“You look tired, dear.
I think you ought to go to bed.” On the contrary, Mrs Birling thinks that what Gerald did was appalling and horrifying and has no desire to listen to what Gerald has to say. But she stays because she wants to see if it lessens her responsibility for the death of Eva. “I don’t think we want any further details of this disgusting affair -” Sheila pleads with her mother, because Mr Birling is making it look as though they don’t have any connection with Eva; she is trying to get herself out of the picture. Sheila is telling her to stop concealing the truth, because they do know Eva and whether she likes it or not Mrs Birling is part of the investigation.”You mustn’t build up a kind of wall between us and that girl. If you do, then the Inspector will just break it down.” Sheila accepts more responsibility than she needs to for the death of Eva Smith.
She may have caused Eva to lose her job, but she only has a small role to play in her suicide. The way Sheila was brought up, with her mother being upper class, makes her think that things are always greater then they are and so loosing someone’s job would be a big deal to Sheila.”So I’m really responsible?” She also wants to know what role she has to play in the death because, like the inspector, she wants to know everything about Eva’s death. On the other hand, Mrs Birling doesn’t take any responsibility for Eva’s death.
She doesn’t want to think that she could be part of something so disastrous, and so because of her inflexible nature, she sets her mind as though she is completely innocent. “Please don’t contradict me like that… Girls of that class -” After the inspector has left, Sheila is haunted by the night’s events and about what has just happened, and just doesn’t want to think about it any more.”Now you’re all begging all over again to pretend that nothing much has happened -” Mrs Birling has already forgotten her role in Eva’s suicide and is too busy worrying about whether the Inspector was real or not. Sheila and Mrs Birling reacted so differently because of their two diverse natures. Sheila is more sensitive and perceptive.
She would take full responsibility for Eva’s death if the others hadn’t been there or if there hadn’t been any more evidence. She was stricken with grief just for losing Eva her job and genuinely worried bout Eva that she had almost forgotten that other people might have had a part to play in her death too.Mrs Birling convinced herself from the very beginning that she had nothing to do with Eva’s death and shows this through her actions.
Because of the age gap there are many things to consider. Mrs Birling seems to have made herself resistant to other people’s feelings, since she deals with so many people of the lower class asking in desperation for help. She shows no remorse and takes no responsibility for the death of Eva Smith. Sheila on the other hand can relate to what has happened to Eva due to their similar ages.
Sheila also has a fresh mind, almost naï¿½ve, which is partly why she takes it so personally.