Alan Bennett Talking Heads

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Alan Bennett Talking Heads

In Bennett's monologues the main character faces an important decision

which will affect the course of their lives. I will go on and explain

in this essay, the play writer's use of literary techniques -

including setting, theme and characterisation- which may make the

decision seem correct or not. Talking Heads was originally produced

for BBC television but has recently been used as a collection of short

stories. Each of the characters portrayed, is played by an actress

that has been previously associated with Alan Bennett e.g.:Thora Hird

who plays Doris worked on a BBC Radio 4 programme - Deadringers .It is

safe to say that Alan Bennett tailored some of the material, to suit

the actors, own individual style of acting.

Each literal technique plays its own vital part of the story and to

begin with I am going to look at how setting takes shape in the plays.

Most of Bennett's work is focused primarily in the North of England,

mainly Yorkshire, partly because that is where he grew up and a

Northern perceptive is shown throughout the monologues. While

Bennett's "Englishness" and "Northerness" (terms by no means

synonymous) are evident to see, they are no more nationalistic nor


But at a closer view, the three stories I am studying are set mainly

in a few areas- A Chip in the Sugar is quite spread out over a

distance(Lancashire, Durham and Yorkshire), whereas 'A lady of

Letters' and 'A Cream Cracker' are set in the house of the persona.

Setting greatly influences the characters behaviour and attitude,

because they are Northerners, they are very traditional people who are

stuck in their ways, and of course this opens the North- South Divide

argument. We British (par...

... middle of paper ...

...alks Graham

thinks to himself- "Leonard you expose your self in Sainsbury's

doorway. Like mother said Tesco you can understand".

This is an excellent example of humour in Talking Heads but also an

sample of what British comedy is about - humour where we answer back

with a sarcastic comment! .So Bennett's humour is typically of British

comedy throughout the 1970s.The fact that we do laugh, is because of

his biting turn of phrase and Bennett's talent for delivering his

barbs with brilliantly chosen wit.

To conclude

Alan Bennett has truly delivered a great piece of work, which will be

remembered for its humour and classics perceptive of British life. His

use of techniques and word choice, are not only funny, but thought

provocative, by making us think about the issues which plague our

society today. To sum up Talking, Heads, in one word - "Brilliant".

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