• 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...


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.


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.


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. 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.

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

    that the audience can see Irene's world in more detail, provoking both sadness and pity in them. Irene consciously confides the loss of her mother to the audience. However Bennett discloses more about both Irene and her personality through what she says unconsciously, using ellipses and non-sequiturs to make the character's speech more life-like particularly in the form of humour.

  1. Studying Two Alan Bennett Monologues.

    In some ways this is like a catholic confession. The characters reveal themselves to be what they are. The writer assumes that you understand the character's emotions and you can relate to them in some way or another. The writer also assumes that you care about what happens to the characters.

  2. How Is Miss Ruddock's Terrible Loneliness Conveyed In Alan Bennett's'A Lady Of Letters'

    When she speaks she is wordy and formal and talks like a letter because she does not talk to people very often and is almost out of practice. Whenever she speaks she uses a verbose style of language where she says more than she needs to as a way of filling up her time.

  1. How does Alan Bennet Maintain Readers Interest

    What we learn about Irene's life, is that she is lonely and lacks friendship, family and in general overall support. When Irene goes to prison she begins to find happiness. This is because she forms friendships and a support network from those who seem genuinely interested in her and are

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

    I don't write letters.' He said, 'Letters.' I said, 'Everyone writes letters. I bet you write letters.' He said, 'Not like you, love.' I said. 'Don't love me. You'd better give me your name and number. I intend to write to your superintendent.'

  1. lady of letters monologue

    The loneliness of Miss Ruddock an how extremely lonely she is shown by the line when she looks at the pen and says 'it's been a real friend' this illustrates that she sees a metal, cold and dead object as a friend, thus making the audience believe that if she

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

    What do I write down??. Rudge always seems to be in a search for the perfect formula for answering a question and writing an essay, and so is very pleased with himself when he realises what Irwin is trying to get them to do ?I get it. It?s an angle.

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