English Literature: An Inspector Calls Character Profile - Sybil Birling

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Talk about the theme social responsibility (deserving)
The word "deserving" was traditionally used to distinguish between the poor who physically can't help themselves and the undeserving who shouldn't be helped.
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Quote to support the view Sybil Birling is traditional
"When you're married you'll realise..."
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Quote to support the view Sybil Birling is proud
"I was the only one of you who didn't give into him"
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Quote to support the view Sybil Birling is prejudiced
"As if a girl of that sort would ever refuse money!"
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Quote to support the view Sybil Birling is cruel
"I had my influence to have it refused"
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What is Sybil Birling's reputation and social status more important than?
Her children.
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What values does Mrs Birling have?
Tradition values. She strictly follows the rules of etiquette because a good reputation for being polite will improve her family's status. These rules are more important to her than moral rules - the difference between good and bad.
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What beliefs does Mrs B have?
She has a strong set of beliefs about people's social status, which makes her prejudiced.
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What is Mrs Birling willing to do to preserve her own status? Give an Example
She's prepared to be cruel, such as when she rejects Eva's/Daisy's appeal.
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Describe the social status of Sybil and Arthur.
Sybil Birling is from a family with a higher social status than Arthur Birling's family. Even though Arthur's head of the family, Sybil is his "social superior"
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What does Sybil Birling tell her husband off for doing?
Saying the food was good in front of a guest. It wasn't polite to mention the cook or lower servants. Upper-class families would not say "tell cook from me"
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What is Mrs B always telling her family? Give an example.
She's reminding them they need to have better manners e.g she tells Sheila off for using slang.
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Give an example of Mrs Birling not letting anybody boss he around.
She warns the Inspector "You have no power to make me change my mind"
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What does Sybil's social standards make her?
Sybil's social standards make her prejudiced against people from a lower class. She thinks that they have lower standards and can't imagine her son being involved with a women "of that sort"
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What is ironic about who Sybil Birling blames for Eva's death?
It was Mrs B herself who refused to help Eva/Daisy when she most needed it, but she blames the father of the unborn child - Eric.
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What does Mrs B do without realising?
She condemns her own son and demands that he should be made to pay, and to confess publicly.
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When does Mrs Birling's social standards make her fall into the Inspector's trap?
When the Inspector asks her who she blames for Eva's/Daisy's suicide.
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How do the stage directions describe Mrs Birlings answers?
"Haughtily", "Very sharply". and "Bitterly" so even when her language is polite, her tone is severe and superior.
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What are Mrs B's final actions and words?
She is "smiling" and telling everyone to feel as "amused" as she is by the evening's events. These words suggest she has already put it all behind her.
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In Act Three what does Sybil Birling repeatedly tell everyone? How does the script portray these comments?
That she had already guessed it was a hoax. The script says she "triumphantly" tells everyone she knew it all along. It's more important to her that she comes out on top, than that her actions could have caused a girl's suicide.
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How is Mrs B shown as self centred?
She doesn't notice her own son's alcoholism and dismisses her daughter's worries that Gerald lost interest in her last summer.
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Does Mrs Birling learn from the Inspector's message?
No, she only regrets not having "asked him a few questions" - she wants to be in control.
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A quote that shows Sybil Birling not accepting responsibility for her actions and claiming she did the right thing.
"I accept no blame for it at all"
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Which organisation is Mrs Birling involved with?
The Brumley Women's Charity Organisation - which she says only supports "deserving cases" This gives Mrs Birling the authority to decide who's "deserving" and who's not.
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What does Mrs B use her "influence" in the charity to do?
Convince the other members to reject Eva/Daisy's appeal because she's offended by the young woman using the Birling name.
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Why is Sybil Biring outraged by Eva/Daisy's behaviour?
Because she pretended to have the "fine feelings" of a higher social class, but Mrs Birling is unfeeling towards the women who make appeals to her.
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Quote to support the view Sybil Birling is traditional


"When you're married you'll realise..."

Card 3


Quote to support the view Sybil Birling is proud


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Card 4


Quote to support the view Sybil Birling is prejudiced


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


Quote to support the view Sybil Birling is cruel


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