The Portrayal of the Contemporary Society in Talking Heads Essay

The Portrayal of the Contemporary Society in Talking Heads Essay

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The Portrayal of the Contemporary Society in Talking Heads

We have been studying three different monologues written by Alan
Bennett. They are 'Her Big Chance' involving Lesley an actress, 'Bed
Among the Lentils' with Susan, a vicars wife and 'A Chip in the Sugar'
including Graham who still lives with his mother. In this essay I am
going to discuss how contemporary society is portrayed in all three.
There are many different issues in our society which are raised in
talking heads, for example: religion, ageism and sexuality.


Sexuality is involved in all three monologues, but more in Graham's.
All throughout 'A Chip in the Sugar' there is suspicion that Graham is
gay. An example of this is in the clothes he wears. "Plastic Mac",
"and flares are anathema even in Bradford", and "grey socks and
sandals." Mr Turnbull suggests that these clothes are not suitable for
a young man of today. Also at the very end of the monologue our
suspicions appear to be correct when Graham's mother says, "I know the
kind of magazines you read" I said, "Chess. You'll catch a cold" She
said, "They never are chess. Chess with no clothes on. Chess in their
birthday suits. That kind of chess. Chess men." I said, "Go to bed.
And turn your blanket off". Here Graham's mother has finally gained
power after Graham's secret is revealed. We can see that he tries to
regain the power as he tries to remind her again to knock her blanket
off. Graham uses his mother's problem with remembering things quite
often when he feels he is losing power.

In 'Her Big Chance' there is only one occasion when sexuality is
involved. Lesley does not like what Scott had j...

... middle of paper ...

...iews to the different monologues. I
found it very hard to find anything to do with racism, religion or
sexuality in Lesley's monologue. I think this is because Bennet is
trying to get across that some people's lives include just one issue
in society, whereas others can contain a combination of all different
issues like Graham. I also think Bennet has helped us to learn from
our reactions and opinions, as we have seen how selfish we are with
opinions and need time to consider them more and change them.

But do we choose what we want to dismiss and only have what we think
in our heads or do we just say and think what the rest of society is
thinking, and have we just been brainwashed with ideas? Deep down I
think we all do not truly believe with the majority but are afraid to
be singled out for having different opinions.

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