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Flashcards in Sybil Birling Deck (4)
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"She was claiming elaborate fine feelings and scruples that were simply absurd in a girl in her position."

GENDER - When Mrs Birling suggests that Eva is incapable of having feelings. - Priestley shows that even women like Mrs Birling can be just as cruel and old fashioned as the men are. She does not try to empathise with a member of her own gender. This also highlights her negative attitude towards the working class


"As if a girl of that sort would ever refuse money!"

CLASS - When Mrs Birling is discussing the moment when Eva approached her charity. - Mrs Birling refers to Eva Smith as a 'girl of that sort'. She clearly has preconceptions about working-class girls suggesting that they lack morals and will always take money.


"I should think not. Eric, I'm absolutely ashamed of you."

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY - Sybil Birling will not take any responsibility for the death of Eva Smith even after she has been questioned by the Inspector. - In telling Eric that she is ashamed of him she shows that she has learned nothing from the Inspector’s investigation. The audience would know that she is in no position to be questioning the behaviour of anyone else given her own treatment of Eva Smith and lack of social responsibility


"So I was perfectly justified in advising my committee not to allow her claim for assistance."

AGE - Mrs Birling explains her decision to turn away Eva when she came to her for help - Despite hearing about all the misfortune that Eva Smith has suffered, Mrs Birling is unmoved and stubbornly stands by her decision to turn Eva away.