Eva was ignored by Mrs Birling. Just keep linking stuff and you'll be fine.
    (Original post by jamillatijani)
    I am struggling to answer this question as i feel like there is not much to say about Sheila.
    She was immature and the start of the play but then later showed maturity.
    She was remorseful for what she did to Eva, Unlike her parents.
    Priestly is conveying that the youth can change and accept responsibility whereas the older generation cannot.
    Capitalists such as Mr and Mrs Birling will not change, but the youth can leave this acient capitalist views.
    How can i structure this?
    Is this even enough information?
    I am really confused, HELPPPP
    Does anyone think Sheila will even be on the exam?

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