What A Cream Cracker Under The Settee
What A Cream Cracker Under The Settee

What A Cream Cracker Under The Settee

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  • Pages: 3 (1232 words)
  • Published: October 7, 2017
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The cream cracker under the settee is a well written and original script, obviously pushing Alan Bennett’s creative skill to the limit. He has invented a strong character, Doris, and has conjured up a funny but heart-warming story in which she fits perfectly. On top of all that he has managed to fit it into just twenty minutes of screen time. I have a number of ideas about how he has done this. We know that Doris and Wilfred were married, as there wedding photograph was mentioned in the monologue.

Doris obviously misses him as she mentions him so much.I think she misses mainly just his company, she grew tired of his ‘mad ideas’ and didn’t really have any positive points to say about him, she was just needed someone to be there with her. She only realized how much she would miss him when he was gone, and she realized she was on her own. She would have had more company, love and care had she had her child, so she would not of had to let herself die if the miscarriage hadn’t happened.

Doris is given a very strong character, which is vital as she has to keep the interest of the audience for twenty minutes, all by herself.What makes her personality particularly powerful is her desire for independence, which sparks off the conflict between herself and Zulema. This conflict is serious to Doris, but appeals to readers as comedy due to her mannerisms. She is determined to do things herself, such as dusting and t

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o desire to ‘have a run around with the Ewbank. It is not easy to ignore the fact that Doris has an unnatural obsession with hygiene.

This stems from the incident in her past where she had a miscarriage. She reminisces of the midwife ‘wrapping him in newspaper as if he was dirty. This obviously had a great effect on her life and led to her no longer wanting to carry on living, although she was the only one who felt the loss, to Wilfred it was ‘just a craze. ‘ I think by using Doris in the story, elderly people are given the image that they don’t like change, which is portrayed by Doris not wanting to go to Stafford house. Also it gives the idea that old people are stubborn, which is shown by the Doris/Zulema battle.

In addition to this, Alan Bennett gives the impression that people of Doris’s age don’t do anything for society, which she doesn’t.One of the attitudes that Bennet gives to old people is that they feed of memories, which Doris does for much of the monologue. A noticeable aspect about the setting of the monologue is that it is not really made to stand out. With the exception of the passing policeman, we do not hear much from the neighborhood outside and as there are flats occupied by people such as Doris, we can assume it is a suburban lower class area. The are where Doris lives doesn’t seem to have changed, she still lives in the same flat that she has lived in for years,

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and she mentions other flats in the past that are still there.But people who lived near her have moved on and Doris doesn’t know her current neighbors which she isn’t bothered about, but I think she feels left behind now that her past fellow residents have moved on.

The fact that she doesn’t know or care particularly about the people who live around her unlike she used to, shows that she turns her back on something if there is change, and she feels reluctant to join in because she may feel she is too old to fit into something new, therefore she isolates herself.Alan Bennett does not make important information in the text stand out in any superior way to other topics. Wilfred is first mentioned when she looks at him in a photo, she doesn’t pacifically start talking about Wilfred, the memory of him is only triggered by the photo. The same thing happens with the memory of the miscarriage; the subject arises when she sees the pram, making her remember.

The cracker plays a surprisingly large role in the monologue, apart from just being in the title.The fact that the cracker is under the settee shows us that Zulema does not clean properly, which is the main source of their conflict. In one case, Doris even looks at the cream cracker being under the settee as a way of threatening Zulema and putting her ‘in the unemployment exchange. ‘ She also goes against all she believes in with hygiene by eating the cream cracker, and eating it just before she allows herself to die shows it as a symbol of giving up. As the story moves on, Doris moves from the chair to the floor when she has the fall, and then eventually to the door downstairs.She starts of confident sitting on the settee, casually ranting about Zulema.

Every time she moves she grows more vulnerable, and we discover her more serious and darker fears and memories. When she moves on to the floor, she discovers the cream cracker, and embarks on a wild fantasy adventure about getting Zulema fired with the cream cracker. Then comes the topic of the miscarriage. Next, she states her fears about Stafford House, the way they ‘mix up your teeth’ and how everyone is ‘smelling of pee. ‘ Finally she decides to let go of her life.When Doris speaks, she has a characteristic of quoting from other people.

For example, when she is talking about Zulema, she refers to what Zulema has said; ‘Do not attempt to dust. The dusting is my department. ‘ Doris also uses this in her speech when talking about Wilfred; ‘When I get a minute, Doris. ‘ Doris seems to use slang as well, one example being when she says ‘some leaves coming down now,’ when the correct English would be to say ‘There are some leaves coming down now.

‘ She does this on another occasion saying, ‘I was glad when she’d gone, dictating.Zulema speaks in short sharp sentences, effective for instructing and ‘dictating’ to Doris, ‘You are a lady of leisure. Your dusting says are

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