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A Cream Cracker Under the Settee

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Introduction

A Cream Cracker Under the Settee How does Alan Bennett reveal Doris' character, life and attitude in the dramatic monologue "a cream cracker under the settee"? Many of Bennett's characters are unfortunate and downtrodden, as in the Talking Heads series of monologues that was first performed at the Comedy Theatre in London in 1992, and then transferred to television. This was a sextet of poignantly comic pieces, each of which portrayed several stages in the character's decline from their initial state of denial or ignorance of their predicament, through their slow realization of the hopelessness of their situation, to a typically bleak Bennett conclusion. The dramatic monologue, "a cream cracker under the settee" is from that group of six. It is from the point of view of an elderly lady called Doris, who is insistent that the world of her time is much better then the present. She dwells on the past and tells of how things were back then, and how it has changed for the worst. She had fallen while cleaning a picture of her husband Wilfred and most of the monologue is from Doris sitting on the floor in her living room where she fell. ...read more.

Middle

therefore she takes it upon herself to do it, even though it has been "forbidden" be Zulema. Most probably in Doris' case, even if Zulema had cleaned thoroughly, it would not be good enough for Doris because accepting that Zulema can do it would mean that she would not have to do it, Therefore taking away her independence. When Doris and Wilfred were younger they were said to of had a baby which had died at birth, when the baby had died the nurse had raped it up in newspaper, and in Doris' eyes she associated this with being "dirty". This reveals how Doris does not want her child to have anything to do with anything dirty, even though it is dead, showing her concern. Doris did not want to allow her husband Wilfred to have any hobbies which may involve mess. She is very concerned about what other people may think about her not being absolutely spotless, for example when the leaves from next door blow into her garden, "I ought to put a sign on the gate, not my leaves" this shows how much other peoples opinions matter to Doris, showing that she is neurotic. ...read more.

Conclusion

Doris doesn't feel she needs to be looked after because she believes she is not senile. At this point though she contradicts herself as when a police man comes to check everything is alright she says it is and sends him away, "police man: are you alright? Doris: No. I'm all right." This shows how Doris would rather die then loose her independence as she does not want anyone to think that she cannot take care of herself. This also shows how she has worked herself into a state of mind where she cannot allow herself to give in to the hardship of old age, and refuses to except anyone's help, this could also be because she is embarrassed about the situation she has got herself into. At the end of the monologue the last stage directions are "light fades" this shows how they are suggesting that Doris' life has come to an end and she has given up, you can also take this view from her last line, "never mind. It's done with now, anyway." This leads us to the conclusion that Doris has given up, and knows it is time for her life to end, and that it is "done with now". ...read more.

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