Alan Bennett's A Cream Cracker Under The Settee

1235 words - 5 pages

Alan Bennett's A Cream Cracker Under the Settee

Doris, the 75 year old house-proud woman is the main character, the
only character in fact in Alan Bennett's dramatic monologue 'A Cream
Cracker Under the Settee'. This play is divided into four scenes, each
of which are demarcated by blackout. These four scenes show the
passage of time throughout one day in the life of Doris, and changes
of room and position.

Given the limitations its form imposes the play is a successful piece
of drama. One of the limitations is that there is only one character,
so there cannot be any character conflicts e.g. a fight or an
argument. This could however, be used as a way of showing that Doris
is lonely. This is one of the ways in which the writer manipulates our
feelings about Doris. As she is in her 70's it would not be practical
to have her doing her own stunts (probably the reason why we don't see
the accident,) 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. I think that this is linked to Doris' injury
because if you think about it, it wouldn't be right to have a 75 year
old woman with a leg injury running around the house.

In the first scene of the play, Doris is sat in her arm-chair. We
begin to get hints about Doris' injury. We find out that Doris has a
cleaner called Zulema. As Doris is house-proud we find out that Zulema
isn't up to Doris' standards, she comments that 'Zulema doesn't dust
she half dusts'. We also find out a bit about Doris' fear of going
into Stafford House. We know that Doris was married to a man named
Wilfred from her looking at her wedding photo. Doris is very organised
but Wilfred wasn't because he never did anything he said he would.
Leaves, Leaves are not one of Doris' favourite things. She wouldn't
mind if they were from the bush that Wilfred planted but they weren't
hers.

In Scene two Doris is sat on the floor with her back against the wall.
This is where Doris discovers the cream cracker under the settee
(hence the name of the play) Doris is really disgusted and angry at
such an unhygienic thing. Doris is determined to show this to Social
Services if Zulema starts lecturing about Stafford House again. Doris
then heads for the window and looks out at the house opposite. She
used to know the people there but they went away. This is why Doris
does not want to go to a home because these four walls hold many
memories, some terrible,...

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