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Cream Cracker Under The Sette , Alan Bennet, Talking Heads

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  • Essay length: 1207 words
  • Submitted: 06/11/2010
GCSE Writing to Inform, Explain and Describe

An extract from this essay...

How does Alan Bennett make the audience feel empathy for Doris in A cream Cracker under the Settee?

A cream cracker under the settee is a dramatic monologue written by Alan Bennett in 1987 for television, as part of his Talking Heads series for the BBC.

Doris is in her seventies. This hints at her being old and vulnerable in need of care and assistance. Moreover, she outlines that she does not "attempt to dust", this is maybe because she is physically unable or consumed by her thoughts.

Zulema says that her "dustings days are over". This makes you feel sorry for Doris and deeply empathise with her. She may have a fear of dirt - rupophobia or she may just be an exceptionally sanitary person.

Furthermore, Zulema exploits Doris' old age and feelings by saying she "doesn't have the sense she was born with", this maybe true but it is inconsiderate towards Doris' feelings. Then again, Zulema does have the right to speak her mind, as she has to put up with Doris's nagging all week.

Doris is never satisfied with Zulema's housekeeping saying, "Zulema doesn't dust, she half-dusts" This emphasises Doris obsession with cleanliness, maybe suggesting that she has OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Alternatively, maybe occupying her mind with such things helps her forget the melancholy she feels deep within.

However, as we progress through the monologue we learn that Zulema in fact intimidates Doris. Ultimately, making Zulema the more dominating character. She does not hesitate in telling Doris "I am the only person that stands between you and Stafford House." In spite of this, Doris is adamant that she will not lose her independence and is sure that she will remain in her own home.

Another good example of this is when "she shoves the duster down the side of the chair". We can only assume that Doris does this to avoid a lecture or confrontation with Zulema, preventing further distress. Again, we feel empathy for Doris as important issues such as treatment of the aged, growing old and life choices are brought to our attention. Therefore, we can conclude that she sometimes feels unhappy and unsettled in her own home.

In the midst of all this, the fact remains Doris is suffering from a "numby" leg. Alan Bennett deliberately places talk about her leg between

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