A character from Priestly’s play

Sheila rebels against her parents even more as the play wears on. She accuses her mother directly when she says, “mother, I think it was cruel and vile. ” We respect her more for trying to change her mother’s snobbish ways. She has seen the wrongs of the past and is trying to right them. In Act Three, we discover that every single one of Sheila’s accusations about Eric were correct. Mrs Birling is shocked by this; she thinks Eric is “just a boy”. This shows that Sheila is definitely not a child living in a little shell – she knows more than people are prepared to credit her for. By the end of the play, Sheila acts like an adult.

She turns the tables, as at this point she is more of an “adult” than her parents. She has learned very important lessons about self and community responsibility, and promises to be more aware of her speech, conduct and actions. She has also learned that all people are equals – she sees the connection between Eva and herself. Mr and Mrs Birling, on the other hand, refuse to learn anything, or accept any responsibility. They think they are of the upper class, they can do no wrong and they have done nothing wrong. Sheila tries to make her parents see the light when she says, “it’s you two who are being children, not trying to face the facts”.

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Seeing Sheila stand up for herself and against her parents make her respect her much more. We put aside any emotions of hatred we may have for her due to her injustice to Eva Smith ion the grounds that she has learned something from this. Sheila is “desperately sorry” for what she has done. To err is to be human -everyone makes mistakes, but only the wise learn from them. In our eyes, Sheila grows up. At the start, she is a girl, who grows into an adolescent with an attitude. Finally, when at the end she is a strong woman, commanding respect from the audience, we realise how much “older” and wiser she is than her capitalist parents.

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