• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How do Alan Bennett and the director of Talking Heads invoke both humour and pathos?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How do Alan Bennett and the director of Talking Heads invoke both humour and pathos? Alan Bennett and the director invoke humour and pathos in numerous ways in each of the Talking Head speeches. In all the Talking Heads, there are recurring themes, such as loneliness (A Cream Cracker under the settee) and exaggerated pride or self-confidence (Her Big Chance). None of the characters are truly happy, although the little happiness can come their way through surprising means. Graham finds happiness when his mother doesn't leave him for Mr Turnbull, although, ironically, in the future he may have been happier if she had. Each person has a secret, which is hidden, yet perhaps subconsciously known, and isn't revealed, Grahams slightly fragile mental state, Doris wish to die, Susan's alcoholism and loss of faith and Lesley's promiscuity, and lack of talent. Although none of the character aims to be funny, Bennett makes them speak in a way which causes the audience to laugh at the situation (sometimes absurd), that they are in, or their choice of words. For example, Grahams mothers comment about the man at Tescos, or Susans flower arranging account at the church. A lot of humour comes from the characters seriousness retelling of stories in a language, which they perceive to be so, yet to us, they aren't. ...read more.

Middle

Lesley, in "My Big Chance" causes people to feel sympathetic towards her, because she is a woman who is seeking to be liked. Lesley tries to appear to be professional, and she does reiterate this throughout her speech, often saying she is a professional, and that she would rather curl up with a book. However, she is far for this, as she is made to seem not this, "You look an interesting person. I like interesting people". Bennett changes the perception that Lesley is 'professional', when she says "You won't be able to tell my tits from my goose pimples". Bennett is very successful in showing her lack of intelligence, foolishness and how she can't see these traits in herself, and it is at these things, we can laugh at her attempts to appear otherwise. Alan Bennett uses bathos to provide humour in "A Bed among the Lentils". "Godfrey's bad enough but I am glad I wasn't married to Jesus". It is the link between something that is ordinary, to something that is godly, which provides the humour. This also occurs in "Her Big Chance", the juxtaposition saying she killed someone, then missing it because it was interesting, provides humour because of its ridiculousness. ...read more.

Conclusion

Graham is concerned about this relationship his mother has with Mr Turnbull. This role reversal, does provide humour, and sympathy, because you would expect a 40-something year old man to not be living on his own, and you would expect his mother to be worrying about Graham, and not vice versa. An example of the humour in this Talking Head is when Graham's mother, Vera, launches a purely enjoyable attack on the vicar. This reveals her lack of understanding and her prejudices. In "A Chip in the Sugar", Graham is the complete opposite of his mother, Vera's love interest, Mr Turnbull. Graham is your so-called typical Guardian reader - avoids deodorant, is environmentally conscious, likes date and walnut bread. When he comes into conflict with Mr Turnbull, a racist and bigamist, yet well off, and well dressed, this provides humour. Grahams mother can be seen to have an imbalanced view of life, perhaps because she can't break away from her dominating son. She is annoyed that the money she gave to the poor and needy as gone to waste because, "it would have brought me some Quality Street". This is an example of bathos, which, in some respects, does provide humour to the watcher/reader. When watching the Talking Heads, the director uses cuts, different camera angles and the introduction of music when the speaker is talking to good effect. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Alan Bennet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Alan Bennet essays

  1. How does Alan Bennett reveal to us the character of Lesley and how do ...

    Bennett reveals the issue of loneliness and isolation in mundane lives using very different methods; he uses society as a big part of the characters isolation. In reference to 'Her Big Chance' the society frowns upon her. Bennett makes the reader respond to Lesley as a woman who is being taken advantage of with out realisation.

  2. 'In his Talking Heads plays Alan Bennett presents vivid portraits of human frailty and ...

    Graham does not feel comfortable about his mental illness at all because he becomes very paranoid. He believes that there is someone watching the house and becomes worse when he is left on his own. They take the camera very close to Grahams face and he looks into it, which

  1. How Does Alan Bennett Reveal The Speaker in 'A Lady of Letters' And Provoke ...

    Throughout the monologue Bennett voices many stereotypes through Irene's opinionative character, including views on people from different races and social groups.

  2. Studying Two Alan Bennett Monologues.

    ...and it wore, and it wore, and it wore, till it went and it was-n't no more. Verse 2 ...for there nev-er was an-y-thing like it be-fore, and I don't dare hope there will be an-y-more, but it's gone 'cause it just had to be, still it wears in my memory.

  1. 'Write a critical appreciation, in which you compare at least two of Alan Bennett's ...

    For instance, there is a brief moment of tension when the leaflet comes through the door which Doris is sleeping against; ...'Love God and close all gates'. (Doris closes her eyes. We hear some swift steps up the path and the letter-box opens as a leaflet comes through, Swift steps away again as she opens her eyes)

  2. "One character talking to a camera for half an hour, Do you call that ...

    Next we hear about her visit from the Police, which is where we find out what she really is like. At first, the male police man talks about the different types of letters which she had wrote in the past, and then we find out that she has been told to keep the peace by the courts.

  1. How is contemporary society portrayed in 'Talking Heads'?

    A lot of other religion related comments are made and I think they are trying to make people realise that we just go with what the trend is at the time. There is only one encounter with religion in 'A Chip in the Sugar', which is when the vicar is visiting.

  2. How Does Alan Bennett achieve both a sense of tragedy and humour in his ...

    'He grips my hand in public, nay brandishes it.' This line implies that Susan feels trapped in her marriage and is unable to stop Geoffrey taking control and making her decisions for her. Doris has also had a very unhappy life with several tragic incidents, most notably, the loss of her baby at a very young age.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work