Sheila 001

okay so let’s look at the character of Sheela in many ways Sheela is a character who we can admire she makes changes in her life and the arrival of the inspector and is I suppose a catalyst for her it starts hurting it starts her thinking about the world in a different way and that in itself is not admirable but what we have to remember is that even though Sheela even though Sheela moves towards a more positive outlook in life and I’d look that would be more applicable with the thoughts of the inspector who is the most piece of Priestly so the thoughts of Priestly even though she moves in that direction we have to remember that she has come in from quite a negative starting point she’s coming from a point where she is selfish where she is complacent where she is self-absorbed the first time that we come across Sheela again it’s that opening tableau where we have the stage directions that serve to expose each character as an individual so the the exposition of the stage directions know what we have here is a young woman who is described as very pleased with life and excited and what those two things do is they bring us to this word here which is complacency and that’s really the biggest fault with Sheela that she’s complacent she’s too happy with her lot she thinks that her world is a perfect world and she doesn’t need to look beyond it as we go through the play we realised that her dad and her mum suffer from the sort of moral myopia moral shortsightedness and that’s something that she lists suffers from at the start but happily what we had with the inspector is that he opens her eyes he allows her to see things as they actually are he allows her to peek above that wall that her mother has built ruin the family and see what life is like for others beyond that wall and when she sees that she understands that she’s got a role to play and in helping those who are not in such a fortunate social position as she is so if we want one word to sum up the young she the early Sheila is that she’s completed that she suffers from this complacency and it’s there with her being very pleased with life okay so the first time that she speaks then she speaks gaily and she’s childishly teasing Gerald and her daddy and she does that when she speaks to Gerald she speaks possessively and and what that does perhaps is it shows an over ignorant her pop eagerness and her part for the relationship again to be possessive over one’s partner or loved one perhaps suggests a lack of confidence because if your confidence or and if you’re confident or trusting then you don’t need to be possessive possessive is perhaps coming from a situation of weakness or a situation where where you feel like you need to defend something now of course as act one goes along we realized that there is this lack of confidence and perhaps she’s justified in not trusting and Gerald and of course that’s born I’d and not too so we have this this girl who seems happy and yet underneath it underneath it there’s this perhaps lack of trust what we also have is a playfulness in her character she calls her mother mummy yet she’s in her early 20s and she has this sort of mock aggressiveness which she also uses so there is a level of immaturity their maturity and perhaps that immaturity links in to a lack of confidence that’s a very squirrely immaturity but you know what it means there is the underlying problem though that becomes apparent in Act one when Gerald says I’ve been trying long enough half a night to be part of the family and Sheila is pointedly silent and then what she does is she responds to him half playfully half serious suggesting that she’s not secure enough in this relationship to know how far to take it and that links back to the previous point we had lack of confidence a lack of trust and if she knew how far she could take it if she knew where she was perhaps in a position of power or authority you wouldn’t have that half-playful half serious tone which Priestley uses here so what he’s bringing in in relation to Sheila is this sense of ambiguity the sense that she’s uncertain about some things and I think that’s quite quite a nice at the

point to raise because what we have here is a character who becomes more and more certain as the play develops and you know Berlin has moments of tight you know he says in Act three I would give sighs ins and yet in Act one he wouldn’t get pennies and you have that idea of Eric who learns and yet it’s still very aggressive with his mother who takes on responsibility and yet is still needing that drink so what you have with Sheila more than any other character is a character who comes into themselves who develops in a way that allows the Sheila to become more certain of who she is and what she should do in this world so if she’ll against anything she gains a sense of certainty she knows what direction she’s going to go on from here on him what you also have with Sheila too before she gives her her reasonings before she speaks honestly with Gerald they used to the hyphens again so it suggests the lack of fluidity it suggests hesitation and that hesitations lack it that hesitation links to the idea of her being uncertain know what you also have with Sheila is the idea that she represents and as she does as the play develops we see how deeply she represents a different point of view from that of her mum remember in terms of age and gender what we have in this play is a society that will just repeat the mistakes of previous generations so everything goes in a circle and so what mrs. Berlin had to cope with with you as a young woman is what she believes she will have to cope with as a young woman however Sheila makes it clear that that’s not going to be the way for her that she’s not going to be like that and mrs. Birling says to show that she’ll have to get used to gerald putting his business before her and she says that you know that she won’t she won’t get used to it and she says half playfully to gerald so be careful and and what she’s doing there is suggesting even at this stage that there is something different about Sheila and that difference is perhaps what will give us hope as the play continues you also have with Sheila and the understanding that she and her brother are very