A number of techniques are used throughout the play in order to portray this negative Image to the audience. For instance, her naivety Is repeatedly mentioned and her class conscious attitude is prominent In the play. From the outset, Priestley uses Mrs.. Brisling's persona to create an unlikable character, a woman who Is described as 'cold' In the stage directions, displaying the attitudes she will show In the opening scene.
Her attitude to class is shown by her cynical comment - 'a girl of hat class' - a comment which implies her awareness of her social superiority. This shows the way in which she looks down upon the character of Eva Smith. Similarly, her dismissive attitude towards lower class people is demonstrated by her careful concern for social etiquette and manners. She shows disgust at Sheila's use of colloquial language, for instance, when Sheila refers to Eric as 'spiffy, Mrs.. Birding is seemingly outraged. This suggests that she would not want to be associated with the dialect used by those of a lower social status.
Her character Is shown to feel a need to impress Gerald due to his upper class heritage and parenting. This could be represented by her embarrassment when Mr.. Birding congratulates the cook and tells him off for discussing business. This Indicates that she doesn't want Gerald to get the impression that she or her family would act In such a way. Her regard to social status is further demonstrated by her involvement with the Brimley Women's Charity Organization. She uses her position as chairperson to gain authority and importance Just so that she can herself highly and above other people.
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It is evident that she doesn't do charity work purely out of altruism. She has a great desire to be high in social status. This all contributes to portraying the image of negativity and creating dislike by highlighting her superiority complex. She is very aware of class distinctions, resenting Eva Smith's 'gross impertinence' in calling herself Mrs.. Birding, and refuses to believe In her moral Integrity: 'She was claiming fine feelings and scruples that were simply absurd In a girl in that position.
At the end of the play, like her husband, she refuses to believe that she did anything wrong and refuses to accept responsibility for her part In Eve's death. Instead, Mrs.. Billing seems to want to put so much blame on the father, because she thinks that it will put her out of the spotlight. There is dramatic irony in the way she is trapped. The audience will discover before her that the 'drunken young idler' is Eric. There is also situational irony which creates further dislike: the audience knows that she would not apply the same standards to re own family, yet Eric is condemned by her words.
She is also forceful in shifting blame onto Birding: "It wasn't I who turned her out of employment. " The generation gap is emphasized at this point in the play, as further dislike is created for Mrs.. Birding by the way Sheila and Eric begin to see their parents in a new unfavorable light. This dislike is reinforced to the audience when Shells gets angry at her mother in Act Three for trying to 'pretend that nothing much has happened'. Shells says 'It frightens me the way you talk. She cannot understand how Mrs.. Birding has not learnt from the evening In the same way she has.
This creates dwells for the character of Mrs.. Birding as the audience realism that she has not learnt anything from the blood and anguish' in the first world war. Her character is used to show Priestley attitude towards and critique of Capitalism. She is shown t be part of the capitalist society that will sleepwalk into disaster because they fail to recognizes what is going on in the world around them. This has a particularly significant impact as the sass's audience are aware of the downfall they will face.
Furthermore, dislike for the character of Mrs.. Birding is created through the portrayal of her sexual repression. She is shown to have the belief that women of her class should be protected from things that are what Gerald refers to as 'unpleasant and disturbing. She is reluctant to understand the reality of society and wants to know nothing about Garage's 'disgusting affair'. Priestley is effective in portraying her character in this way as the audience in 1946 will have a much broader view of the way in which people behave, ND will develop a dislike for her as a result of the differing attitudes.
This is interlinked with the way in which Mrs.. Brings naivety is used to create dislike. Not only does she choose not to understand some aspects of society, there are many other things that her character is show to be sheltered from due to her upper class way of life. For instance, she does not know anything about the hard drinking habits of her son Eric, thinking that 'it isn't true'. She also does not realism that even supposedly respectable men of a high social status like Alderman Meagerly would sit the Palace Bar and behave in such a way that he did.
She does not share the same level of awareness of what goes on in society that the younger generations have. Sheila's comment that 'she only escaped with a torn blouse' demonstrates how she is show to have a far greater understanding of the realities of society than her mother. Ultimately, Priestley uses various techniques throughout the play to create dislike for the character of Mrs.. Birding. He does this through using the themes of responsibility, class, generations and gender.
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