'A Cream Cracker under the settee' is a monologue which was extracted from a series of monologues written by Alan Bennett for the BBC. These monologues give the audience a windows in to the life of a variety of individuals that population often forgets. That is especially poignant in this play since it focuses upon a vintage woman, and exactly how it's the elderly who are often neglected about in present day society.
In my article, I will explore how I feel Alan Bennett uses pathos to engage the audience by using memories, structure, stage art and also how the form of the play has an effect after the audience.
The monologue is dependant on an old sweetheart called Doris. Doris is portrayed as a stereotypical, old girl. Much like many old people they constantly obsess that things should be achieved in a specific way; in Doris's case this is sanitation and cleanliness. However, Bennett uncovers that we now have deeper issues than her obsession with cleanliness, issues which relate to her isolation from population, and the loneliness she encounters every day, that i will explore in further aspect as my essay progresses.
The form of the play is specially able to creating pathos because there are no other character types to take the attention from Doris which really helps to amplify Doris's isolation throughout the play. Utilizing a monologue helps supply the audience a much better understanding of what the character is considering and feeling and this also creates a feeling of truth. Furthermore, Doris's use of 'I' again highlights her isolation which she is almost admitting her emotions to herself. The usage of the first person pronoun also shows that she actually is completely used by her loneliness and grief as she completely focuses on her problems with no awareness of anybody else's issues. In addition, it highlights the theory that she has no one else in her life to take into account which again creates sympathy on her behalf as she has almost considered self obsession due to lack of any company but her own. I also feel that she converts inwards on herself because this is the only form of company she's known.
Another way Bennett creates pathos in the monologue is by using props like the 'cracked picture'. I believe the damaged picture could symbolise the theory that Doris's heart and soul is damaged, crumbled and shattered inferring that her marriage with Wilfred has been busted by his death. The fact that Doris always carries the picture with her could claim that she is attempting to hold through to what is dear to her, and it is the only bit of Wilfred she has left to comfort her. This could also imply that Doris may also feel that without Wilfred she will not function properly, and is also metaphorically speaking 'busted'. I also believe that since the picture is of her and Wilfred on their wedding day, this may reflect the idea that she actually is trying to carry onto sacred memory as everything around her which was special is diminishing. I feel that this makes the audience feel sympathetic towards Doris as it shows the fact that she has nobody except herself around: no one to speak to and no person to love her; the one source of comfort she can change to is the 'destroyed picture'. This could also connect to how the cracked picture could also mirror Doris's fractured consciousness as she constantly slips from days gone by to the present in the play.
Although Doris's spouse Wilfred has passed on she still talks to him. Personally i think Doris turns to Wilfred at a time when she must find comfort or instruction. Doris expresses this to the audience when she says, 'the picture is cracked. we're cracked, Wilfred. ' I feel it is because Doris cherished the photo of which on their big day which could symbolise that her happy recollections with Wilfred are over and are being changed by the down sides of living by themselves, which she doesn't want to handle the fact that her thoughts are disappearing or having anybody else but Wilfred to carefully turn to for comfort. Additionally it is clear that that they had an extremely traditional matrimony with Doris being the house machine and Wilfred being the 'bakery success'. Wilfred came across like he often received what he wished, Doris expresses this when she says 'Wilfred said he'd anticipate to embark on that responsibility' this offer is explaining how Wilfred required a 'dog' to replace the death with their baby and how he wished to take full responsibility from it. It could also interpret how controlling Wilfred may have been with Doris and exactly how he wanted to be in charge of almost anything. This relates back again to the patriarchal contemporary society they used to live in. Doris experienced secure within her role in life. However, now Wilfred is dead Doris is unable to fulfill the role of being a housewife which is like she is now no longer relied upon and seems redundant in her role as a housewife. This is tragic as it leads us to assume that she no more has grounds to live on.
Another example of how Bennett uses level craft to produce pathos for Doris in the monologue is through the use of the 'gate'. Doris is influenced by the gate through the play for example when she says 'the gate is available again'. Doris appears to run into very sarcastic and upset about the gate being available, so therefore since Doris needs the gate shut down this may infer that she wants to close all links with modern culture. I also think this is the case as she state governments 'You see Zulema should have sealed that, only she didn't', this may imply Doris is frustrated by her lack of consideration, however, it could also imply that she is annoyed at the disturbance from people who think they know what is best on her behalf, when they don't.
Another subject that I feel is significant is the cream cracker under the settee. Doris says 'Here's this cream cracker', as she rubs it. I actually think that the cream cracker is a metaphor for Doris's life and her current situation because as it's been hidden away at night, isolated from everything else so has Doris. Doris is isolated from present day society as many people don't even understand she exists. This could then infer that Bennett wants society to note people like Doris and start recognising people who could be hidden away and forgotten about because they may have limited contact with anybody.
Alan Bennett creates a feeling of pathos through the composition of the play. Including the use of the scene breaks and how the light fades to dark-colored. I think this could symbolise the finish of her life with society and exactly how Bennett could be suggesting that society selects what they would like to see, and also how they just put a light out and disregard the people and loneliness around them, that they don't really want to recognize. Furthermore, when the light fades and goes to black it's very sudden and Personally i think that Bennett could be using this to cover up things, again linking back again to how modern culture sometimes ignores people like Doris. The light changes could also be symbolic of how the day steps along from day to nights, this then could be symbolic of how Doris's body is deteriorating over time and how it might mean that it is all arriving to a finish for her.
