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Although A Cream Cracker Under the Settee is a dramatic monologue we are presented with a range of characters. Show how Bennett presents these characters and consider how realistic you find them.

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Introduction

Although A Cream Cracker Under the Settee is a dramatic monologue we are presented with a range of characters. Show how Bennett presents these characters and consider how realistic you find them. Just by reading the title of the play, 'A Cream Cracker Under the Settee' we can get a feel of what sort of mood the play will produce. A Cream Cracker is a very old and unoriginal biscuit, and is not as popular as it used to be. It is also quite a plain, boring type of biscuit; there is not much excitement in it. The location of the biscuit gives us even more insight into the monologue. The biscuit is pushed away, shoved beneath the settee. It is not even under a sofa, which would give a more comfortable sounding effect. The biscuit is forgotten about, neglected and nobody really cares about it. It is cast aside, and unappreciated. The effect of the title is even quite depressing to think about. Being a cream cracker under the settee is not a situation anybody would like to be in. When presented with the title, I had a suspicion that the biscuit didn't really have an important role in the play. That it was just minor part in the bigger picture. The other interpretation was that it was a simile, a way of describing Doris. When given the name, Doris, as the leading character at the beginning of the play, an image of the appearance, personality and particularly age is immediately formed in our minds. This person is obviously a female, and we expect a fairly old lady around sixty or seventy as nowadays, Doris is not particularly fashionable name for younger, or even middle aged people (we later find out that her exact age is seventy five). This is all we can deduct from the name of the character. Alan Bennett has left a few hints in the script so that the audience can work out the rough location of the setting. ...read more.

Middle

She may have maternal affections built up inside of her, and expresses them to Wilfred by patronising him, to make up for the child they lost. Only she expresses her love in the wrong way. She grudgingly allows an evergreen bush in the garden, although she would prefer concrete despite it being unattractive and original. She complains of the leaves, which shows that she cares about other people think of her and her reputation. In my opinion, Doris is rather a selfish woman, who cares for nothing other than her own needs, and doesn't really bring Wilfred's opinion into it. She talks condescendingly about him, and portrays him as something that she has to tolerate. She doesn't value him as a person. Doris is self-seeking in the way that every idea Wilfred has is silly, trivial and must be clean. He is not really allowed to think for himself. I can imagine Doris and Wilfred in their younger years. Doris being the typical bossy, overbearing wife, always nagging at her husband, who dreads her moods, but continues to try and make a good life for her. I also find that Doris tends to exaggerate events, such as threatening to use the cream cracker as evidence to get rid of Zuleema. Doris manages to constantly bring sanitation and cleanliness into the conversation, whatever the case, never forgetting to emphasize its importance. One of the things that Doris talks about is when she miscarried John. The nurse attending to Doris wasn't sensitive or sympathetic and made the baby out to be some thing that was dirty and messy. It seems that Doris got no support from Wilfred either. During the pregnancy, Doris must have made a tremendous effort to prepare everything (such as the pram), so that the child could be bought up in the right sort of environment. Each thing would have to be sterilised, so it would be safe for the baby, however the midwife contradicted this. ...read more.

Conclusion

She then goes on to entertain us with the thought of not being able to report to the authorities because she has 'destroyed the evidence' in other words, eaten the cream cracker she found under settee. There comes a dramatic change towards the end of the performance, where Doris is presented with a choice. She can choose between life and death. For the first time another character is introduced and a dialogue takes place. The boy in the garden and the person delivering the leaflet have come to her door, but she didn't realise she had a chance to get help before it was too late. The policeman's role corresponds with life. If she confesses her situation and asks him for help, she will be fine, and obtain support, and then recover from her fall fine. However, she may risk having to go to Stafford House, because they will have found out that she is not fully capable of looking after herself and needs professional care. Doris is not willing to be put into a home, therefore takes the option to remain helpless, but in her own home, where she would comfortable and content. She is reluctant and hesitant to reply to the policeman's call, but sends him away, knowing that she will not last much longer. But in doing this, she remains true to her stubborn nature, and perceives her fate. After all, her death will only be another paragraph in the local paper. Just another unfortunate pensioner found that has passed away alone during the night. The conversation is brief, but enough to convince him that Doris is all right and not hurt. Although, it sounds like she regrets the decision soon after. As the light fades at the end of the performance, the audience is left with quite a melancholy feeling. The light fading is significant, as it represents her death. We are not really anticipating this, but even when we know what will happen next, we still want to find out what happened when her body is discovered. This dramatic effect is very simple, yet moving and emphatic. ...read more.

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