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How does the audience respond to Miss Ruddock in Alan Bennett(TM)s A Lady of Letters? What are Alan Bennett(TM)s messages about society?

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Introduction

How does the audience respond to Miss Ruddock in Alan Bennett's A Lady of Letters? What are Alan Bennett's messages about society? The play 'A Lady of Letters' is about a woman who has an obsession with writing letters to different people about different things saying how she felt. She seems to criticise everything that goes on around in the neighbourhood and it has become a daily routine from which she can't stop herself. Miss Ruddock's lack of friends means that she needs something to occupy her time. It is written in a monologue which is just one character speaking, it shows inner thoughts and feelings. The audience learns that she is very nosy and wants to know about things that are going on around her; she always wants people to know what she thinks and how she feels about what is going on in and around the neighbourhood. An example of this is when a new family moves in across the road from her house and she could hear a baby crying aged no more than 5, then she realises that they go out every night at about 7 o clock and no-one comes in to baby-sit. ...read more.

Middle

She tells the doctor that she has been getting upset like last time and that it was all in her notes, the doctors solution to this was to give her some pills that should hopefully give her a "more balanced view on things". But they didn't work and she was still getting upset, so she went back again and another doctor just gives her more pills. All Miss Ruddock needs are people to talk to but everyone ignores her. In the 1980's Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister of the UK, she thought that everything should be privatised and that people should care for themselves and their families not the welfare of people in the state. she famously said "there is no such thing as society" this is well illustrated in Alan's writing because of how he stresses that Miss Ruddock doesn't know anyone who lives on her street. At one point she says how mother used to know the names of the occupants of every house on the whole street, about halfway through the play she begins commenting of a couple who live opposite that which truthfully she knows nothing about, just her own superstitions which she makes radical judgements on. ...read more.

Conclusion

She describes it as a "holiday camp" this is ironic because she is now praising what she disapproved before. Previously Miss Ruddock is broadcast to be lonely and depressed, although now after being placed in what is commonly seen as a bad place she is happy. We can tell this because of her speech, she speaks irrationally and has a very fast tempo about herself. Also her vocabulary has changed; beforehand she spoke very formally where as now she speaks in slang and uses casual swearwords but "only when the need arises". Whilst in prison Irene explains how she has found freedom whilst being around people, good or bad. Miss Ruddock's last words of the play are "I'm so happy" Bennett has written this as if she is crying and shows that after everything that happens "prosperity is just around the corner". In conclusion i would feel that Bennett's dramatic monologue shows how controversial and self secluded our modern society is and in which the way communication has been overrun by mobile phones and computers, should this be the way the future of the united kingdom unfolds? ?? ?? ?? ?? Guy Nash 11JG 5th December 2008 ...read more.

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