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

With detailed reference to the text analyse why Doris finally decides to take her own life in "Cream cracker under the settee".

Extracts from this document...


With detailed reference to the text analyse why Doris finally decides to take her own life in "Cream cracker under the settee". In your answer you should comment on society's attitudes towards old people as shown particularly by Zulema and the policeman. Bennett's "Cream cracker under the settee" is a moving monologue about Doris, a seventy five year old, fiercely independent and complex widower who lives on her own in fear of been moved to Stafford House. The play shows her reminiscing about her past, she thinks about many subjects including her late husband Wilfred, her childhood and painful memories of having her baby stillborn which has haunted her ever since. This is the reason foe her obsession with cleanliness. Through these memories I will explore the reasons contributing to Doris' severe unhappiness and eventually to her suicide. I will also be looking at Zulema and the policeman who Bennett uses to voice society's opinions and stereotypes of old people as well as Doris' own attitude towards the elderly. The multi-layered title "A cream cracker under the settee" is very significant foe a number of reasons. It uses the old-fashioned words "cream cracker" and "settee" which suggest that the subject of the monologue is living in the past. After reading the script I noticed that the cream cracker refers to Doris because like the cream cracker she has been pushed out of sight and forgotten about, she is also fragile and crumbling. ...read more.


Doris' relationship with Zulema represents other people's relationships with old people, it shows that they can't be bothered to spend time with them and they are a burden on society. It also shows stereotypical perceptions of the elderly being dependant and not mentally sound which Doris contradicts Doris resents Zulema for the power she has over her; Zulema reports to Stafford house about Doris' well being, if they think that she isn't coping on her own she will be moved into residential care. Doris wants desperately to avoid going to Stafford house because she will lose her independence and because of her own views of older people. "They all smell of pee. And daft half of them banging tambourines." Doris perceptions of elderly people are stereotypical and contradictory. They are not views you would expect from her because she herself is elderly but still sharp and sane. This suggests that she is in denial about her age. This is another reason she decides to take her own life by avoiding help. If she asked the policeman for help she would have received it but almost certainly been moved to Stafford house. She sees there is no way good way out of the situation and would rather die than be moved into a home. The most talked about subject in the play by Doris is the death her baby, when she gave birth to her stillborn baby the midwife said he "wasn't fit to be called anything" he was wrapped in newspaper as if he were dirty, nothing but rubbish. ...read more.


The policeman calls "Hello, hello?" to Doris but he doesn't know her name. He only asks her once if she is all right, pays no further attention to her then walks away. The policeman shows how people relate with old people, he shows interest in her well being but only because he feels that he should then after talking briefly with her he moves on, he shows no extra personal interest in how she is doing. In conclusion I have found four main reasons why Doris decides to commit suicide. She is lonely and misses her husband, she has never got over the death of her baby, she is unhappy and sees no way she can be happy again as she was in her youth and she wants to avoid going to Stafford house. All these points are serious reasons for her unhappiness and are out of her control. She sees no reason in living and has nothing left in her life to look forward to. The play is powerful because although it is specifically about Doris it is also more generally about older people, how they are viewed, treated and their place in society today. It also challenges many stereotypes about the elderly voiced through Zulema, the policeman and Doris herself. It highlights the insecurities harboured by old people and looks into the bond between mother and child even before the birth. Doris' decision to end her life may at first seen unjustifiable, but considering her experiences I can empathise with her resolution of her dilemma. ...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. Marked by a teacher

    Cream Cracker - Explain in detail, and by frequent reference to the text, the ...

    3 star(s)

    The dusting is my department'". Bennett does this because we learn more about Doris's personality through other characters. Although we get a very biased outlook on the other characters, Bennett's way of writing allows the actress to decide how the impression of the character should be.

  2. A Cream cracker under the settee.

    Will she call for help or wont she?" Doris's use of language is interesting because she uses old words to explain things and talks as if she was still in the 19th century when she was growing up, not modern day language, that is why it seems so strange to us, some examples of this are in line

  1. A cream cracker under the settee

    One of the characters Doris brings to life is her husband Wilfred; "Dont worry mother ive got it on my list." Doris make Wilfred out to be a happy caring but funny man. Doris and Wilfred had nicknames for one another, they called each other 'mother' and 'father'.

  2. “A cream cracker under the settee” - Production Analysis

    This where Doris's past begins to demonstrate itself. The affect of seeing the smashed photo on the floor is that it makes the viewer realise that the photo still being in the same position as it was after she fell, means that she obviously isn't capable of picking it up

  1. A Cream Cracker under the Settee

    ignorance, she decides herself, to clean her house, the outcome being a possibly broken leg "I can nip this leg and nothing". Wilfred was not a key protagonist within the book, but he is still expressed as a deeply important character is Doris' life, as she gives some views on his missions.

  2. Cream Cracker Under the Settee

    Doris has a dead husband, Wilfred, who she misses a lot. We can tell that Doris misses him by the way she talks to her wedding photo, "Cracked the photo. Were cracked, Wilfred," and by the way she talks about him a lot during the monologue; "We were always on our own, me and Wilfred."

  1. How does Alan Bennett reveal the character of Doris in 'A Cream Cracker under ...

    The photograph was up high which could suggest two things, that she wants to keep it away from Zulema as it is so precious or that she doesn't want to be reminded of Wilfred. Even though Doris doesn't want to be reminded of Wilfred she still keeps the photograph of

  2. A Cream cracker under the settee.

    As we move down page eighty six Doris goes on to talk about a pram. "More like cars than prams." This line is a moment of reflection for Doris, as speaking the line you should look up to show Doris is imagining the prams back in her days.

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