• 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 maintain the audiences interest in A Lady of Letters?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

GCSE Literature Post 1914 Drama How does Alan Bennett maintain the audience's interest in 'A Lady of Letters'? Most plays maintain their audience's interest by including a diverse range of characters and many different scene changes, but A Lady of Letters is not most plays. Written by playwright Alan Bennett, A Lady of Letters portrays only one character - Irene Ruddock. Whereas most plays have the option to, for example, create and develop relationships between the characters, dramatic monologues do not have this option, due to there only being one character. Bennett, however, has the talent and ability to overcome these problems and more. One of his techniques is gradually revealing information about Miss Ruddock, which is vital to the progression of the story. It also makes it feel quite personal to the audience and gives the impression that you are getting to know her, but then, Bennett slips in another technique: making the character change dramatically. Apart from maintaining interest, this strategy should also create it by opening up a new branch of the story for the audience to think about and explore. Also, Bennett does manage to introduce new characters to the story, but in description form rather than in person. Despite the absence of the person, this technique can be used very cleverly. ...read more.

Middle

Also, the audience may find these reasons for writing letters petty and pointless, almost as if Miss Ruddock will write about anything and builds on the fact that she is lonely and isolated. After a visit from the police, Miss Ruddock is put on a suspended sentence, meaning that if she writes anymore letters she will be sent to prison. During her suspended sentence, Miss Ruddock says "New policeman now. Certainly keeps an eye on No.56. In there an hour at a stretch. He wants reporting". Immediately after this the scene changes and we see Miss Ruddock in prison. This obviously implies - but doesn't prove - that she was the person who reported the policeman and should verify the audience's suspicions of her writing inappropriate and cruel letters. Another part of the story that Bennett withholds information about until the dramatic climax is the kiddy over the road. It is a recurring story throughout the play, but to start with it will not be seen as important. The first time the kiddy is mentioned is when Irene says "We've got a new couple moved in opposite. Don't look very promising. The kiddy looks filthy". This is kept very brief and the audience will probably think nothing of it, just like everything else Irene has talked about so far. ...read more.

Conclusion

Despite this, when she does go to prison, Miss Ruddock wears a shirt only buttoned halfway with the sleeves rolled up, she has flesh showing and has her hair down. Her mood has also changed dramatically and she comes across as radiant, friendly and happy. Not only does her clothing reflect her mood, but also the setting and lighting. Before prison, Miss Ruddock sits in her house which has old, dark coloured furniture and only one window, making it quite dark and dingy. This is a sad and depressing environment and reflects Miss Ruddock's mood at this stage. On the other hand, in prison, there is clean, lightly coloured and modern furniture, with windows all along both walls letting bright light flood into the room and again reflecting her mood which is now radiant and happy. Bennett has used this technique effectively and should certainly maintain the audience's interest. In conclusion, Alan Bennett has successfully captured and maintained the interest of the audience with 'A Lady of Letters'. He has given the audience a lot of subjects and characters to think about as they leave the theatre. His mix of relaxed and dramatic scenes, such as the vicar visiting Irene and immediately after the police arriving and the scene ending in a dramatic climax, captivates the audience and keeps them engaged. So, therefore Bennett has succeeded and solved his problem of enthralling viewers with an initially monotonous sounding play by creating a captivating masterpiece. ...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. Alan Bennett

    However we can not help but feel sympathetic towards him, which see to twist admiration for him, as we can not see it as an appropriate justification. We feel disgust towards him for committing the murder, but then think to ourselves he was brought up with his own thoughts, feelings and values.

  2. The Outside Dog

    The police interest/enquiry very quickly turns into an arrest and as soon as Marjory is alone, she turns back into the solitary, deluded, muttering woman that we met at the beginning of the story. As each new event occurs e.g.

  1. Studying Two Alan Bennett Monologues.

    It seems to me that Alan Bennett writes very realistically. The actors speak directly to camera and alone. It is as if the audience is not watching as far as the speaker is concerned. In some ways this is like a catholic confession.

  2. How does Alan Bennett mix comedy and tragedy? In two monologues look at structure, ...

    By comparison, this opening contains much less characterisation than the opening of 'A Chip in the Sugar'. This could mean that her room has much less bearing on the story than Graham's room. It is a basic and simple opening, like a blank canvass, which leaves scope for Lesley's description to give information to the audience.

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

    In a short story there is a change of environment or a change of characters to signal the end of a scene but there is only one character in the monologues and this is why Bennett has to use the techniques.

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

    So much so that she drinks her problems away and is a secret alcoholic. Her husband is at the very centre of her dissatisfaction, she feels pressured by the constraints and expectations of her role as vicar's wife, and her marriage is not all she wants it to be along with her sex life.

  1. Born in Yorkshire in 1934, Alan Bennett.

    On first reading Talking Heads it is easy to assume that this type of drama would appeal mostly to Northern audiences, they are not all set in the North however, and their appeal is international. Translated into French by Jean-Marie Besset, under the title Chatterboxes, they were critically acclaimed in

  2. What are the different attitudes that the various teachers and students have towards education ...

    It?s an angle. You want us to find an angle.?. A further character that has his own approach to education is Scripps. He stands out from the group for being very religious and this in itself gives him a different way of looking at things.

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