A Lady of Letters
In this essay I will be 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; I will be outlining the facts about why and what she has done, the effect and impact it has on people and how Alan Bennett makes us have mixed feelings towards her.
Irene Ruddock is a middle aged woman who is lonely and always has been since her mother died. She turns to the pen for comfort and support and uses complaining to people as a way of passing her time. Bennett uses her to show people what is wrong with society, although if they were his views he is a very stereotypical person. He also shows that she doesn’t fit in with the world she lives in, she is too much of a perfectionist and is stubborn, she only 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.
This is a preview of the whole essay
The purpose of ‘Talking Heads’ is to show different peoples views on society and life from their point of view, giving us vivid and detailed descriptions with ironic and clear facts that affect our emotions.
An upsetting yet happy scene is describing her life in prison.
’Sometimes Bridget will wake up in the middle of the night screaming about the kiddy she killed’
And then goes on to describe the way she holds her hand and says that she likes it there because she is always doing something and finishes with a touching scene about the poplar tress and that she is so happy.
It also uses comedy in the text, although it is more black humour than funny.
‘Saying that though I hoped not to be making any further visits to the crematorium’
In the text it also uses serious scenes, ones that make us more interested in the story line by using lots of quick speech. The scene where the couple across the road have not been abusing their ‘kiddy’ but have been with him in hospital whilst he died of leukaemia. The scenes in the script where she is in prison are the scenes where she is truly harpy, she has lots to do any nothing to complain about, these are the happy touching scenes where we feel good for her.
He shows that she is not very sociable, she discriminates Asians and the people across the road for petty things like not having a tablecloth, she is a very interfering person and will detour her walking route so she can take a good look at people private lives and then spread lies about what she thinks she knows, like calling the woman who lives across the road a prostitute to the doctor.
She jumps to her own conclusions about people, she assumes the kiddy is being abused and left alone when they go ‘gadding’ off every night, and she gave the lollipop man a nervous breakdown after accusing him of being a paedophile!
It is a very complex script as it has only one character trying to act out many, for example; when the police woman and she are talking, she describes the whole conversation herself.
I relate to the story on a whole as the story of an old lady who is disconnected from reality, she lives in a world that she wants and does not see things that are there for a reason. She is a ‘fusspot’ and points out unimportant things such as one hair in a sausage.
She reminds me of old ladies and old men, always saying that their generation was best and point out the differences between their generation and today’s.
‘I get on to my MP regularly about the rise in crime, mainly the number of policemen who wear glasses’
This is a very clear example of how she can be very stereotypical. The whole script does not reach to me as ‘funny’. I find it a sad drama of an old lady who doesn’t understand the world. But in the end finds happiness in the last place you would expect to find it, the subtle twist, in prison.