Bennett also uses dramatic pauses throughout the monologue and I feel these could be there to not only create sympathy but also create a sense of anxiety as well. These pauses could stand for many different things, maybe Doris's flashbacks, sadness, or even that the remembrances are agonizing, but Personally i think that they are used to make the audience think back again over of what Doris has just said, and I feel this is powerful because it is keeping the audience employed and keeping all the focus on Doris. The pauses may possibly also emphasis Doris's slowing process and this then reflects her age group making the audience feel sympathy for Doris.
But one of the most powerful techniques I feel Bennett uses to make sympathy for Doris is the utilization of flashbacks. At lots of items in the monologue, Doris slips from today's to the past, revealing thoughts from the recent and faraway past. This unveils her fractured awareness and highlights the theory that she is unable to look forward in support of lives in the past and present.
One of the very most powerful techniques Bennett uses to generate sympathy for Doris is the revalation of Doris' memory. At the beginning of field 3, Doris suggestions at the idea that she was once pregnant. This is the first reference to any child and she doesn't go into detail at this point however, just a little later in this world she states 'I wanted to call him John', this infers that she was never permitted to give him a name. It also reveals her needy desire to be a nurturing mom, and care for him even though he passed on. This could disclose that Doris was not given the chance to be a mom and the loss of life of her baby has resulted in her not being able to fulfill the main role of her life, being a mother.
The second ram Bennett uses is when the infant dies and the midwife wraps 'him in magazine as if he was filthy', again relating back again to the baby Doris and Wilfred never had. I feel that this could symbolise how Doris feels that the baby was cured like dirt and grime, almost as a waste material product, something that should be forgotten about. Personally i think this because once a paper is read, it is old reports which is often discarded and ignored about, just like how Doris seems that her baby was discarded and ignored about by the midwife and Wilfred. I also feel that Doris felt that the infant was treated as if it was unimportant. Her baby was the only thing that Doris noticed was fresh and clean and she despised the fact that the midwife who was simply looking after Doris, and who was meant to be caring for her child during labor and birth was making her baby appear soiled and unclean by using papers to cover him up in, as if he was nothing and unimportant.
Another recollection Bennett uses to build pathos for Doris is when Doris says 'come on Dad. Seriously, numby knee. ' I think this because Doris is relating back to the baby she never had. The use of 'numby' could suggest baby dialect and that the infant that once was within Doris remains, and how the use of numby suggests a 'lifeless leg' associated with the way the baby died and it could have helped bring all Doris's feelings back and for that reason she just desires to move on with the support of Wilfred, which could infer why Doris always has your hands on the 'destroyed picture' of her and Wilfred on their wedding day. The usage of 'Come on Dad. Seriously, numby knee' may possibly also amplify the family that she'll do not have, and since the family she could experienced have both perished Doris just wishes to go on from that but she cannot find the support to do so.
The last memory I will explore is when Doris begins talking about 'the pram'. In the middle of the play Doris goes to sitting down with her back against leading door, and she expresses 'this is where we'd the pram'. Doris revealed much pleasure in her pram and gleam sense of how much take great pride in she flourished for it also, Personally i think she shows this when she said 'proper prams then, springs and hoods', this is the first indicator that she seems that the time was much better than the one she actually is currently surviving in. Bennett therefore creates a feeling of pathos for Doris, because he makes the audience have a pity party for Doris. Doris doesn't actually speak about directly in the monologue that her baby passed on, but there are clues in a few of her conversation that certify her baby's death. I think it is because, even though Doris understands that her child has perished, she doesn't even want to take a moment just to acknowledge it to herself or think about how much she's lost as a mother. What makes the problem even more despairing is the fact Wilfred, the daddy of Doris's baby doesn't even promote her grief. To Wilfred, the baby was only a trend, and he considers that him and Doris are better off without the infant, as Doris informs us of Wilfred saying 'We're better off, Doris. Just the two of us. '
Doris also dwells on days gone by a great deal, and feels that everything happening around her was better when she was a young girl, in comparison to her current situation. I now feel that after studying the monologue, every bit of contact Doris has with the exterior world and people around her is negative, and provides her using what she feels is worthless and inadequate help. Furthermore, Doris may also feel isolated by the modern day society and feel by themselves because all the people she used to know have absent; Doris is only. Midway through the play Doris points out that she seems that folks don't settle down anymore, and also have no sense of permanance. She does indeed this by quoting 'then she proceeded to go and folks began to come and go. You lose keep track of. ' In addition to this, she also says 'don't know anyone around here now' which ultimately shows that modern society feels almost alien to her. She is unable to move ahead with her life which is why she is unable to accept the problem she is in.
Concluding my article, I feel that by using the sort of monologue form Alan Bennett will, creates an overall effect by permitting the audience see only a snapshot of one day in Doris' life, Bennett provides us with profound explanatory and interpretation of her life, and what made Doris who she is. Through the entire play we learn that Doris comes across very careless about her views and even though she is approaching to the finish of her life, she'd just alternatively be on her behalf own and expire exclusively than get help. I find the play very psychological as Doris is achieving the last levels of her life, and ideally at that time you would pray that an old sweetheart like Doris could have satisfied what she wished in life, but sadly Doris didn't.