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

How Does Alan Bennett achieve both a sense of tragedy and humour in his 'Talking Heads' monologues?

Extracts from this document...


How Does Alan Bennett achieve both a sense of tragedy and humour in his 'Talking Heads' monologues? Alan Bennett uses a variety of techniques to convey a sense of both tragedy and humour in his 'Talking Heads' monologues. I will be looking specifically at 'Bed Among The Lentils' and 'Cream Cracker Under The Settee.' Alan Bennett achieves both of these effects by use of several clever choices regarding the casting as well as sound and visual effects. There are two very different types of humour in 'Bed Among The Lentils' and 'Cream Cracker Under The Settee'. BATL uses a lot of sarcastic, bitter humour whereas CCUTS uses some wry, discreet humour and at times Doris, the elderly woman in CCUTS, seems to be mocking herself "Love God and close all gates." "I ought to put a note on the gate. 'Not my leaves.' The second example gives the impression that she is almost embarrassed by having leaves in her garden and feels that people must acknowledge the fact that they are not her leaves. Susan mocks other people and not herself "Big day for you", she says this to Mr and Mrs Belcher as they carry out simple tasks. ...read more.


Doris is also extremely reliant on Zulema to carry out jobs in and around the house for her. this frustrates Doris as she would rather be doing this herself to ensure that they are done properly. 'Zulema doesn't dust. She half dusts.' This shows that Doris is unsatisfied with Zulema and is rather fussy when it comes to cleanliness. Susan is constantly criticising her husband and questions his religious believes. 'It could be that Geoffrey doesn't believe in God either' This shows that Susan does not believe in God, this may be because she is resentful towards the church as the people involved seem to divert Geoffrey's attention away from her. However, Susan is very loving and affectionate towards Ramesh, this may be because he is different to Geoffrey because he lets her make her own decisions and doesn't refer to her as the 'vicar's wife' Doris is an extremely petty and obsessive person when it comes to cleanliness. 'Well, Zulema, I bet you haven't dusted the top of that.' She is referring to her wedding photo when she says this and this is a good example of her pettiness as you cannot expect a cleaner to dust the top of a photograph! ...read more.


During CCUTS Doris does not use any gestures and this shows her frailness and once again creates sympathy. Both of these performance pieces are presented in the form of a dramatic monologue and this is an extremely effective way of telling the two stories. By having only one person on the stage it concentrates the viewer's attention on that character and ensures that they have a greater awareness to the character's story. In my view, the camera is hidden to the character and they are looking back on their lives. This is very effective as the characters are completely open about there feelings and emotions. If they were done in play form I do not think they would be as effective in conveying a sense of both humour and tragedy as the viewer's attention would occasionally be drawn towards other characters on stage. In conclusion I feel that these two dramatic monologues are extremely effective at conveying both humour and tragedy. They achieve this effect through the use of effective choices with regards to the stage directions and sound effects. The dramatic monologue form makes the whole thing feel more personal and creates sympathy for these characters. Written by Will Annear dpfohpeohjepohjdthlfogjf[ ...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 The Speaker in 'A Lady of Letters' And Provoke ...

    However in a rather bizarre way this removes a key literary value from the text. This is because throughout 'A Lady of Letters' Bennett uses contrasting language, adopting a sophisticated language for Irene's formal 'letter-writing', alongside ordinary every day language, which separates Irene from her letters.

  2. Studying Two Alan Bennett Monologues.

    While carrying out housework she severely injures herself. She tries to attract attention and when a policeman knocks on the door she decides to turn him away. Doris refuses to consider moving to an old people's home where everyone "smells of pee".

  1. In A Lady of Letters how does Alan Bennett sustain the audiences interest in ...

    She has been a prostitute on and off and did away with her kiddy, accidently when she was drunk and upset. Bonny little face, you'd never think it.' Also, the fact that she gets on with everyone contradicts her past in which she hardly knew anyone on her street; 'I'm friends with practically everyone though apart from Bridget.'

  2. Alan Bennett's "Talking Heads" monologues are described as being 'short stories'. With reference to ...

    Similarly, Graeme in "A Chip in the Sugar" is a middle aged man who retreats to his bedroom when he is depressed. He is lonely and he substitutes socialising for pornographic magazines. He also suffers from self-delusion and believes that his mother needs him.

  1. “A cream cracker under the settee” - Production Analysis

    A full camera shot of Doris shows her struggling to lift her self up so she can move to the front door, she then says, "This must be what they give them frame things for." With the music still playing the lights fade as Doris is still helplessly struggling to move her self.

  2. A cream cracker under the setee- by Alan Bennett (How does Alan Bennett ...

    For example when Doris and Zulema are arguing over Stafford house she states, "Yes. Smelling of pee." She is saying how you would have a nice time sat by the flower beds but you would still stink of pee if you lived in Stafford house.

  1. Discuss the Theme of Isolation and Loneliness In 'Talking Heads'.

    "The subject's never discussed" Instead of changing her life with Geoffrey, Susan decides to have an affair with Mr Ramesh, who owns the local shop. She feels she needs someone to talk to and by having an affair feels she will be loved.

  2. Talking Heads - Alan Bennett.

    Each character keeps up a pretence of "normality" and Bennett shows us, through the eye of the camera, how each person struggles to maintain a facade. The characters don't seem to talk to the audience, but at it. Susan, the vicar's wife, tells the story of her alcoholism and rehabilitation.

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