Investigating How Bennett Creates and Maintains Interest in the Play A Cream Cracker under the Settee
'A cream cracker under the settee' is a dramatic monologue. A
monologue is a drama piece performed by only one person. By explaining
the characterization, humor, timescale and pauses of this monologue
this essay will look at the ways Alan Bennett holds the interest of
the audience. The monologue is told by a 75 year old woman whose name
is Doris. Doris is a down to earth Yorkshire widow. It is a day in her
life when she recalls past memories and explains a lot about her past.
Doris is a lady who takes a lot of pride in keeping her home
spotlessly clean and tidy. Bennett has managed to introduce other
characters into the monologue other than Doris through Doris's
memories and thoughts. The woman named Zulema is Doris's home help
sent by the council, doing the jobs which Doris would be unable to do.
Doris disapproves of her as she has high standards and in her opinion,
Zulema only half dusts, and Doris is upset to find things that she
would never miss, being missed. Bennett has created a strong battle of
wills between Doris and Zulema. Doris wants to keep her independence
and continue her own cleaning, whilst Zulema takes harsh actions and
bans Doris from dusting and using the Ewbank. However, due to Doris
being so house-proud and stubborn she pays no attention to Zulema. She
climbs up onto a buffet to examine the cleanliness of her wedding
photo and ends up falling off the buffet and hurting her leg. This
makes Doris feel as though Zulema is one up because she warned her
that this would happen.
Zulema is the cause of unhappiness in Doris's life because she doesn't
do her job properly and is mainly hated due to the fact that she is
the only thing standing between Doris and Stafford house 'What you
don't understand Doris, is that I am the only person that stands
between you and Stafford house', this is what Doris fears the most. It
is never actually told what Stafford house is, yet the audience is
given clues that it may be an old people's home. Doris views Stafford
house as a prison, somewhere she would never like to end up. 'I don't
want to be stuck with a lot of old lasses. And they all smell of pee.
And daft half of them, banging tambourines. You go daft there, there's
nowhere else for you to go but daft' Doris would lose her freedom and
dignity if she were ever to end up in Stafford house.
Zulema is vividly brought to life through Doris, we are shown how
patronizing and insensitive she is towards Doris, 'You can't run
anywhere. You're on trial here. For being on your own. For not
behaving sensibly. For not acting like a woman of seventy-five who has
a pacemaker and dizzy spells and doesn't have the sense she was born
with'. To Doris this must be quite hurtful, yet Zulema...