Shiela Birling in Act 1

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How does J.B Priestly Present Sheila Birling In act 1? At the beginning of act 1 in 'An Inspector Calls', Sheila Birling is presented as 'a pretty girl in her early twenties, very pleased with life and rather excited'. This also describes how she acts for most of act 1, until she is shown the picture of Eva Smith, and then 'she gives a half-stifled sob' which marks her first change in the play. Her mood in act 1 switches from acting 'gaily' around Gerald to 'almost breaks down, but just controls herself', showing she is also the character most likely change. Priestley first describes Sheila as naïve and she seems very 'playful' and he says she is being possessed as she talks to Gerald. Although she is 'half serious, half playful' Priestley makes her seem more clever as she has suspicions about Gerald when she mentions 'last summer, when you never came near me'. This only becomes noticable to us when Gerald reveals that he had an affair with Eva Smith. Sheila makes an effort in act 1 to get her parents to approve of Gerald. When she receives the ring from Gerald, she is immediately 'excited', and Priestley shows this in her speech with the use of dashes as she asks 'Mummy - isn't it a beauty?'. She shows appreciation of the 'perfect' ring to Gerald which shows she really is 'pleased with life' but almost possessed by Gerald.Although the Mr and Mrs Birling have been portrayed as arrogant, Sheila is contrasted to show compassion towards the conditions of the workers immediately when she hears about her father's treatment of Eva Smith - when she says 'these girls aren't cheap labour - they're people'. This shows how at the start of the play she is the only character so far that is capable of change, after Mr Birling denies all responsibility of the death of Eva Smith. Sheila is devastated when she realises her part in Eva Smith's death, she feels full of guilt for
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