Essay-writing tips - continued

Mr Birling acts inconsiderately towards Eric

You could include some of the following points in your essay:

  • Mr Birling dismisses Eric’s concerns about war, “You’ve a lot to learn yet”
  • both he and Gerald tease Eric before lecturing him about what “some of these boys ... nowadays” get up to
  • he speaks sharply to Eric and tried to silence him in front of the Inspector, “Just keep quiet”
  • he speaks angrily to Eric when Eric questions his dismissal of Eva
  • he takes no responsibility for Eric’s actions as a parent and he reacts bitterly to Eric’s drinking and behaviour
  • he appears unapproachable as a parent, calling Eric a “damned fool"
  • he calls Eric “spoilt”, a product of the “public-school-and-Varsity life” - however, he has paid for this education.
  • he blames Eric for everything that has happened
  • he threatens to throw Eric out of the house, “And I say – either stop shouting or get out”
  • Eric says, “you’re not the kind of father a chap could go to when he’s in trouble”

Mr Birling acts inconsiderately towards Sheila

You could include some of the following points in your essay:

  • his speech on the engagement of Sheila and Gerald concentrates more on “business” than on the happiness of his daughter
  • his tone is patronising, “Nothing to do with you, Sheila. Run along”
  • he does not know how to communicate with Sheila and asks his wife, “What’s the matter with that child?”
  • he attempts to stop her hearing about Gerald and Eva, because their engagement is important to his business
  • he tries make excuses for Gerald’s affair with Eva, “you must understand that a lot of young men - ”
  • when Sheila tries to get her parents to take responsibility for their actions towards Eva he reacts angrily and tells her to “Be quiet”

Mr Birling does not act inconsiderately

You could include some of the following points in your essay:

  • Mr Birling shows pride in his daughter’s engagement, “I’m delighted about this engagement”
  • he appears generous when he offers Eric more port
  • he gives Eric advice about women; “you’ve got to remember, my boy, that clothes mean something quite different to a woman”
  • he tries to protect Sheila from the “unpleasant business” by getting her to leave the room
  • he wants to prevent the Inspector interviewing either of his children, “Now, Inspector, perhaps you and I had better go and talk this over quietly in a corner”
  • he is concerned for Sheila when she becomes upset.
  • he exchanges a “frightened look” with his wife when they realise what Eric has done
  • he tries to pay the Inspector off after Eric’s part in Eva’s death is revealed