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How does Allen Bennett use dramatic devices to reveal Doris character to the audience in A Cream Cracker under the Settee?

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Introduction

Callum Duffee 11 Bell How does Allen Bennett use dramatic devices to reveal Doris character to the audience in "A Cream Cracker under the Settee"? A "Cream Cracker under the Settee", written by Alan Bennett, is a monologue about an elderly woman called Doris who is a widow, living alone in her house. In the play, Doris is dusting and falls of the poof that she was standing on, injuring her hip. Throughout the monologue, Doris's inner character unfolds to reveal her past and present thoughts. This is made clear through the use of dramatic devices, such as props and body language. The play represents how the elderly are coping in today's society and how stereotypes and prejudice can damage them and visa versa. The whole play is set in the living room and hall of Doris' house because she has fallen when attempting to dust an old photograph. She has an obsession with cleanliness and hygiene and does not believe that Zulema does a good enough job. Zulema is a "home help" lady from the elderly home of Stafford House who helps elderly people who are alone and incapable of doing everyday jobs around the home. Doris is annoyed with Zulema because she seems to think she is strong and thinks she can cope alone when really she can't and she doesn't want to face defeat. ...read more.

Middle

While Doris is on the floor after her fall, she is looking at the wedding photo of her and Wilfred, lying cracked on the floor. She talks to the photograph of Wilfred, showing how she feels lonely, and she was no one else to talk to. Doris seems to be happier in the past then she is in the present, this could be for several reasons for this, for instance the fact that back then she was total independent and the "ruler of the roost" so to speak, and she did not need a "home help". Like the wedding photo, props are a big part of the play as there are many mentioned throughout. Some props were seen and talked about in the play; others were only described to us. For example, the pram is used as a prop even though it is not there. In the play, she looks to her right where an empty space is. She says "This is where we had the pram". This shows us that Doris always thinks about it with emotion. She is looking back at her past and thinking how much a part of her life it was. Doris's character gets revealed in a way that she is living in the past, that the pram was a big part of her life and she hasn't moved on. ...read more.

Conclusion

This also shows how she has worked herself into a state of mind where she cannot allow herself to give in to the hardship of old age, and refuses to except anyone's help, this could also be because she is embarrassed about the situation she has got herself into. At the end of the monologue the last stage directions are "light fades" this shows how they are suggesting that Doris' life has come to an end and she has given up. You can also take this view from her last line, "never mind. It's done with now, anyway." This leads us to the conclusion that Doris has given up, and knows it is time for her life to end, and that it is "done with now". Or you can think otherwise, as she says she has given up, it could mean she gives up and feels that she might as well move into Stafford House as her last resort. Alan Bennett's view of the elderly in society today is put across as neglected and limited. He is saying that elderly people are not capable of living alone and should be helped along the way until they passed away. The elderly get neglected by the fact they are old and no one really seems to care about them. Everyone thinks that as they are old, then they need taken care of, all elderly people get stereotyped by the younger people in today's society. ...read more.

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