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Examine Bennett's characterisation of Graham in

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Introduction

Examine Bennett's characterisation of Graham in "A chip in the sugar" and Irene in " A lady of letters." How does Bennett's choice of the monologue form express their sense of isolation and reveal their weakness? Allan Bennett wrote a series of six monologues for television in 1987. We have been concentrating on two of these, "A chip in the sugar" and "A lady of letters". Even though the two stories are different there are many similarities between the characters, both characters are lonely and isolated from most human contact, with the exception of Grahams mother and Irene's social workers. Bennett wrote the stories in monologue form, which makes them interesting to read because they are written fully from the point of view of the main character and are therefor very biased bringing tragedy and comedy at the same time. You have to read between the lines to realise what is really happening in the lives of these troubled people. They never say they are lonely for example but they never talk of any friends or indeed conversation with other people. Graham from "A chip in the sugar" is a middle-aged man who still lives with his mother. He has lived with only a woman all of his life so some female aspects show through in him like doing the house work and the way he looks after his mother he seems to think he is the mother. ...read more.

Middle

Mr Turnbull doesn't really like Graham as he keeps making little remarks about him being mentally ill, like "I don't believe in mental illness". When Graham describes Mr Turnbull it brings out a comical element as you can hear Graham's prejudices, snobbery and jealousy. You have to use your imagination to think what Mr Turnbull is really like. Just like Graham from " a chip in the sugar", Irene from, "a lady of letters " is middle aged and lived with her mother. Irene is an old fashioned person and, like Graham, she doesn't know any other way of living, she has her own routine that she is set to and has stayed like that since her mother died. When Irene is bored she writes letters as like a hobby, she thinks she is doing good sending letters to the council and such, complaining about the standard of the streets and anything else she can kind to complain about. But in actual fact she is annoying everyone she writes to. Irene writes many letters because she is lonely and thinks that, by getting a reply its like she has a friend, the pen she writes with she also calls a friend, "its been a real friend" Irene is like Graham In many ways because both of them are quick to judge and are not very trusting, Graham with Mr Turnbull and Irene with the social workers. ...read more.

Conclusion

"This is the first taste of freedom I've has in years" it is better for her, having a mental illness, to have a structured life and she finally has some friends. When it comes to the social workers they are ineffective, as neither graham nor Irene take any notice of them, this is because with graham, Steve treats them like they are all children, and talks to them like they are simple, and uses catchphrases to try and get his point across, with Irene when the social workers come round she just thinks all they seem to answer is "me too" which for a person with mental instabilities she needs someone who listens to her and makes her feel as if they do care about her rather than as if her point is insignificant and it happens to everyone. This is how Bennet portrays them, he reveals this contempt for them, satire. I think that Allan Bennett was very clever by using a monologue as you hear one side of the story, if gets your imagination working better because you have to imagine what is really going on and see past the shallow view of the two characters. If we knew the truth and didn't only see what graham and Irene see then it would be uninteresting to read. ...read more.

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