A Guiding Booklet about Sheila Birling

For the literary element project, I focused on the element of characterization, in particular, the character Sheila Birling in J.B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls.  I have chosen to produce a booklet as a guiding path of Sheila Birling’s characteristics as it brings forth the idea that a person’s dynamic characteristics can be explored through outside pressure.

The first quote on P2 is from the exposition part of the play, Priestley describes Sheila contradictorily: “serious” because she suspects Gerald, “playful” because she sees her female role in marriage.  The second quote informs the reader her protest for feminism, where she learns that labor women are cheated less than people.  The second set of quotes are from the beginning, middle, and near-end, demonstrating Sheila’s most emotional person among her family.  Every time she hears something remarkable, her reaction contains strong emotional language.  Third, her maturity in conscience is also meaningful. The third set of quotes accentuates her maturity on conscience where she accepts the inspector’s message.

The outside pressure Sheila experienced is from the inspector, and it had developed Sheila as a complex character.  As the first set of quotes on P3 exhibits, Sheila appears as a typical privileged upper-class woman.  Her behaviors show no sympathy and regret.  But her change started on the second set of quotes, where she found out the results from her immortal actions, manifesting her honesty on her behaviors and her rejection of social hypocrisy.  The last set of quotes directly reinforces Sheila’s opposition on capitalism, where she disputes with the importance of the inspector’s lesson, underscoring her consciousness and representing her as a new age of socialism.

Thus, through analysis of characterization, in particular on Sheila Birling, it revealed a person’s dynamic characteristic can be expressed through outside pressure.

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