An Inspector Calls

– Differences And Comparisons Of Arthur B. And Sheila B. Essay, Research Paper

?An Inspector Calls? by JB Priestly

Differences & Comparisons between Mr B. and Sheila

Arthur Burling is the main man in the Burling family, and

seems to control it, i.e. whatever he says – goes! The play is

set in an imaginary town called Brumley, somewhere in the

North of England.

Mr. Burling has a selfish attitude towards life, and also an

attitude to only care for himself and family, and basically

forget everybody else, in fact, this is exactly what he tells a

speech on at the celebration of Sheila?s and Gerald?s


?… a man has to look after himself – and his family too, of


which gives the impression of the selfishness, and also

greed. Another example of this is when he tells a speech

about how it is the best day of his life,

?Gerald, I?m going to tell you frankly, without any

pretenses, that your engagement with Sheila means a lot to

me. She?ll make you happy, and I?m sure you?ll make her

happy. Your just the type of son-in-law I wanted…?

makes people think whether he wants them to get married

for themselves, or for him, and whether it means a lot to him

sentimentally, or a lot to him in the business world. Burling?s

first priority is to make money,

?It?s my duty to keep labour cost down?

and is also a social climber, and Sheila is engaged to the son

of his ?friendly? rival, which is why it could mean a lot to him

in the business world because Gerald?s father is in a higher

class than the Burling family. We can see that he is a man

that tries to ?make everything better? by using his money,

?Look inspector, I?d give thousands…?.

I think this may be a ?domineering? attitude, because he

wants to dominate people, and do all he can to do it, which

reflects on how he treats his employee?s. In his factory,

there is certain employees which ask for a pay rise, but

Burling refuses to pay more than ?the going rate?. Burling

can afford the pay rise, but returns by sacking one member

of the ?strike? pack, Eva/Daisy Smith. After this, Burling was

blamed for starting the ?domino? effect of Eva/Daisy?s

suicide, but refuses to accept the blame.

Appearance plays a big part of Burling as well. How he

looks is very important to him indeed in the respect that he

always has to look ?posh? and always dresses cleanly and

smart. I think he does this not because he always want to be

clean and smart, but to keep a good reputation with other

high class people, and not to make them think that he is any

lower than themselves. When the inspector asks questions

to/about his family, he tries to protect his reputation by

acting the innocent to the questions, even though we know,

that he knows the answers to the questions, but wont tell

them, to protect his reputation (hard to explain!!).

Burling cannot see the consequences of neither his, nor his

family?s actions. We know this because Burling makes

comments which seem ridiculous to us now, in the ?90?s and

the year 2000. Things like the Titanic being unsinkable and

that European nor World war would never happen. According

to Burling, war will never happen because in his eyes, it

would affect business, but Burling does not stop to think that

people may care more about things other than business,

which is why he cannot see the consequences of his own

actions and is also another example of the selfishness within


Burling hates stealing. When Eric (Burling?s son) steals ?50

from Burliness office, he cares about nothing more than that

he stole from him, and the amount he stole (because ?50

was quite a bit of money in 1912), and Burling wasn?t really

concerned why Eric stole the money. Burling then exclaims,

?You dammed fool – why didn?t you come to me when you

found yourself in this mess??.

Eric?s reply indicates that Mr. Burling was never close to his


?Because you?re not the kind of chap a man could turn to

when he?s in trouble?.

Such a response indicates that things aren?t going to

improve much after the play ends, and also indicates that

there may be a bad family relationship.

Sheila is Mr. Burling and Mrs. Burling?s daughter, and is

engaged to Gerald, Burling?s rival. Sheila has a totally

different attitude to Burling, and we see this emphasized as

the play progresses. She is very happy with life at the

beginning of the play, young, and attractive. Although her

happiness is about to be destroyed, as in her faith in her

family. Her response to the tragedy is one of the few

encouraging things, which I think, came out of the play. She

is genuinely upset with the death of Eva/Daisy, and learns

from her actions, unlike Burling. Not only she admits her

faults and it seems as though see takes too much guilt on

her shoulders, but seems keen and anxious to change her

behavior in the future,

?I?ll never do it again? she exclaims.

I think Sheila is aware of the mystery surrounding the

inspector, yet realizes there is no point in hiding the facts

from him, which is also a totally different attitude to Burling,

because Burling seems to think he can hide the facts, and it

will be okay, but Sheila, unlike Burling is not bothered about

impairing her reputation, she is only bothered about the


Sheila is amazed that her parents have not learned

anything from the episode, and thinks that even though the

inspector may be a hoax, I think she is convinced that her

parents behaved in an entirely unsuitable manner, the way

they were hiding facts, etc. Eric agrees with her, and is like

Sheila in many ways. For example, Eric is also amazed that

their parents have not learned anything in the episode.

Sheila?s family have tried to block knowledge of everything

that is unpleasant in life, but Sheila respects the truth and

her parents don?t know that she has more knowledge of

unpleasant things that happen, and sometimes even more

than her parents, e.g., Eric?s Drinking. At the start of the

play, Sheila is selfish, moody and has a bad temper, which

she may get from her father. So at the beginning, Sheila is

rather like her father, but she cannot see this. One day, her

bad temper goes too far because Mrs. Burling says her dress

does not suit her, and Sheila unleashes her anger on

Eva/Daisy, resulting her getting sacked from the fashion

store. I think she regrets this later on, when she changes,

and sees how ill tempered and selfish she was, but makes no

attempt to do anything about it.

Sheila does realize, in the end, the harm she has caused,

and still wonders why her parents cannot see what they

have done. Although the inspector does turn out to be a

hoax, her parents seem to carry on as normal, especially

Arthur, because he is just happy that the scandal will not get

out, thus Arthur loosing his Knighthood, but, Eric and Sheila

will probably never be the same again, as they have learned

what they have done.

There are a couple of comparisons between these two

people, e.g., Arthur being selfish, and Sheila being selfish (at

the beginning of the story) but overall, these are two very

different people, the way they turn out in the end, and even

the beginning when they are a little like each other.

I did enjoy this book, although I think there should tell

more about what the inspector actually is, instead of leaving

it in suspense, but it cant really be suspense because it

doesn?t ever tell you what he is, because it is the end of the

story, and suspense is where you really want to know what

it is, but it will tell you in the end. I think suspense at the

end of a story is not good, because it puts a bad ending for

the story, because you really want to know the end, or


English Essay – Peter


This is an English literature GCSE exam question. Done by Peter G, Liverpool UK, Y2K


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