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A cream cracker under the setee- by Alan Bennett (How does Alan Bennett make us feel sorry for Doris?)

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A cream cracker under the setee- by Alan Bennett (How does Alan Bennett make us feel sorry for Doris?) Hannah Thistlethwaite A cream cracker under the settee is one out of a series of six monologues called Talking Heads. They are all written by the well known author Alan Bennett. The monologue we are studying is about an elderly lady called Doris. Doris talks about her situation, reminiscing her past experiences. At the start of the monologue we see a confident and dignified old woman. However by the end of the monologue Alan Bennett exposes her weaknesses and makes us express sympathy for her. He also makes us appreciate how Doris has had a hard life and makes us recognize that when she was growing up society was very different and people showed more respect to others. Doris thinks she is a very independent person but in reality her health cannot allow her to be so independent. She is scared of not being autonomous and moving into Stafford house would mean that she would be dependent on others. She is in refutation over her current situation and she believes she could cope without Zulema or Stafford house. Throughout the monologue she moans about Zulema and her work but really Doris could not manage without her. We see this when it states, "Zulema doesn't dust. She half-dusts." This shows how Doris cannot trust anyone but herself to do the housework; she feels as if she doesn't need anyone to do it and when they insist of sending someone they aren't even good. ...read more.


This shows how Doris has been hurt by many people. She had gone through months of pain to have a child and when it dies at birth she would want to mourn and be looked after. When a midwife says that her child doesn't deserve a name and takes it away, you feel sorry for Doris and understand why she is the way she is. She didn't even get to say her goodbyes to the baby, who she wanted to call John but he wasn't permitted a name. She also has no choice when she gets sent to Stafford house. The decision will be made for her when she goes. She is reluctant to accept the fact that other people can help her. Zulema always tells Doris that she has to go to Stafford house; Doris doesn't get a choice what she wants to do she just gets told. The only choice Doris gets is at the end of the monologue. She could get help off the policeman but she knows that if she does then she will be sent to Stafford house. Doris is appreciative for the policeman caring about her. We see this when it states, "Thank you, Thank you!" This shows how Doris wants the policeman to hear her and she is thankful for his care. She wanted to show him how much just a simple question could make her feel loved and wanted and how his kindness was appreciated more than he would properly ever realize. ...read more.


I think that Doris's situation of being old and forgotten is made worse by her loneliness. People have given up making an effort with her because she seems to have given up with life and socializing. Bennett is trying to show how she has an appearance of a obstinate old lady yet she is really funny and sensitive just nobody cares to find that forgotten side of her. You see how she has been let down throughout life and feel very sorry for her. Several people have let her down and hurt her and her life could have been lived so many different ways. The whole monologue makes you see why old people are the way they are. It makes you comprehend why they don't understand new technologies or societies; there 'day' was so different to what life is like today. Alan Bennett makes us get to know Doris in different ways. We see different sides to her, we see her when she is emotional, happy, in pain and annoyed. She reminisces her experiences and we begin to like her because she is talking to us like friends. The whole monologue teaches us not to judge people from how they appear because once you get to know them they could have been hurt or let down to make them be the way they are. In conclusion, Alex Bennett's monologue is not only well written and humorous but portrays a deeper and more meaningful message, intended to make us think about the elderly in today's society. ...read more.

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