Alan Bennett's A Cream Cracker Under The Settee

1785 words - 7 pages

Alan Bennett's A Cream Cracker Under The Settee

Alan Bennett's purpose in writing "A Cream Cracker Under The Settee"
is to highlight the problems old people face.

He points out that obsession with hygiene can be destructive "I never
should have tried to dust." Everytime the old lady cleans she gets
into trouble.

He criticises society for neglecting the old "Home help. Home
hindrance." Years ago people used to respect the old, look up to them.
But now they get swept under the carpet and forgotten about.

Bennett also highlights the lack of communication in society "Don't
know anybody round here now. Folks opposite, I don't know them."

Neighbours used to look out for each other, but now there seems to be
less and less interaction because people go out and don't bother with
them, long gone is the tight-knit community of the past.

It seems that her obsession with housework has been a substitute for a
child, she has never got over the fact that she lost her and Wilfreds
child. She would not have coped with the mess of a child.

The cleaning aspect of the monologue is to teach us that real life is
messy and cannot be tidied. To show that this character has not really
grown up and moved on her childhood.

This monologue also shows the fears old people have. To show that old
people can be defiant and that the idea of being in an institution or
home dependant on others is too terrible to contemplate.

The monologue is a moving and sympathetic portrait of old age. It is
emotional and touching at the ending as she decides to die rather than
to be institutionalised. Also, the readers' gradual realisation that
her obsession with being tidy is not just funny but might have been
destructive and restrictive to both herself and her husband.

The language Bennett used was that of an old lady, but it still had
some common speech in it, he uses many contractions to mimic everyday
speech. "Them's her leaves."

Bennett reveals the character through layers of meaning and dramatic
irony. He uses colloquial and dialetic terms that are associated with
particular social groups so the readers can associate with what she's
saying. Bennett uses a single speaker - the old lady. He uses only one
person because the message comes across stronger. He uses everyday
talk from a northern town "Never see a bonified caller." He does this
because then it sounds like a real person, a real person doesn't speak
the queens English every second of the day.

This poem is a tragic-comedy and a rollercoaster of emotions for the
reader. Doris tells us about a lot of her life, her childhood, the
early years of her marriage and now as an elderly woman. This
instantly makes the audience feel as if we know her so we are more
sympathetic to her situation.

This main thing that links everything is the fact that...

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