When Eric discovered that Eva was pregnant, he decided that their relationship was never going to work out and his mother would never agree to the marriage because Eva Smith was part of lower class. Eric’s actions showed that women in 1912 were not treated as human beings but as a man’s toy or object like where they can play with them and after they are finished with them, throw them in to the garbage. Finally I will be discussing how Mrs Birling treated Eva Smith.
Mrs Birling was part of the ‘Brumley Women’s Charity Organization’, a charity that supposedly was set up to help women of ‘deserving cases’, (p42). Eva Smith approached Mrs Birling because she was in desperate need of help and she had no one else to turn to but all Mrs Birling had done to Eva was hinder and she influenced the entire committee to dismiss her case. Mrs Birling admitted to being ‘prejudiced against her case’, (p43) because Eva Smith used the name of Mrs Birling when she was asked what her name was.
Following that, Mrs Birling insisted that, ‘she only had herself to blame’, (p43). Earlier in the play Mrs Birling had said, ‘… we can understand why the girl committed suicide. Girls of that class’, (p30). This quote from the play conveyed to us that Mrs Birling believed that ‘girls of that class’, (p30) had no sense of responsibility in their own lives and that they were useless. She didn’t realise that without the so-called ‘lower class’ she would have had to be the one working in the factories and going from job to job.
An additional reason why Mrs Birling refused to help Eva was because she had ‘begun by telling us a pack of lies’, (p46) however what Eva Smith had informed Mrs Birling was completely the truth. Mrs Birling refused to believe it because she was hearing it from the mouth of a ‘lower class’ woman and Mrs Birling had the idea that whatever ‘girls of that class’, (p30) would say, it would constantly be a pack of lies. Mrs Birling repeatedly was prejudiced to Eva Smith and another example of it was when she explained, ‘As if a girl of that sort would ever refuse money’, (p47).
This quote showed us that Mrs Birling thought that ‘lower class’ people were as greedy and as shallow as her self for money, and that they would do anything to obtain what they required, even steal. Mrs Birling used her high status to her own advantage and so she influenced the committee to refuse a ‘girl of that sort, (p47) of any help. In conclusion, we have seen numerous examples of Eva Smith being disadvantaged not only because of the fact that she was part of the ‘lower class’ but also because she was a woman.
The characters took advantage of this to the limit such as when Eric pretended to care for Eva because he wanted sex and Mrs Birling when she refused to help Eva Smith because she was part of the ‘lower class’. The Birlings used their high status and their money to put down Eva Smith and she was rejected and turned down many times until she couldn’t handle it any longer. Sheila treated Eva Smith like dirt in Milwards and decided to put her high status to use because she was jealous of Eva’s good looks.
The ‘lower class’ in the 1912 were very badly treated and the fact that she was a women just made it easier to break Eva Smith down. Nowadays there are many benefits for single women and it was just a shame that the class system of 1912 had many prejudices and snobs. How things would’ve been different for the life of Eva Smith if she were part of a high status family. Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE J. B. Priestley section.