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 just commented about and
so to make herself feel better says, "I've a feeling Scott may be gay.
I normally like them only I think he's one of ones that turned
bitter." She uses the excuse that he said what he did because he is
one of the bitter ones. We can see her make her make similar excuses
for things she doesn't like in other places in the monologue.
There is also very little sexuality included in Susan's monologue.
Geoffrey, her husband has just finished a sermon on sex, and she has
over heard Miss Budd and Miss Bantock's discussion. "Not to mention
whatever shamefaced fumblings go on between Miss Budd and Miss
Bantock. "It's alright if we offer it to God, Alice" "well if you say
so Pauline." Here Susan is implying that they are lesbians.
Religion is quite important part of the monologue 'Bed Among the
Lentils' as Susan, the main characters husband is a vicar. I think
that the whole thing briefly suggests that in our time not as many
people have such strong beliefs as they did 50 years ago. This can be
seen in a lot of sarcastic remarks which Susan makes. "So Geoffrey
concludes, when we put our money in the plate it is a symbol of...