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Dramatic Monologue Essay - Talking Heads

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Introduction

Dramatic Monologue Essay - Talking Heads In reading Alan Bennett's selection of monologues I have analysed each character used. Having studied them closely I have gained respect for each character; in dealing with their myriad of individual, and sometimes shared, problems they each have still managed to live, what is to them if no-one else, full and relatively "normal" lives. But I have also developed feelings of sympathy towards one character in particular. With another I have developed an overwhelming lack of compassion. Bennett describes the character in "A Chip in the Sugar", a middle-aged man called Graham Whittaker, quite guardedly at first. The way that Bennett imparts information to his readers is very sporadic. In doing this he tends to deceive us a little, letting our own imaginations run wild about the truth behind the character, their real persona. This can make it difficult to trust the opinions, tone and actual basis of the monologue. Graham Whittaker is an unreliable narrator. He relates conversations had between his mother, her friend Mr Turnbull and himself with a rather self-pitying slant. He makes out that he was ignored and ridiculed by Mr Turnbull and his mother, who at the beginning of the monologue says how much Graham means to her. ...read more.

Middle

What is most disappointing about Graham is the appearance of happiness when he starts to find out that Mr Turnbull isn't all he says he is. Is this because he wants to feel needed/necessary to his mother? Or is it fear? Fear of going back to the hostel surrounded by people that he doesn't understand, "I sometimes feel a bit out of it as I've never had any particular problems," or is it something darker? Bennett hints at this at the end of the sketch when he writes of Graham's seeming indifference to his mother's pain. The structure of the last couple of paragraphs is a defiant tone, followed by relief from Graham. For his mother it is heartbreak followed by reluctant acceptance. All in all, a heart-wrenching finale for Mrs Whittaker without any support from her selfish, unstable son. After reading "A cream cracker under the settee" I felt so much sympathy for the character Doris. Bennett's telling of her plight gave me an insight into her pain and loneliness and elicited a feeling of terror. From the beginning we are given a view of Doris that is of a very proud and hardened old woman. ...read more.

Conclusion

As Doris sits by the front door, slowly giving in to the pain in her legs and, I expect, by this time further pain throughout her body from sitting on the floor for so long, I felt so much compassion for her and yet also a little happiness - would she be saved? Or would she be allowed to rest with her husband? As the sketch comes to a close the policeman comes to the door and asks Doris if she is ok. Being the proud lady she is she refuses to admit that she needs help. "No, I'm all right." As he walks back up the path we finally see what Bennett wanted us to see. That sometimes it is okay to be alone in the dark, because to let go and drift away to that feared, unknown place, ultimately you won't be alone anymore. I feel sympathy for Doris because she was alone. When she chose to die, there was no-one there to be with her, or talk to her. All she had was memories of her husband and the life they led together. The only person who would even know she was gone would be her Social Services appointed cleaner. "It's done with now." Access to Humanities - English Literature ...read more.

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