closely linked this is a cold family you know her mom is described as being cold and we have a suggestion that perhaps that her dad isn’t a particularly well-respected man you know she does mark her father at the very start but in a in a caring way it’s not this sort of sardonic deeply critical comments that we have in act three but what you do have is this closeness between Sheila and Eric and one way that that’s affirmed is in the use of colloquialisms scruffy and ass both of which they use and it indicates it here in act 1 did Sheila and Eric share something they share a link and that becomes more apparent as the play progresses because we know hi this for shadows what will happen in act 3 when the family split and with Sheila and Eric on one side of the divide and mr. and mrs. Birling on the other now remember with Sheila too as well as trying to find admirable traits we also have to realize that there are some things within her personality that we have to describe merely as flaws and one of the things that perhaps is wrong with Sheila and act one is this idea that perhaps she’s shallow whenever she gets the ring she’s really exuberant she’s really happy with that ring bear EXI to avoid having it and and again she says to Gerald all is that the one that you wanted me to have as if she’s accepting that role of deference or that rule of the the meek wife and the powerful husband what you have also is that she seems to be in awe of the splendor of the ring and excepting perhaps of this patriarchal relationship that is expected between husband and wife now that’s contrary to what she already said you know when she was half playful and half serious and she said to him to be careful that’s contrary to to the idea of their marriage that she had just a few minutes ago so what again you have here is a character who is just a little bit uncertain who’s not quite sure but what way things should be know when the inspector arrives and she lives in the

drawing room and she comes to find out what happened and what she wants to do is she wants to find out what is happening within the room and one of the the words or phrases that sort of tickles her interest or and allows her to to come back into that room to try and find out what’s happening is that idea of being on the streets of evil ending up on the streets which is a euphemism for prostitution so when Sheila comes back into the room it’s curiosity that brings her in which is not particularly in appealing characteristic and remember an act to her mum accuses her of nothing but morbid curiosity so this idea of being curious and anything that silesius anything that’s gossipy is obviously something that’s part of Sheila’s early character when she’s first introduced to the inspector and the inspector asks her to stay and burling’s not happy about that but and what he wants to do is he he wants to allow a letter to find out what’s happening so the stage direction for Sheela is that she comes farther in which perhaps suggests her willingness to be involved in the inspectors investigation for shadowing her ability to come closer to his way of thinking and that stage direction coming farther in is important because it’s repeated in act three but it’s not Sheela who comes farther and then it’s Eric so the repetition of that metaphorical stage direction is important because both Sheela and Eric choose to come farther in ie they they make that decision to get involved not to be defensive not to be dismissive but to be actively involved and they do that by coming farther in know also what you have is the idea that she’ll is interested to find out what happened to Eva and what she does is is something important first of all she exclaims in distress when she hears the news and then she parallels her position with that of Eva’s you know how could something so shocking happen just at the time when she was so happy and so what she does is something similar to what her brother does and there’s Eva’s situation there Sheila’s situation and Sheela makes a link between the two now the tip the link is only based on time that there was one person being so miserable just at the point when she was being so happy but it’s a bridge it’s a link nonetheless and you have Eric doing the same thing because you remember you have oh let’s see if I can get blew up yeah there we go yeah so there’s Eric he makes the situation um and there’s Eva and remember he says about well why shouldn’t they try for higher wages we try for higher prices so he makes that link so these sort of empathic bridges that both Sheila and Eric make are important because again they’re the younger generation making those therefore hope for the future and also it brings Sheila and Eric closer you know they’re our little unit and they represent something that we should hold true to hope for a future generation that thinks differently thinks in a more progressive way Sheila begins to understand perhaps this interconnectivity between all the lives which is something that priestly you know really makes obvious when the inspector says you know what’s all about a chiyan of events the past present and future being and in some ways linked and the inspector says it would all do it’s a bit of good if sometimes we put ourselves in the places of these young women and you know that’s what Eva that’s what either-or that’s what Sheila does with Eva just just in the same way as what Eric does with Eva in the early act okay but what we also have to remember too is that there are elements of Sheila’s character that are less than admirable and one of the things that we would have to say about her is that she does act horribly here the inspector shows her the photograph of the girl when Eva record or when Sheila recognizes it as Eva what does she do she runs out okay she runs out and now remember Eric runs as well Eric runs too so these two characters are linked for in terms of positivity but they’re also linked in terms of negatively both Sheila and Eric run but they both choose to come back and what they’re both linked with that fray is farther in so the fact that she chooses to come back I think is important because it shows that she’s got potential okay that she’s got potential but it also shows perhaps that you know she is selfish she was cowardly in that action when she returned she looks as if she’s been crying perhaps she is really realized her

