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Techniques Alan Bennett Use's In 'a Lady of Letters'

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Introduction

TECHNIQUES ALAN BENNETT USE'S IN 'A LADYOF LETTERS' We are first introduced to Miss Ruddock in her home environment. A middle aged woman, she has never married or had any children and lives alone. At the start of the monologue Miss Ruddock is seen as being very observant as she notices the hearse drivers "skulking in the rhododendrons with tab-ends in their mouths" at the chapel of rest when she attends a funeral and is quick to complain. It appears Miss Ruddock has only gone because it was on a day when she didn't have much else to do and hardly knew the woman and says "at least it's an outing", showing that she hasn't a social life. She is a very stubborn woman and stuck in her ways. When she receives a letter from the opticians saying she may need new spectacles she replies saying "in the event of my noticing any deterioration I would in due course get in touch with them". Miss Ruddock is a private person and appears isolated from society. She seems to have led a sheltered life relying on newspapers for information and appears to believe everything she reads. ...read more.

Middle

When her doctor tells her not to bother writing a letter of complaint to a tablet manufacturer as they are a Swiss firm she replies "what difference does that make, everybody speaks English now". The local vicar pays Miss Ruddock a visit to try and help her and she cuts him short saying "if you've come round to talk about God you're barking up the wrong tree. I'm an atheist". Eventually Miss Ruddock's letter writing gets her into trouble. After being warned by the court to keep the peace, she doesn't listen and ends up in prison. This new environment is completely different from her home life. Miss Ruddock seems content. For the first time throughout the monologue she admits "I'm so happy". She has plenty to do and has made many new friends, something she never had before. The women she has befriended laugh at her and when they comment on her not minding being in prison she replies "prison! This is the first taste of freedom I've had in years". Miss Ruddock spends her time learning new skills like bookbinding and dressmaking and has completed a secretarial course. ...read more.

Conclusion

She even lets people call her Irene, something she wouldn't let anyone do before after the death of her mother. In the past, Miss Ruddock was always concerned about the welfare of children and people doing things to them. In prison the type of people she has criticised previously, she befriends, women like Bridget who had been a prostitute and even killed her child. She didn't like people smoking and then she smokes herself in prison. Another technique used is tragedy. It is sad that Miss Ruddock has lost her mother and is alone, and that a woman of her age ends up in prison. Other tragic incidents include the death of a child. There is also the use of humour in the monologue. Miss Ruddock finds a hair in the sausage she's bought, sticking it under a bit of sellotape, she sends it to the manufacturer with a letter of complaint. Miss Ruddock has never sworn and when she does and gets in wrong the women in prison scream with laughter. I enjoyed both listening to, and reading the monologue by Alan Bennett. The techniques Bennett uses keeps the reader interested throughout the monologue as we see Miss Ruddock's character changing. ...read more.

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