This essay will explore Alan Bennett’s techniques of exploring loneliness and isolation, by looking at the themes of society, family, and friendship groups. It will also look at the techniques in which Bennett uses his characters to show different ways in which people become isolated and lonely and the manner in which the characters react to isolation and loneliness. Bennett portrays the issue of loneliness and isolation using very different methods; he uses society as a big part of the characters isolation.
In reference to ‘A Chip In The Sugar’ and ‘Her Big Chance’ Bennett shows how the two characters can be isolated and lonely in different ways. This is mainly due to the way in which society looks upon them. Neither characters Lesley or Graham is accepted into the Society. As a reader you are given the impression that Lesley is being taken advantage of with out even realising. Bennett uses this to show how the society acts towards people and the way in which they mistreat people.Order now
This is also shown in ‘A Chip In The Sugar’ by the way in which Graham is treated by the society. Mr Turnbull may be seen as a metaphor as to represent the society; Mr Turnbull does not attempt to include Graham in his conversations or jokes with mother. The reader gains the impression that Mr Turnbull is not fond of Graham ‘I don’t believe in mental illness’. This may be seen as Bennett’s way of showing his own views on the society. Bennett also uses the characters relationships as a way in which to expose their loneliness and isolation.
In ‘A Chip In The Sugar’ Graham is seen to have one relationship of which is with his mother, the reader is not introduced to anyone else of whom Graham may have a relationship with, the closest would be the vicar who visits on rare occasions. ‘When the vicar calls’. Bennett shows Grahams lack of experience with relationships by the way in which he talks about ‘sexual intercourse’ he approaches the subject very technically and is seen to other members of the society as being ‘defensive about sexual intercourse’.
Graham’s relationship with his mother is also his only friendship, Graham often gets protective over his mother ‘I thought I was your past’ Bennett uses this to show how isolated Graham really is and that he feels he is as important to his mother as she is to him. Bennett is able to show that having many relationships can also leave a person feeling lonely and isolated, as often they mean nothing. This is shown by Lesley in ‘Her Big Chance’ she has many relationships with many different men, in a hope to blend in with the society. Lesley does not realise that by doing this she is just becoming even more isolated.
Bennett is able to contrast personalities by using Lesley as a very vivacious character and Graham as a rather shy character. Even with the difference in personalities he is still able to show how two people can similarly be isolated and lonely. Bennett also creates a bigger impression on the reader by giving the characters lack of self-knowledge. He shows that the characters have no realisation that they are not fitting into society more so of Lesley than Graham. Lesley seems not to notice that she is not fitting into the society and makes excuses for peoples actions.
More convincing if my headache was so bad I couldn’t actually speak. ‘ She knows that ‘the rest of them had gone off to supper’ bust does not stop and ask herself why she was not invited to go with them. Graham seems to notice more that he is not fitting in which seems to be the reason for him staying in most of the time, and spending most of his time indoors and in his bed. Although Graham feels he has ‘never had any particular problems’ it is easy to see from the readers point of view that these characters are very self deluded.
Physical isolations are used by Alan Bennett to show how characters are physically rejected, this is shown in ‘A Chip In The Sugar’ when Graham attends therapy group and is left out of most of the conversation, this is the only time Graham spends without his mother. Bennett shows how both characters are in one way or another left stranded without friends, which also adds to their isolation and loneliness.
‘Turns out the rest off them had gone off to supper’. Mr Turnball and Grahams mother often leave Graham out; they go on outings leaving him at home, usually in bed. Today they went over to York’ this also shows how Graham becomes increasingly excluded from the society. Bennett’s language and style differ slightly in ‘A Chip In The Sugar’ and ‘Her Big Chance’ in both, the reader is able to see the events in the characters own deluded way. The language used is mainly the same, although altered to fit the characters individual isolation and their way of accepting it. Blake often has Lesley using clichi?? s such as ‘I didn’t fall off the Christmas tree yesterday’ he does this as to make her seem superficial.
Although at the same time she uses colloquial language ‘ciao, Simon’ this shows how Lesley acts very false towards people. This also draws her away from society, she does this as she often reads self-help books ‘the drill for saying goodbye is’ this too shows how Lesley is insecure caused by her isolation and loneliness. Bennett creates a great sense of insecurity with his character Graham ‘I didn’t say anything’ this is repeated throughout the text, showing that Graham is unable to stand up for himself when others put him down, this makes progressively more isolated.
There is a sense of irony used by Bennett in ‘Her Big Chance’ gives the audience the impression that Lesley is talking about giving her body ‘Acting is really just giving’. Also in ‘Her Big Chance’ Bennett uses imagery ‘then I saw the cat sitting there watching the trout’ this gives the image of the way in which people are towards her. Bennett uses all these things to give his characters their own degrees of loneliness and isolation.