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Flashcards in Sheila Birling Deck (7)
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"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."

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY - Sheila is shocked when she learns that she had a part to play in Eva’s death. - Sheila takes responsibility for her actions and tells the truth. Gerald is being judgemental of her even though he has not yet taken responsibility for his own actions.


'But these girls aren’t cheap labour – they’re people.'



What is Sheila's role in the play?

To show the audience that people are capable of change if they are enlightened about their behaviour
To represent women in the upper and middle classes and how they are not given any responsibility or treated fairly
To challenge the capitalistic ideas that her parents have and confront them about behaviour
Proves that women do not need a man by calling off her engagement with Gerald.


Within the play, how does Sheila grow and change?

Becomes a completely different person by the end of the play. Biggest change of character is hers.
Is very strong and independent by the end.
Becomes a socialist perhaps or at least is much more aware of the consequences of her actions and vows to 'never' behave the way she has done again


A quote to suggest Sheila is naive & immature

The stage directions at the beginning state that Sheila is 'very pleased with life and rather excited' - this could potentially show how she is naive: it is later revealed/hinted to her that her father's wealth comes from 'cheap labour'
Shown through how she addresses her parents as 'mummy' and 'daddy' - this hints at her upbringing (Mrs Birling later says that Eric is 'only a boy' when in fact he is a young man)


A quote to suggest Sheila is selfish x2

When she first hears of a suicide, Sheila says 'I've been so happy tonight. Oh, I wish you hadn't told me' - this is selfish because despite there being a death, Sheila is concerned about the inconvenience of it affecting her engagement party
When the news of Eva's suicide is broken to Sheila and she admits her role in Eva's death, she says 'I feel I can never go there again. Oh - why had this to happen?' - although this shows that Sheila regrets her actions and feels ashamed, she is selfish because she is concerned about not being able to visit her favourite shop, which is inappropriate considering that Eva is dead


A quote to suggest Sheila matures in Act 3

Sheila is one of the characters that develops and learns a lesson; she says in Act 3 that she's ashamed of her parents' attitude, and that 'if it didn't end tragically, then that's lucky for us. But it might have done'