A Lady Of Letters?
Miss Irene Ruddock is an ordinary middle-aged woman who lives on her
own. She was close to her mother who had recently passed away. Miss
Ruddock has no real friends and finds it difficult to fill her time so
she is often sitting in her chair, looking out of her window and
noting what is going on in other people’s lives. She has no social
life and she only leaves the house when she has to.
Alan Bennett shows Miss Ruddock’s loneliness through her obsession of
writing letters. She uses these letters as a way of communicating with
the world outside her home. In the drama, before going to prison, we
do not hear Miss Ruddock have a meaningful conversation with anyone
other than her doctor, who she is talking to, not about her own
health, but about her neighbour’s child, who she feels is being
neglected. This shows that she is lonely because she has no close
family or friends around her who she can talk to so she think that by
writing letters she is helping the people around her and making
herself feel useful. In the monologue Miss Ruddock writes letters to a
wide range of people. All of the letters have one thing is common,
which is that they are all letters of complaint. She goes to the
funeral of somebody she barely knew and complained to the funeral
directors about ‘grown men sulking in the rhododendrons with tab ends
in their mouths’. She also, after a trip to London, wrote to the Queen
to complain about some dog poo in front of Buckingham Palace. This
tells the viewers that she is lonely because she will talk about the
smallest things if it means she will be communicating with somebody.
Miss Ruddock also replies to ...
... middle of paper ...
... things with which to occupy her time. ‘I am that busy …
I’ve opted for bookbinding and dressmaking’. With these things she
has had no time with which to write letters and she has nothing to
complain about. The viewer also knows she is lonely as her last words
in the monologue are ‘I am so happy.’ For most people prison is the
worst time of their lives but prison gave Miss Ruddock a new license
of life and now she has so little time for herself and feels so wanted
and needed she loves life.
I think that when Miss Ruddock is released from prison she will not
continue to write letters. I think that, for most people the story
had a sad ending, but Miss Ruddock learned a lot from prison, it
helped her to overcome her ‘terrible loneliness’ by making her feel
she had a purpose. It also taught her how to communicate with people
orally, and how to make friends.
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