Sheila represents the younger generation because she is the daughter of Mr Birling. Eventually Sheila actually sets an example to the older generation, her mother and father, by showing that in society times have changed and there should not be different classes any more. Priestly is trying to show that, after the war people should not be judged by their social class but they should become, “members of one body. ” Sheila says, “at least I am trying to tell the truth. These people aren’t cheap labour they’re people.
” This shows that Sheila has changed, provides hope for the future and shows feelings for people that are not as well off as herself. When Sheila says, “I know I am to blame, but I am desperately sorry. ” It is showing us that she has realised what a fool she has been and how pompous she has been. This is when we first see a change in Sheila’s attitude. At the end she’s a better person. She’s kind, generous and now sociable with all classes. This shows us that times are changing and that people are no longer based on their social class.
She now believes in the Inspector’s (Priestly’s) quote, “we are all members of one body. ” She thinks that people should work as one community and not as individuals. Sheila shows her change of attitude by telling her parents, “I behaved badly too. I know I did. I am ashamed of it. But now you are beginning all over again to pretend that nothing has happened. ” This is reminding them that they are not individually responsible for Eva’s suicide but together their actions have made Eva commit suicide and they all ought to be ashamed and not keep blaming each other.
Sheila ends up as the only one out of her and Mr Birling that changes. She changes for the better. She grows up into modern society and does not judge people by there social class. Eric also changes in the play, again for the better, because he is also the younger generation. Eric now believes the same as Sheila and has grown into the modern society. Mr Birling doesn’t change and stays his normal individual self. Mrs Birling also doesn’t change because she is the older generation and they have been brought up to judge people on their social class.
From this I have concluded that Sheila represents the younger generation and her purpose in the play is to show people the change between 1912 and the 1940’s. Mr Birling represents the older generation and the purpose of his character is to show us what the pre-1912 upper-class man was like. The production also shows something about the social class at the time by the special effects. The play shows bad weather outside and because the Birling family belongs to the ‘upper class’ they are warm and dry.
Eventually as they get thrown outside they are starting to change social class; again mostly Sheila’s shows this dress because that becomes wet and muddy and shows reality. Towards the end there is a crowd outside the house. The crowd is there to represent the Eva Smiths and John Smiths. It’s to show the Birlings that they should be helping in the society. The crowd gave the Birlings blankets and helped them when their house fell down. If the right power of the upper class were added to the working class then society really would change for the better.
The house finally collapses due to the crimes that the family has committed. When the house goes back up again it doesn’t return to that nice, warm, jolly house like it was. Instead it is in shambles. There is broken crockery and glass everywhere. This represents their new lives. They can never ‘repair’ their lives properly after what happened, like I could never repair a broken plate after being dropped. At the side of the stage there was a telephone box, just outside the Birlings house. This is to show the ‘outside’ world.
At the end the older generation, for example Mr Birling, go inside. This is to show that they won’t change and no matter what has happened they still want to be known as the higher class. From the essay I have concluded that Sheila represents the younger generation of the time and the future of society. Her purpose in the play was to show the audience the change in society between 1912 and the 1940’s. Mr Birling represents the older generation of the time and his purpose was to show us what pre-1912 upper-class family was like. Between them they show a change in society.