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GCSE: Alan Bennet

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  1. How is contemporary society portrayed in 'Talking Heads'?

    You'll catch a cold" She said, "They never are chess. Chess with no clothes on. Chess in their birthday suits. That kind of chess. Chess men." I said, "Go to bed. And turn your blanket off". Here Graham's mother has finally gained power after Graham's secret is revealed. We can see that he tries to regain the power as he tries to remind her again to knock her blanket off. Graham uses his mother's problem with remembering things quite often when he feels he is losing power. In 'Her Big Chance' there is only one occasion when sexuality is involved.

    • Word count: 1682
  2. 'Doris is just a moaning old woman.' How does Alan Bennett manage to maintain our sympathy for Doris during this monologue?

    This being that her only child, John, died at birth. For any person this totally devastating and the way in which Doris delivers this scene and also the way in which the camera is used makes us completely empathise with Doris at this point. Doris talks a lot about the preparations she made for the arrival of her child and this creates a real sorrow, 'This is where we had the pram.' The audience are helpless as all they can do is feel sad for Doris.

    • Word count: 1879
  3. How Does Alan Bennett achieve both a sense of tragedy and humour in his 'Talking Heads' monologues?

    This shows that she is bitter, resentful and patronising towards them; this may be because she is jealous of them as they are receiving thanks and affection from Geoffrey - something she rarely gets. Whenever Doris uses humour she changes her tone of voice but keeps her facial expressions the same throughout the piece. Whereas, Susan changes her facial expressions and looks directly at the camera for humorous points. However, she only changes the tone of her voice when she is imitating someone.

    • Word count: 1192
  4. How does Alan Bennett make 'A Cream Cracker under the Settee' Such a moving and successful piece of drama, given the limitations its form imposes?

    although they could have got a stunt-woman or used sound effects. I think that the main reason why we don't see the accident is because it would have given too much away and the writer wants us to keep guessing. As the play is quite short: there are only four scenes. If it were longer we might have seen what happened after Doris' death. Again I think this is done to keep you guessing. The final limitation I know of is that there are only two locations in which the play is set.

    • Word count: 1100
  5. ''A cream Cracker under the settee'' by Alan Bennett.

    And Doris has an accident which causes her leg to go numb and this causes her to reminisces her past life specially her husband ''Wilfred'' At the end of the play she has an opportunity to be saved by a policemen but she declines it. And the play finishes with Doris closing her eyes and singing a song to herself "My Alice Blue Grown'' The theme of the play is problems with old age, loneliness, memories, old people's homes/ home help and euthanasia.

    • Word count: 1386
  6. English Monologue - 'One Chance'.

    And then there's the responsibility because of the fact that people their pay to see it and they want to see a good performance. You have a responsibility to offer it to them. Actually running out on the pitch is one of the best feelings in football. My best memory was of when I broke through into the team, I scored against Galatasaray in my first game. I'd just scored and the fans started singing, I couldn't believe it. There were crying out, I knew I had made a big impression and I had to live up to it.

    • Word count: 2396
  7. Letter to Thora Hird, - Congratulations on getting the part of Doris in our forthcoming production of "Cream Cracker Under The Settee".

    Also Doris will need to wear a dull, old dress, this is because Doris says, "I've had this frock for years". Some key themes to keep in mind are isolation, because Doris has no family or friends, basically no contact with the outside world except for her weekly visits from Zulema, she mentions, "I never get any bona fide callers." Also Doris's frustration with dirt, she has become over obsessed with cleaning, probably because when she was preparing for her baby she tried to make a clean and hygienic environment for the baby but unfortunately Doris miscarried her son John.

    • Word count: 1049
  8. Talking Heads - Lady of Letters by Alan Bennett.

    The Title is fairly misleading but ironic even though Miss Ruddock considers herself as a lady but as the story goes on we realize that she is just a sad, lonely, old woman. Miss Ruddock does not pay attention to what other people are saying. Miss Ruddock believes that everyone should act and think in a certain way. In the scene where the vicar comes to Miss Ruddock we notice that Miss Ruddock utterly disregards the thoughts of the vicar.

