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Examine the ways in which Bennett explores the theme of isolation and loneliness in Bed among the Lentils and A Cream Cracker under the settee

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Examine the ways in which Bennett explores the theme of isolation and loneliness in ?Bed among the Lentils? and ?A Cream Cracker under the settee? In his collection of monologues, talking heads, Alan Bennett explores the themes of isolation and loneliness through the characters of Doris in ?a Cream cracker under the Settee? and Susan in ?Bed among the Lentils?. The opening stage instructions of ?a Cream cracker under the Settee? describes Doris as a woman ?in her seventies... sitting slightly awkwardly on a low chair?. This chair is set in the middle of the room which subtly suggests that she feels islanded in her own home; this implies a feeling of isolation from the outside world. As well as being a widow, she has no regular contact with friends or neighbours, so instead of in confiding in other people, she expresses her feelings by talking to a photograph of Wilfred her late husband. ...read more.


just the two of us? now seem very poignant in his absence. Susan, the Vicar?s wife in ?Bed among the Lentils? also experiences loneliness and isolation, however her feelings are sourced from within a marriage and tight knit community, something which Doris does not have. As the Vicar?s wife, Susan is in regular contact with the members of the Parish. However, she is cynical of their affection and devotion for her husband Geoffrey, accusing them of ?thinking they love God, but they just love Geoffrey?. Her cynicism separates her from that group of people that she labels ?the fan club?. Despite being in frequent contact with ?the fan club? she is not part of it and feels isolated by that. Susan also questions her own belief in God and doubts her husband?s true faith, saying that he avoids her questioning and that ?The subject?s never discussed.? She believes that Geoffrey sees his ministry as ?just a job like any other?. ...read more.


This suggests a deep seated feeling of isolation in her situation, with no outlet to express her true emotions. In conclusion, the themes of isolation and loneliness are central to the progression of the two monologues, ?Bed among the Lentils? and ?A Cream Cracker under the settee?. Doris and Susan are two women who ponder over missed opportunities to prevent their feelings of isolation. Because of decisions in the past, such as Doris?s decision not to make any attempt to ?mix?, and Susan?s decision to marry Geoffrey mean that they have to sit on the sideline and watch life pass them by. The difference between the two is that Susan makes an attempt to make her life better by sleeping with Ramesh. On the other hand, Doris refuses any attempt by anyone to help her; even the policeman is turned away. Also, her body is unable to do things that she used to be able to do, even if her mind is willing. By the end, both women are still in a similar place to where they started; alone and isolated in a fast moving world. ...read more.

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