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GCSE: Alan Bennet

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  • Marked by Teachers essays 1
  1. A Cream Cracker Under the Sette

    The play is a monologue, a monologue is an acting technique in which a single character voices out their thought without interruption. In a monologue although the character opinion is voiced, it can be biased and hard for the audience to keep interest. Alan Bennet chose a monologue for the play so he could provide a voice for the elderly Doris the main character in the play who is in her 70s and is lonely and isolated from the modern world resents on how society has lost its value.

    • Word count: 522
  2. Cream Cracker

    It is like Zulema is in control of Doris and is making all decisions for her. Zulema says, "You can't run anywhere. Your on trial here." Zulema should be on trial because she's working at the house but actually Doris feels like a child. Also Zulema has more power than Doris. It is like Doris has to give in to her commands. I think this because Doris says like a child "Yes Zulema." Zulema has told Doris not to dust but Doris does. We can tell because in the stage the directions it says "She shoves the duster down the side of the chair."

    • Word count: 900
  3. A cream cracker under the settee

    During the monologues you only hear about Doris' side to every story, so in cream cracker we don't get Zulema's view on things. If we did get her view the sympathy the audience feels towards Doris would probably be different so by just including Doris' points of view Alan Bennett has been clever as to create the right attitude towards Doris. We see Doris as a moaning bitter character; this is portrayed as she feels that Zulema is constantly bossing her around.

    • Word count: 935
  4. Cream Cracker

    Monologues are mainly one side of the story, so in cream cracker we don't get Zulema's view on things. If we did get her view it probably wouldn't evoke sympathy for Doris. So Bennett has been clever just to include Doris's points of view as this will evoke more sympathy. We see Doris as a moaning bitter character; this is portrayed as she feels that Zulema is constantly bossing her around. "I was glad when she`d gone, dictating." The word dictating conveys the impression that Doris is inferior to Zulema. In a way, Zulema has power over Doris because she could report her and Doris could end up in a home, the thing that she fears most.

    • Word count: 952
  5. 'Waiting for the telegram'

    Violet uses humor in the drama to catch the audience's eyes and to also make it interesting to watch. Violet uses humor by making funny suggestions or changing the meaning of something for example when she is talking about having control over her body. Alan Bennett uses humor in the play very well and it works with what the speech is about. 'I saw my legs today...that Devon was giving me a bath...whose legs do you think they are...well I have never known this place...'. In the drama repapered words is very common because it is showing Violets old age for example when a fellow if talking to violet he has

    • Word count: 591
  6. How does Bennett Create Sympathy for Dorisin 'A Cream Cracker Under the Settee'?

    Bennett has particular parts of the monologue that make us feel more sympathetic for Doris than others. Near the beginning, Doris is portrayed as an out of touch, slightly mad old woman. The perspective of Doris is changed from being a laughable character to feeling sorry for Doris when she says, 'I sat for a bit looking up at me and Wilfred on the wedding photo. And I thought, 'Well, Zulema, I bet you haven't dusted the top of that. I used to be able to reach only I can't now.' We now realise that Doris is quite incapable and also that she feels sad that Wilfred has gone.

    • Word count: 724
  7. Comment on the dramatic techniques of Alan Bennett in 'A Cream Cracker Under the Settee', in terms of both its writing and performance.

    Doris didn't like the midwife's attitude when she wrapped the baby in newspaper then put it in a shoebox. Doris felt she was treating it like dirt. She says, "He wasn't dirty, little thing". This could have been the start of Doris's hygiene obsession. Also, Wilfred did not help her much. Her husband wanted to get a dog instead. Her marriage wasn't great, Wilfred was a dreamer and frustrated Doris. Wilfred started little projects like an allotment, but never did anything with them, and then he moved onto something else. Doris still misses him though. We know this because she talks to the wedding photo, which also shows she is lonely.

    • Word count: 950
  8. Outlining and discussing the issues of Alan Bennett's 'Talking Heads' character Irene Ruddock and how he scripts it so that we sympathise with her.

    accepts her ideas and thoughts and expresses them to the world as if they all thought the same and tries to change the world to one in which she is comfortable in.. Alan scripts her in a way that tries to show that she has no-one to confide in, and speaks directly to the audience. The message that he tries to give in my opinion is that it is not the crappy government in the country that makes the minor changes; it is lonely people and a pen.

    • Word count: 776
  9. Dear Thora, Congratulations on getting the part of Doris in our forthcoming production of 'A Cream Cracker Under The Settee'.

    The key themes in this play are society's treatment of the elderly, loneliness, and segregation. The writer is trying to show how old people, who think they are all well and fit, are not really and need a lot of care. He does this by giving Doris a fearless character and showing that your not as strong as you may seem to be to yourself Doris is alert, and aware of her situation in life as an old person. She is in poor health and lives alone.

    • Word count: 757
  10. How does Bennett create sympathy for Doris in "A cream cracker under the settee"?

    For instance Zulema treats her like a child when she's cleaning Doris' house E.G "Doris do not attempt to dust. The dusting is my Department. That's what the council pays me for. You are now a lady of leisure. Your dusting days are over." And "Doris. I don't want to hear you've been touching the Ewbank. Is out of bounds." Here this is wear she is mainly treated like a little child. By telling Doris what to do like: Don't touch the Ewbank or don't attempt to dust.

    • Word count: 693
  11. Talking heads - A lady of letters.

    The play is set in a simply furnished room, which hints at her very simple and aimless life. She also talks a lot about things that have happened to her and she hardly mentions friends or family. There is also a big suggestion to how lonely and simple her life is in that she spends a lot of time reading and replying to a card that the opticians have sent her. "A card came from the opticians this morning...I thought that it was nice so I took my trusty Platinum and dashed off an answer forthwith." Most people would see that the opticians were purely trying to make money out of her but she is oblivious to this

    • Word count: 867
  12. Evil has been present since the beginning of time causing many conflicts throughout the world. It is an inborn and nurtured behaviour, which can be heightened by one's surrounding environment.

