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Analyse Bennett's scene directions and language in the play. How does he convey the complexity and her feelings about society?

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Analyse Bennett's scene directions and language in the play. How does he convey the complexity and her feelings about society? By Jamie Theobald 10sjw Alan Bennett's portrayal of a lonely old woman provokes many contrasting emotions from the reader and audience, two of which are sympathy and antipathy. Due to the fact that the chosen medium is a monologue stage directions play a very important part (Bennett also likes to take control of how his plays are interpreted). The first stage direction mentions 'her semi-detached house', this indicates that the character of Doris is aspirant middle-class, this along with other things helps to stress her snobbish personality. The house has 1960s furnishings and shows how Doris doesn't want to move on from her prime (when she was happily married to Wilfred and was pregnant with her first child) and tends to dwell in the past, this indicates the insecurity of her character about the death of her baby and the loss o f her husband. ...read more.


The other predominant character in the monologue is Zulema, Doris' shoddy cleaner and helper. The relationship between the two women is one of total lack of respect for one another. Doris thinks that Zulema is a useless cleaner who constantly bullies her is always cuts corners with the house work, 'She half-dusts'. Zulema thinks that Doris is a daft old lady, who can't take care of herself, 'doesn't have the sense she was born with'. Throughout the monologue Doris is presented as a very strong willed women who doesn't want to be controlled, but during her dialogue with Zulema we see a weaker side, 'I said 'Yes Zulema.'. Given Doris' earlier comments about Zulema, she is surprisingly docile in her response. Bennett is showing how powerless the elderly are, even strong-minded women like Doris. Zulema's role as an 'official' voice could mean Doris has to go into a home and both of them know this. Zulema is also highly unsympathetic and even threatens Doris, 'You're on trial here'. ...read more.


I think this is Bennett trying to make the audience feel more sympathy with Doris as she went through a very traumatic experience without any help or counselling. In contrast to the rest of the play I think Bennett is saying how that in some ways modern society has improved by becoming more humane and wanting to help people. Bennett increases the stereotypical appearance of his character by giving her typical 'old peoples' views on modern society, 'Don't know anybody round here now'. I think that the whole play is based on this opinion. The title, 'Cream cracker under the settee', is about something that used to be good and is now discarded and rotting, it's the same thing with the main character; an old lady, somebody that used to be very happy and has slowly degraded to become sad and dying. The whole thing is a metaphor for the decaying, hostile appearance of modern society that Bennett believes has rotted since the golden days of the past. Jamie Theobald 10sjw Page 2 ...read more.

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