responsibility and and that maybe prompts the inspector to say that she’s not entirely responsible just partly to bring him just as your father is so he is not so harsh with her because he recognizes that she already feels some sense of responsibility compares to how he speaks to mrs. Birling which is sharply and severely and because he knows that she is impervious to any sort of responsibility Sheila’s confession is an important one because it really just bears ID how shallow is and the reason why that she couldn’t be sorry for Eva’s because Eva was prettier than her okey and this idea of external appearances this idea of superficiality is something that Sheila is closely linked to in Act one now of course it’s an idea that her mom is linked to all the way through you in Act three and she dismisses the inspector because he didn’t even look like an inspector so superficiality is something that her mum stays you know firmly embedded and whereas it’s something that she learns to to move away from but her confession makes it clear that she was shallow that she was immature and self-absorbed Nikki and those are flaws in her character and you know they cannot be seen as anything other than flaws she needs to learn a lesson she needs to learn not to be like that and therefore the inspector is deliberately Curt with her you know short and sharp responses yes but you can’t it’s too late she’s dead little short emphatic statements that hopefully let that harsh message be learnt and something that Sheila can pick up on and of course that’s what we we find out as that play continues okay know one of the things that Sheila can date is that she can feel things within a room in act two it’s very clear when her mum returns to the room that her mum does not feel the tension within that room that she speaks in the sium haughty and arrogant way she uses the word impertinent with her which Sheila dismisses as a silly word mrs. Birling doesn’t feel the tension that exists between Sheila and the inspector and gerald however Sheila is different she feels that all can you hear that really she feels the tension immediately she understands that there’s something different about the inspector and that he brings a particular atmosphere to a room and creates a particular atmosphere between people so what she does is she kick noises that there’s something there and she recognizes the atmosphere that’s created between herself and Gerald by the inspector and his use of the name Daisy Renton the inspectors par an insight into the situation is only glimpsed a little bit in this first act but it’s enough for Sheila to ominously predict that the inspector knows so what Sheila has is a capacity to feel things that she is empathic and that she understands the difference that people can create within a particular environment and the audience can see that in act 2 particularly because she starts to sense that there’s something about the inspectors Parrs she gets closer to him in the stage direction and the seizure action also says that she’s wonderingly unj├║ B Asst again if we keep going back to that first word that we had for Sheila linked to uncertainty and her uncertainty continues here because the inspector is making her feel tight and making her wonder about what really he represents her what really he’s doing and what he does is he puts her on the path towards certainty and when she moves closer to him what she’s doing in terms of the stage positioning by moving closer to him symbolically she’s moving closer to his way of thinking beginning to accept his more holistic point of view walking the same path as he walks and as I just mentioned there at the start effect to that the tension between Sheila and Gerald is palpable and she feels that in comparison to her mother who doesn’t feel it at all and also what she does is that she criticizes Gerald for his gentlemanly concern you know he says that he doesn’t want her to hear unpleasant and disturbing things but as Sheila recognizes he didn’t grant that same courtesy to Eva you know and Gerald thinks that Sheila wants to stay because he believes that she wants to see somebody else put through it that she wants to watch him

suffer and real when you think about it that shows very little understanding between Shetty mg Sheila and Gerald the fact that Gerald could believe she led to be in her own words of venom vindictive creature perhaps illustrate that they don’t have that connection no it’s clear that they do love each other they share that moment they share that look at the start of fact – I’m sorry beg your pardon at the start of act 1 where they share that loving moment looking at each other and and there’s a clear affection there between the two I love there between the two but whether it’s based on true understanding is something that we would have to think about because in Act II it becomes clear that they don’t really understand each other okay and the inspector understands that she let and feels guilty that she feels responsible and therefore she doesn’t want to stay and watch Gerald being put through it that’s not that at all but what she wants to do is perhaps she wants to share something share responsibility so it’s as if he can read her mind and comment on her conscience is burden when he states she’ll be alone with that responsibility the rest of tonight all tomorrow and the next and what you have here is this idea that he really does understand the way her mind works and therefore it is only logical that she starts to understand how his works and that there is a link between the inspector and Sheila and of course that link is what gives us hope okay she’ll understands Gerald a bit more than he ever understand you stood her because he understands she understands that he wanted to be a prince charming character that she understands that at heart Gerald is vien he’s a VN man and that allows Sheila to have a new sense of maturity she seems so immature in act 1 she was pati her language was immature in act 1 but what she wants to do here is perhaps develop this this new fine sense of maturity she asks Gerald questions