    Some people just shouldn't have babies". (216) This expression of anger towards the Crane's has no bearing on Miss Strangeworth. It is an id driven letter that is hurtful to the Crane's with no guilt or consideration towards them. The thought of others is not relevant to Miss Strangeworth; however, the thought of being caught is definitely a concern. Not only does Miss Strangeworth send hurtful letters but also the letters remain nameless with no trace of who may have sent them.

    • Word count: 636
  13. Goodbye to all that.

    Never mind, she says to her reflection. I must be tired. I'll just sleep it off. Maybe tomorrow will be better. Her reflection seems to grin wickedly at this pathetic hope. As she gets into bed, she says the same little prayer every night, for her parents to be happy, for herself that she might not lead such a lonely life and that she might miraculously get better one day, that tomorrow might be better than today. But somehow, each day seems to get impossibly worse than the last one. She falls into a rocky dream.

    • Word count: 612
  14. How is the monologue form effective in Allan Bennett's portrait of Dorisin a Cream Cracker under the Settee?

    Doris tells us Zuleema says. Doris reacts with cheeky or sarcastic comments, letting us know that she is not bothered and knows that Zuleema is just trying to influence her, "They don't put people in Stafford House just for running around with the Ewbank." Doris doesn't want to be stuck in a place where she will be treated like an invalid. She has an opinion of the home, although it doesn't seem to be based on any real experiences, "I don't want to be stuck with a lot of old lasses.

    • Word count: 968
  15. The day after the slaughtering of the rabbits Mr Fletcher woke up as usual

    Mr Fletcher shouted you b****y b***h. As Mr and Mrs Fletcher had an argument over Mr Fletcher and his rabbits, she was getting him about the affair he had but using the rabbits as an excuse. Mrs Fletcher thought that Mr Fletcher was still seeing this woman who he had an affair with a long time ago. She used to say that he was always in a hurry on the way out of the house. Mrs Fletcher had confronted Mr Fletcher about the affair she asked him if it was still going on, Mr Fletcher told her the

    • Word count: 546
  16. It is not what Lesley says in ‘Her big chance’ that reveals her character. But what she doesn’t say. Discuss how this is possible through Alan Bennett’s use of a Monologue.

    A brief outline of the story is that she goes to a party and gets tricked into going to an audition to star in a p**n film and she gets the part but her part is cut and the film is a big flop. In my opinion Lesley is an Easy lay because she sleeps with Spud, Terry, Kenny, and Gaunter. All of these people miss lead her into sleeping with her foe example Kenny asks her to see if she wants to come and see his sick cat on his bed and she falls for it.

    • Word count: 528
  17. Imagine you are directing the play “A Cream Cracker Under the Settee” for television. How would you do it and why?

    The fireplace I think should be near the far wall, this choice only because it is where my fireplace is and also my Nan's. I think that the wallpaper should be something like flowers in a bright but dull colour this because I think that old people tend to like things like that, and also I think that bright colours bring a warm feeling into the room. I think the colour of the settee should be brown to go with the wallpaper. I also think that the sofa should be soft and cushiony so it isn't to hard for her.

    • Word count: 802
  18. A Day In The Life Of An Old Person

    Once before had stood a beautiful lady, with golden brown hair and a figure to die for. Back then I could turn a few of the lads heads but now there stands a frail, crocked, lonely old person. I'm weaker now than what I was before. I used to be able to walk for miles and still not be tired but now just walking up the stairs takes everything out of me. I've started to lose my memory; I have trouble just remembering what day of the week it is.

    • Word count: 522

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • Alan Bennett's "Talking Heads" monologues are described as being 'short stories'. With reference to "Her Big Chance" discuss how Bennett Is able to create this genre with what seems to be one voice.

    "Conclusion Bennett creates a short story genre with just Lesley's voice in 'Her Big Chance.' He does this my making the audience aware of her self delusions. By Lesley using different tones of voice and body language we can really see what people think of her. She takes on other characters and this shows the audience what they are like without actually seeing them. The plot unfolds by Lesley introducing new characters. In a short story, the characters would introduce themselves but in a 'Talking Head' Lesley has to do it. In a short story, the focus is as much on the setting and the costumes as it is on the person that is speaking. In 'Her Big Chance' everything is plain so we can focus on Lesley as she is the only person speaking. She keeps us interested by always introducing new characters and using body language and tone of voice to express herself."

  • Discuss how the dramatic effects of character, language and setting convey Bennett's ideas to his audience?

    "In conclusion, through the use of character, language and setting, Bennett has successfully conveyed his ideas to the audience. He has developed a character in Doris with which the audience can easily relate and empathise with. His use of language and setting enables the audience to see this restricted, determined and intelligent lady that has had to come to terms with today's society. Although the audience can empathise with Doris, because she is an able minded person within a failing body, at the same time Bennett highlights Doris' stubborn side to her nature. This is indicated, particularly when, in her last moments of life she turns her back on help. Jenny Willis Page 2"

  • Discuss the Theme of Isolation and Loneliness In 'Talking Heads'.

    "In conclusion Bennett is showing us that loneliness can apply to anyone and in different forms. The way he has chosen to show loneliness may be a product of male domination within personal relationships. I personally feel he could have written from this perspective because he is male. Also, most of Bennett's plays make the audience aware of the organisations that are provided by the State to cope with the needs of the characters. These efforts are seen as a poor substitute for a family, friends and neighbours. These characters don't have this support and this may be the root of their problems. Natalie Hough 4 1"

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