Explore How Priestly Presents and Develops the Relationship Between Shelia and Mrs. Birling in ‘an Inspector Calls’.

Topics: Audience, Plays, Performance Pages: 3 (912 words) Published: April 10, 2013
Explore how Priestly presents and develops the relationship between Shelia and Mrs. Birling in ‘An Inspector Calls’. Priestly uses dialogue and stage directions to show a void between different generations. Although Mrs. Birling is Shelia’s mother she still refers to her as a ‘girl[s]’. The audience can sense Mrs. Birling’s condescending tone and how she still retains the view that Shelia is an immature and ignorant ‘girl[s]’ even though she is a fully grown adult who will soon be wed. This is ironic as it is in fact Mrs. Birling who is the ignorant character in the play when she states that Eric and Shelia are ‘over-tired’ and will ‘be as amused as’ the older Birlings are in the morning, but the audience know this is false and the younger generation of Birlings have matured and learnt far more than their elders. Priestly truly shows Shelia’s development and maturity as she changes her address term for Mrs. Birling from ‘mommy’ to ‘mother’. The use of the word ‘mother’ is much more detached and formal and suggests Shelia has broken out of the conformity of her mother’s belittling opinions. In this short space of text Priestly reveals Shelia as an adaptable and developing character in the play. To both a modern day and 1945 audience, calling an engaged women a ‘girl’ is ridiculous and patronising, but then again Shelia is a spoilt ‘mummy’s’ girl to begin with. Priestly is showing how the younger generation must rise up and take their place in society instead of remaining spoon fed and ignorant. It takes a big event, Eva Smith’s death, for Shelia to realise this but to a 1945 audience this would resonate as with the aftermath of a war in front of them and ‘millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths’ who died in that very war, priestly portrays that this is a better time than any to take the reins. This suggests, to encourage social change, Priestly believes people need to be able to adapt and change their ideas like the younger generation in the text. Priestly...
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