Essay about English: Middle Class and Sheila’s Engagement

Submitted By Pati-Paduch
Words: 501
Pages: 3

J.B Priestly first describes Sheila as a 'pretty girl in her early twenties, very pleased with life and rather excited' who is of upper middle class. Women in Edwardian times did very different things depending on what class they were in. Working class women worked in places such as shops, factories, mines and farms, whereas, Upper middle and upper class did not work at all. They would however, be seen taking part in charity work to look as if they were doing good for the town. Their days were, mostly, spent shopping and gossiping. Sheila is the only daughter of Mr Arthur Birling, who is a 'self-made' businessman and runs 'Birling and Company' in Brumley. At the start of Act 1, the family are celebrating Sheila’s engagement to Gerald Croft, who is an upper class businessman and part of a company called 'Croft's Limited', a company that is a rival of her father’s company.
Priestly shows that, even though at the beginning Sheila was acting spoilt and wealthy, she can show remorse, like when she first hears about what has happened to Eva Smith after she was dismissed from her last stable job, which was Sheila’s fault. This is evident when Sheila says, ‘Yes, but it didn’t seem to be anything very terrible at the time. Don’t you understand? And if I could help her now, I would –‘. This quotation shows that Sheila would have helped Eva if she knew about the effect her action had on Eva, which shows that Sheila is remorseful towards Eva, but also feels guilty for what she did, so she notices what she did wrong and learns from her mistake. Apart from this, we also see that Sheila still tries to justify her actions by explaining why she reported Eva at that time and by saying that ‘it didn’t seem to be anything very terrible at the