    • Word count: 1024
  9. Discuss how the dramatic effects of character, language and setting convey Bennett's ideas to his audience?

    The audience can relate to her situation. She is an elderly lady, struggling against society's views of older people being unable to cope alone in their own homes. Bennett emphasises Doris' emotional feelings to the audience. He achieves this by allowing Doris to reminisce about the sadness in her life, especially the loss of her child through miscarriage when she felt unsupported by her husband. "I wanted him called John. The midwife said he wasn't fit to be called anything and had we any newspaper?

    • Word count: 2154
  10. Alan Bennett wrote 'A Lady of Letters' in 1987. It is a dramatic monologue from the 'Talking heads' collection and was written for Patricia Routledge.

    The basis of the character Irene Ruddock could be linked to Bennett's mother and her life. The opening stage directions tell us that Irene is unmarried and is an "ordinary middle aged woman"; this tells us that she isn't special and she may be lonely. Bennett depicts Irene sitting in a "simply furnished" room, which reveals to us that she is not rich and lives a simple life. Bennett also establishes that there is a bay window, which is a key factor in the play as it symbolises her loneliness and isolation; it lets Irene look out into the outside world and pass her judgement on people that she sees.

    • Word count: 1595
  11. A Cream cracker under the settee.

    Then Doris starts to talk to her self about how stupid it was to of tried to stand on a buffet and dust a wedding photograph of her and Wilfred (her husband). Since there is only one performer in the play the audience can focus all their attention on Doris's story and character. The audience are immediately involved with Doris and her predicament because at the start of the play she is sat 'awkwardly' on a low chair, 'rubbing her leg'.

    • Word count: 1512
  12. Consider the dramatic effectiveness of Alan Bennett's 'A Cream Cracker under the Settee'.

    She is a 75-year-old widow who has strong views on certain issues. She is obsessive with hygiene and reluctant to have help, which she refers to it as "Home hindrance." She "knows when a place isn't clean" and throughout the play she shows this by criticising Zulema, "Well Zulema, I bet you haven't dusted the top of that." She says. She criticises the younger generation and their attitude towards life. Doris comes across as lonely, for example she says, "Hello. Somebody coming. Salvation." She also appears isolated, "You can't run anywhere, you're on trial here."

    • Word count: 1816
  13. How does Alan Bennett reveal the character of Doris in 'A Cream Cracker under the Settee?'

    The first prop used is the duster. The duster symbolises Doris' need to clean. She cannot restrain herself from cleaning her house as she feels that it is dirty, "I know when a place isn't clean." Doris has a cleaner called Zulema who cleans Doris' house once a week. There is conflict between Zulema and Doris because Doris feels that Zulema "half-dusts." Zulema patronises Doris as she tells Doris what she can and can't do "the ewbank is out of bounds," "You're on trial."

    • Word count: 1813
  14. Studying Two Alan Bennett Monologues.

    Her letters include writing replies to circulars and even a letter to the Queen about dog droppings! It starts to become really serious when she writes to her neighbours believing that they were abusing and neglecting their child. This is based on her prejudice towards the parents, for example she is disgusted by the fact that "he has a tattoo" and the "kiddy looks filthy". Although Irene realizes that she may need help and visits the doctor she neglects to take the medication. Her local vicar also has little influence on her. Eventually Irene is cautioned by the police and informed that the child has died of leukemia.

    • Word count: 4175
  15. How does Bennett explore the 'ordinary, uneventful, desperate' aspects of life through literature?

    The twist is only made more apparent cause of the fact that this is a monologue. In addition, the word ordinary and desperate might appear to be an oxymoron but they are in fact not, because if life is hopeless and desperate, the feeling of relentless and desperation is ever present. Truth is, the characters are 'desperate' yet their lives are 'ordinary' because they have become 'used to it'. In Talking Heads we venture through the narrator's mind which is totally subjective and in monologues we only see we've been told, or we see the narrator's 'bent twisted' truth.

