• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Outside Dog

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Twentieth Century Drama - Literature Coursework How does Alan Bennett sustain the audience's interest in the monologue "The Outside Dog"? In the Outside dog, Alan Bennett uses the character of Marjory to narrate, but we are also shown how in denial she has become during a long and unfair relationship with her husband, or rather her husband and his dog - Stuart and Tina. We feel sympathy towards Marjory but are curious as to why and how she has developed such strange attitudes. From the outset, there seems to be a bitter rivalry between Marjory and Tina, which sustains the reader's interest as we can all relate to jealousy. Marjory feels excluded from the relationship between her husband and his dog. Bennett involved this cleverly as only the best writers are the ones who write what you're thinking. Bennett reveals Marjory's character slowly and deliberately, using a mixture of information, humour and context. The style, naturally, given that we're reading a monologue, is conversational, but with each new character or plot line introduced, the big picture takes shape. It is likely that most readers will have sympathy with the narrator, although Marjory doesn't give us much reason to warm to her; generally speaking, her character is remote and neutral. The aspect of her character that most readers will find engaging, however, is her black sense of humour. This is probably one way in which Marjory is able to cope with the cameo part she appears to be playing in this rather tragic sequence of events. ...read more.

Middle

She seems distant, remote and unconnected at all times, particularly when he's 'carrying on' as she puts it. Even this, typically connecting human pursuit, is rendered ordinary, mundane and unwelcome. Of course, the marriage wasn't always unhappy; Marjory reminisces about lovely evenings together, although, they were often interrupted by Stuart having to 'walk the dog'; this could possibly of been her metaphor for finding a new victim. Fairly soon into the narrative we are given reason to be suspicious about Stuart's activities, and it's this continuous suspense that again grips the reader. Insights into the marriage mixed with slues as to what his nights out walking the dog might really entail. Even when he returns, sometimes after midnight, and washes his clothes it's pretty clear from her choice of words that she suspects him of wrong-doing. Bennett also introduces role-play between husband and wife. She asks whether she's safe to go to the library; he says don't go over any waste ground, but you get the feeling that they both know exactly what's going on, although it's unsaid. The fact that she asks his advice comes as a bit of a surprise, given that they both know what he's up to. Bennett has now established the two main areas the reader inhabits: Marjory's world, and the marital world, with the outside world occasionally crashing in. Bennett now increases the drama by introducing the Police presence, and that the house is about to take a visit. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is as if her world has actually been violated and a sense of panic comes over her; she even 'sneaks' into her own house to put the slacks in a bin bag ready to dispose of them. The reader is drawn to the brilliantly co-timed acquittal and significant discovery. Finally, in between having sex twice with him, she goes out into the yard and puts the soiled slacks back under the kennel, with Bennett giving the reader one final choice to make. Why did she do it? The final ambiguity of why Marjory decided to put the evidence back, leaving it undiscovered, is left for the reader to decide. Given that Marjory is the main/only character and the whole story is shot through the prism of her life, it is fair to say that her qualities, views, feelings are what drives the story and hold your attention. That she is expressing confidential information is wonderful, making the reader feel 'in on it'. That she is lonely, vulnerable and despairing will be obvious, but our ability to sympathise is less so. Marjory holds the key to our enjoyment of this piece and the methods and techniques by which Bennett brings the characters and plot alive are varied. If I had to choose three main aspects of why I enjoyed this piece so much, they would be the humour, the dramatic timing of each new twist and Marjory's deadpan delivery. ...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. In A Lady of Letters how does Alan Bennett sustain the audiences interest in ...

    This method of sustaining the audience's interest is highly successful, as at this point the audience is perhaps surprised that something as little as letter writing can grow into something that may cause Miss Ruddock getting into serious trouble if she carries on.

  2. The Pastons and Their England by H.S. Bennett is an interesting story about the ...

    William Paston that being educated in law would inevitably protect them and their possessions. For example, this belief is illustrated by Agnes Pastons letter which advises her sons to remember their father's advice "to think once [every] day of your father's counsel to learn the law...whosoever should dwell at Paston,

  1. Studying Two Alan Bennett Monologues.

    56, which land her in prison. Prison life dramatically changes Irene because she has now found the friends and companionship she had longed for in the outside world. Irene making friends in prison is surprising because she is now mixing with people who were the victims of the letters she used to write.

  2. How does Bennett explore the 'ordinary, uneventful, desperate' aspects of life through literature?

    movie thus undermining its significance, and the director ignoring her opinion subverts her values and beliefs, revealing how desperate her character is, as a result we (the audience) believe that she has become accustomed the starring in pornographic movies. Leslie's perpetual repetition of 'professional' suggests her attempt to embellish events

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