in a controlled manner she’s not hysterical she’s not even judgmental in the way that we would expect her to be because she understands why he did it and she understands that his vanity is his weakness the fact that Sheela returns the ring is a great a dramatic sign of her development of her maturity because she knows that when she got that ring she was blinded by its economic value value she was blinded by it sparkles and how much it was worth and how it was the ring that he wanted her to have but nah she realizes that marriage is beyond those you know something beyond superficiality and sparkles and that she and Gerald need to get to know each other that they don’t know each other know so when Gerald says that he will go and hopes that he can return we get this idea that perhaps what he wants is Sheila more than just a wife that there is a genuine love and feeling there for Sheila and the fact that she wants to get to know him again gives us hope that their relationship can be something stronger than what it is at present what I’d mentioned earlier on was Sheila’s ability to feel the atmosphere in a room and be affected by it and here what you have is the difference between Sheila and her her mum because Sheila and Sheila here when when her mom starts to speak with the same easy tone her Sheila’s tone is is completely in contrast to it because she shouts so she exclaims mother please and it suggests the nervous state that she lives in because she feels that the atmosphere has changed she knows really where her mother is going and she realizes that her mother’s attitude the superior attitude of her mother’s just as fit into this room anymore and then Sheila really makes a very important point what she does is she has this epiphany this moment of insight or she realizes that because of class class has allowed her mom to build up a wall a dividing wall between her upper-class life and the working class who are perhaps sustaining that upper-class life you know there there are the people who make the profit and what Sheila does is that she recognizes that her mom has

built this wall up and she recognizes too that the inspector will just break it down so she knows the weakness of this way of thinking you know the wall represents two things and we’ve mentioned this many times but remember for mr. Birling the mrs. Birling this wall represents a protection of barrier preventing them from having to acknowledge those who are socially beneath them but for Sheila and what she recognizes here is that this wall is actually a prison it has trapped her mum into an old self-absorbed life the self-absorbed life that allows her to continue with this same easy tone but that is not reality that is just living I suppose in an anachronistic bubble and an old-fashioned bubble and that will be burst by the inspector and Sheila knows it okay so the barriers of class and age prevent mrs. Birling from seeing things as they truly are and mrs. Birling believes that this is nothing but an absurd business and the idea here is that both mrs. Birling and gerald share the same per opinion of sheila again here we have this idea of morbid curiosity mrs. Birling thinks that she lives and trusts and eva is just morbid curiosity and you know there must be some validation to that because remember what brought Sheena back to the room was the curiosity if the euphemism on the streets but what mrs. Birling and Gerald both do not understand is that something has happened to Sheila that in the space of the last hour a little light has been turned on that she is not she is not the same person that she’s gradually changing and that is something that they they do not understand also you have this idea that mrs. Berlin is described at the start as being a rather cold woman and it because it comes apparent here because even when her daughter is nervous and anxious there’s no sense that mrs. Birling wants to do anything to placate Sheila or to ease her situation and said all she does is criticize her she’s this a breathing critical parent and not in any way empathic to hi her daughter’s feeling you also have this idea of role reversal haven’t you because you have Sheila who’s trying to guide her mum through a moral minefield who’s trying to make sure that her mum does not walk into the trap set for her by the inspector and but unfortunately Sheila is is not going to help her mum and not respect her mum is too arrogant and too self-important to accept any help from her daughter mrs. Birling constantly makes these links back to Eva and her class she dismisses the individuality of Eva by just linking her to girls of that class and later on girls of that sort and even though Sheila is urgently trying to interrupt her mother trying to help her mother when her mother has not done anything to help she got all the way through and even at at this point we really we start to feel that there’s a difference in Sheila that she is becoming a character who is more aligned to the thinking of the inspector who has even got empathy for her mum when her mum is exposing herself as being so prejudiced and so bit bigoted Sheila still try tries to help her that in itself is admirable Sheila realizes everyone must face the truth if they’re going to progress and it’s just like an Act one when Sheila was upset when she realized what she had done to Eva and the inspector said you can’t it’s too late she’s dead these are hard lessons that you have to learn and the inspector didn’t spare Sheila from it and perhaps Sheila’s not sparing anyone else from it because she knows that the truth has to be fair has to be faced and there is that little moment where Sheila recognizes that the the idler who is responsible for Eva’s situation is Eric and we the audience recognize that with Sheila so there is this parity there is this link between the way the audience thinks and the way Sheila thinks and of course you’ve got audience Sheila all thinking in the same direction and that’s the same direction as the inspector so we three are all linked together the inspector Sheila and the audience all having this shared understanding thinking in the same way and when Sheila tries to help her mom as I pointed out in the previous thing she’s just again that idea of enough breathing parent to critical parents

