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Compare and contrast the plays George by C G Bond and A Cream Cracker Under the Settee by Alan Bennett in terms of plot, characterisation, theme and dramatic method. Which play had the most impact on you and why?

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Introduction

Compare and contrast the plays George by C G Bond and A Cream Cracker Under the Settee by Alan Bennett in terms of plot, characterisation, theme and dramatic method. Which play had the most impact on you and why? Both George and A Cream Cracker Under the Settee were written in the 1970s - 1980s and reflect some of the changes in society since the Second World War. Britain had become a multi-cultural society. This is reflected in A cream cracker under the settee because Zulema is an exotic name therefore it could imply that she was originally from an area near the West Indies making the play reflect the situation in the social services during the period and now. During the period of Margaret Thatcher's government she claimed to have 'changed everything'. This meant that those who were used to the life just after the Second World War where the elderly were not expected to live in isolation and neighbours were far more knowledgeable about each other's lives were shocked at some of the changes. Some of these changes are portrayed in A Cream Cracker Under the Settee and George. More clearly in A Cream Cracker Under the Settee when Doris says: "Alert somebody. Don't know who. Don't know anybody round here now. Folks opposite, I don't know them. Used to be the Marsdens" This clearly shows that there used to be a community and everybody knew each other but it wasn't there any more. ...read more.

Middle

You were wonderful with her" and that she simply couldn't have his mother stay in a house with them, which shows that that was taken into consideration but denied by Judy. In A Cream Cracker Under the Settee Doris actually chooses to die and the play leads up to this choice. When Doris chooses to die this moment is also very symbolic. "Are you all right? No. I'm all right." When the policeman came along she wanted to ask for help but decided in the end that she would rather die and have her time than go to Stafford House. Stafford House is greatly regarded by Doris as a place where "You go daft there, there's nowhere else for you to go but daft." Throughout the play she has made the impression that she never wants to go to Stafford House and at the end we find out she would rather die. As well as the similarities in the plot the two women are very similar. Both characters are old, widowed women who require the need of visitors. Both women are of working class. The dialect of the characters reinforces this, Doris's accent is that of a Northerner and reflects Alan Bennett as he was a Northerner himself and uses it in his characters. The language is informal and colloquial: "I never saw no list" or "Them's her leaves", she also swears mildly "oh hell, the flaming buffet" when recounting the circumstances of her accident, but later uses the even less offensive "Oh stink". ...read more.

Conclusion

It is non-realistic and bizarre because if it was written for a television programme or something more realistic there would not be a mynah bird talking. Also, because on a stage of the living room the bird would be constantly in view so the audience could not forget about it or ignore it as David and Judy ignored his mother. A Cream Cracker Under the Settee was written for a television drama especially for the actress Thora Hird. The play is more naturalistic and uses convention just as much but it is more subtle and therefore, not as obvious as it is in George. The close-ups enable the viewers to recognise the facial expressions and feel what Doris feels. Although both plays are hard-hitting and involve a lot of impact at the end I think that George has more impact on me because it is revealed more slowly and is seen through the eyes of a mynah bird which makes it more surreal and the moment when David is arguing with George sets the play up for a visual and clear ending of David's mum lying at the bottom of the stairs on the floor for three days. I think that this play has more impact because it isn't just about 'mum' and the isolation she was in but also the relationship she had with her son and the fact that he neglected her and her needs. Although I find George has more impact people may disagree because it is a shock when we realise that Doris has chosen to die. It is a very tense and shocking moment. ?? ?? ?? ?? Hannah Neesam ...read more.

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