    • Word count: 1251
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. A Lady of Letters.

    She hasn't got any one to get cues from when doing the play. She has got all of the audience looking at her so she has got to use a lot of expression to keep it interesting. It needs a lot of non-verbal expression, that is body language and facial expressions, to help the character come alive. Also the scenery is important and the appearance of the actress because the atmosphere has to be right so it portrays the right feeling.

    • Word count: 2086
  20. Analyse Bennett's scene directions and language in the play. How does he convey the complexity and her feelings about society?

    We can also see net curtains in the background; this suggests that Doris likes to pry at her neighbours. The implication that Doris likes to watch other people's lives indicates that she leads a dull life and tries to distract herself from it by watching the interesting lives around her. It may also be Bennett trying to make Doris seem more of a stereotypical OAP so that the audience can relate to her. Another key scene direction is the, 'Go to black' that ends certain sections; these signify Doris moving from one area to another.

    • Word count: 1108
  21. Discuss the Theme of Isolation and Loneliness In 'Talking Heads'.

    By not showing our true selves we are in danger of hiding who we really are. In the case of Miss Irene Ruddock (A Lady of Letters) she is lost in a society that no longer cares. She is younger than Doris and is wrapped up in her own self. Again, she is unaware of this. In the past, neighbourly interest was welcomed. But in present society, personal contact is discouraged, either by her or by the young family who are her neighbours, so instead she spies on them. She is critical of her neighbours, who she feels do not meet her standards and who she watches in secret.

    • Word count: 2018
  22. Discuss Rosenthal's use of minor characters in P'tang Yang Kipperbang.

    Shaz and Abbo emphasise not just Alan's problems but problems that all adolescents face in general. Ann Lawton is Alan's High school sweet heart, and he will do anything just to kiss her once. But as always there is someone, or something as the case may be standing in his way. Geoffrey Whittaker is the girl's favourite boy, especially Ann Lawton's, and it is for this reason that Geoffrey and Alan are enemies. Geoffrey also intensifies Alan's problem. Nevertheless, where there is a will there's a way, and Alan's big chance comes when he gets volunteered to be a star

    • Word count: 1310
  23. Talking Heads - Alan Bennett.

    Being aware of a particular Actors performance strengthens the language the character uses. It makes the language used appropriate to the characters social background and since all the pieces were intended for performance, there is a musical quality to the text, which makes it sound more effective when read aloud. Though the text also stands reasonably well as a series of short stories, the fluent language used by each individual Actor as a repetitive musical rhythm of speech, i.e. Susan with her monotone delivery and Leslie with her high-octane quality, does add to the performance.

    • Word count: 1512
  24. How does Alan Bennett make effective use of the dramatic monologue to hold the interest of the audience? A cream cracker under the settee

    For example Doris finds dust on top of her wedding photo that has been missed by Zulema. Doris never did like untidyness even when she was younger. This is shown through her recollection of conversations with her late husband, Wilfred. The reason for Doris not wanting a garden was because she thought the trees, plants etc would create mess by dropping their leaves. Wilfred wanting a garden complete with bush caused great debate. 'Is it a bush that will make a mess' Doris asks. From hygiene point of view Doris would be happier with concrete. Although Wilfred argued that concrete lacked character Doris pointed out that it could be kept clean and tidy making Doris feel 'easy in her mind'.

    • Word count: 1250
  25. How has loneliness and alienation of the characters in the talking heads monologues been created through the use of tragi-comedy?

    This cynical view also emphasises the lack of respect in the ironic way that an elderly person has been influenced by negative views of the older generation.coca car secacaw orca cak inca foca ca. Within this essay I am going to analyse the talking heads scripts and bring about my point of views as well as also using my background knowledge on the era and several other topics which seem to occur throughout. A few of these are anxiety, naivety and the general prejudice of society.cogd gdr segdgdw orgd gdk ingd fogd gd!

    • Word count: 2000

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