she’s just told to be quiet by her mum and therefore Sheila doesn’t press the issue because perhaps she understands that her mum needs to have her eyes opened and if she’s going to have her eyes opened with the bombshell that is act 3 well then that has to happen suppose it’s a bit like lancing a boil it’s painful but it has to happen and also you have that idea that in act 3 Sheila drops the bomb bombshell when Eric said you know how do we know and Sheila says she told mother I e Eva told mother and you could say is that treacherous is that am Shila betraying her mum no you know what it is it’s Sheila understanding that her mum has to face the truth that there’s no point lying Eric needs to know the truth Sheila has to face the truth mr. and mrs. Birling have to face the truth but her mum doesn’t face the truth her mum says nothing she just shakes her head and doesn’t reply that’s a card ly action no in terms of dramatic devices Sheila does become the mice piece of the inspector and of course the inspector is the most piece of Priestley so what priest he believes is then translated into what the inspector says and that’s translated into what Sheila and I picks up on and what she starts to believe so there’s a clear sense as I said before of role reversal with mr. and mrs. Birling being childish and petty in comparison to their children it says in the stage direction that she’s scornful of her father’s dismissal of events as he and her mother pretend that not much has happened no she can’t she begins an act one mocking her father and for his love of Port purple fierce gentleman and all that but that subtle gentle mocking of a daughter is noise scornful that’s a huge leap because that suggests no respect that suggests some sort of breakdown in the relationship and that becomes more apparent when she says that and they seem to have learned nothing because she starts to see into the hearts and minds of the assembled company but remember the only person who could see into the hearts and minds earlier was the inspector but now that’s that idea of sight that idea of understanding is something that Sheila has it’s as if the part of the inspector has in some way suddenly influenced Sheila and when her mum again tries to criticize her and she says it’s you to her being childish and she feels that she can criticize the lack of moral development and her parents because she knows that she has developed so much in her own self in act one you had this idea of camaraderie and a sibling sort of squabbling relationship between Sheila and Eric yet there was warmth there and I what we have is a clear development of that that Sheila an era could work as a team and she says I suppose we’re all nice people night and Eric with agrees with her because what they have done is they have created this split on the stage on one side you’ve got the burling’s mr. and mrs. and what they represent is they represent class they represent and the idea of social inferiority social superiority they represent all fashion values and then you have Sheila and Eric and they represent progression they represent hope for the future they represent the socialist socialism in a very weakened form here you know they’ve taken the mean aspects of socialism and they start to make connections and so they represented this idea that perhaps the future can be a better place and that the youth can can create a society more attuned to the thinking of the inspector and of Priestly what you also have to is the idea that their elders are carrying on with their wall building that dividing wall between them and Sheila moves towards the door again this idea that she has to distance herself from her family that if she wants to stay true to the inspector she has to be further removed from her mum and dad and and that’s something that with her move towards the doors she seems willing enough to do and again that idea of feeling the atmosphere in the room she’ll and Eric talk of being frightened and it creates this ominous atmosphere which they both are attuned to which they both feel mr. and mrs. Berlin Gerald do not feel it when Gerald represents the easy way out Sheila doesn’t take it and that’s the key thing that and when Sheila when Gerald returns and we understand that he returned to drop the bombshell that the inspector wasn’t a real inspector not to rekindle their relationship with Sheila but to drop that bombshell again to be the fairy tale Prince not for even I or dizzy

Renton but to be that fairy tale Prince from mr. and mrs. Birling to be the kind of son-in-law he always wanted and when he comes in and drops that bombshell he takes confidence in his possession off of the fairytale Prince of the returning hero so much confidence that he holds up the ring for Sheila to take it back as if everything that has happened can be so easily forgotten which of course it’s true from mr. and mrs. Birling everything that has happened is so easily forgotten for the manfred gerald the fact that he holds like that ring it values Sheila that that he thinks that he can just pick that relationship off from where it started or from where it ended rather it devalue Sheila and she rejects it and we feel happy and pride that she is rejected it she says that she must think and you know part of you wants her to reject it and wholly and not ever think about it but the the thinking is important because after all that’s what the inspector was there to make them do to make them think not to dismiss things in sweeping judgmental ways remember that’s how they got into trouble in the first place they dismissed the life of Eva and in a such a sweeping distant such a sweeping way but to think about things that’s what he was there for so the fact that Sheila chooses to think is again another way of understanding that she has listened to the inspectors message one thing I would say is that in terms of the development between Sheila and Eric Sheila has learned more than Eric but also another thing that you have to remember it would be that Sheila was coming from a flawed position at the start so her progress seems great because she was coming from that complacent self-absorbed position that her parents had a lighter to occupy for so long