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How does Alan Bennett make 'A Cream Cracker under the Settee' Such a moving and successful piece of drama, given the limitations its form imposes?

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Introduction

How does Alan Bennett make 'A Cream Cracker under the Settee' Such a moving and successful piece of drama, given the limitations its form imposes? Doris, the 75 year old house-proud woman is the main character, the only character in fact in Alan Bennett's dramatic monologue 'A Cream Cracker Under the Settee'. This play is divided into four scenes, each of which are demarcated by blackout. These four scenes show the passage of time throughout one day in the life of Doris, and changes of room and position. Given the limitations its form imposes the play is a successful piece of drama. One of the limitations is that there is only one character, so there cannot be any character conflicts e.g. a fight or an argument. This could however, be used as a way of showing that Doris is lonely. This is one of the ways in which the writer manipulates our feelings about Doris. As she is in her 70's it would not be practical to have her doing her own stunts (probably the reason why we don't see the accident,) ...read more.

Middle

This is where Doris discovers the cream cracker under the settee (hence the name of the play) Doris is really disgusted and angry at such an unhygienic thing. Doris is determined to show this to Social Services if Zulema starts lecturing about Stafford House again. Doris then heads for the window and looks out at the house opposite. She used to know the people there but they went away. This is why Doris does not want to go to a home because these four walls hold many memories, some terrible, some happy but her memories all the same and no-one is going to take them from her. Wilfred did want a dog but Doris found the thought of all the dirt and hair most unhygienic. He didn't get one anyway. Then 'Hello-somebody coming salvation' but she doesn't get any. The only thing she gets is a chance to watch her saviour 'spending a penny' in her garden, which I am sure she would rather not do. ...read more.

Conclusion

They are ironic. One of these lines is 'let the dirt wait. It won't kill you.' This is ironic because in the end it does - she got badly injured whilst trying to get rid of dirt. Another good example is 'Graves, gardens everything's to follow.' This, for Doris, is true because she decides to die because she can't change it, and it will happen because 'everything's to follow' however I think that the best example of irony in this play is not so obvious. It is when the policeman visits Doris. I think that this ironic because Doris is a prisoner in her own house (because of her broken leg) and of course you get policemen in prisons! Overall I think that given the limitations its form imposes 'A Cream Cracker Under The Settee' works very well as a piece of drama. I think this is because even though the action is limited (because it is a monologue) the fact that Doris is in a difficult situation, the way the writer uses this to manipulate our feelings is very effective at keeping people interested in what he writes. 1 ...read more.

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