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How does Alan Bennett make effective use of the dramatic monologue to hold the interest of the audience? A cream cracker under the settee

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Introduction

'A CREAM CRACKER UNDER THE SETTEE' By Liam Cresswell. How does Alan Bennett make effective use of the dramatic monologue to hold the interest of the audience? 'A Cream Cracker under the Settee' is a dramatic monologue. A dramatic monologue is a drama piece performed by only one person. By examining the characterisation, humour, timescale and pauses of this monologue this essay will look at the ways Alan Bennett holds the interest of the audience. Characterisation is shown through voices and memory. Doris is the central character in the monologue. She is a 75-year-old down to earth, Yorkshire widow. She is a conscientious lady who, throughout her life has taken a pride in keeping her home spotlessly clean and tidy. She disapproves of Zulema, her home help sent in by the council, doing household chores that she has always managed to do. Doris has high standards where cleanliness is concerned and she is upset that Zulemas work does not meet these standards. In Doris's opinion, Zulema only half dusts and Doris is upset to find things that she would never miss being missed. For example Doris finds dust on top of her wedding photo that has been missed by Zulema. ...read more.

Middle

This makes Doris feel that Zulema is one up because she warned her that this would happen. While Doris is sat on the floor she notices a cream cracker under the settee. This makes Doris mad because she can't remember the last time that she'd had cream crackers and obviously Zulema hadn't cleaned thoroughly under the settee. Doris keeps the cream cracker to show to Zulema the next time she lectures her about Stafford house. To get her own back on Zulema, Doris threatens to send it to, "The director of social services" and put Zulema in the unemployment exchange. Another character referred to in the monologue is Wilfred. Wilfred is Doris's late husband. When Doris reminisces about Wilfred she often add a small joke to help keep the audience interested in Doris's situation. Wilfred and Doris were different in character. Doris was the busy one keeping the home clean and tidy and Wilfred was very laid back with lots of little job to do that were never accomplished. Wilfred always told Doris not to worry when things needed doing, " He'd put it on his list". ...read more.

Conclusion

Her Yorkshire dialect and her use of colloquialisms often portray Doris's humour. A good example of this is when the boy upsets Doris by using her garden as a toilet she says, "He's spending a penny" her use of term makes the action humorous. Pauses are used through out the monologue. These are used for effect and to allow the audience time to make sense of Doris's situation. Longer pauses are used to make an impact on the audience and also allow the audience to reflect on Doris's situation and understand the impact this has on their own thoughts and feelings. In conclusion Alan Bennett uses four effective ways to keep the audiences interest. The characterisation of the monologue is effective. The characters recalled through Doris's memory are kept brief and this brings interest because the audience wants to know more. Doris has a good understanding of the irony of life, in her situation this is comical and interesting bringing in humour. The Yorkshire derelict and use of colloquialisms also adds amusement. By mixing the past and the present the interest of the audience is held and the pauses are used to good effect to build drama and give the audience time to take in what has been said. ...read more.

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