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Love Through The Ages | A Lady of Letters

Ruth Owen | Wednesday October 12, 2011



Guide Navigation

  1. Studying For The Exam
  2. Examples From Literature
  3. About The Exam
  4. Further Reading
  5. The Examination
  6. Symptoms of Love, Graves
  7. On Chesil Beach
  8. The First Tooth, Lamb
  9. The Deserter
  10. The Soldier, Brooke
  11. Sonnet 130, Shakespeare
  12. Measure for Measure
  13. Hamlet
  14. Othello
  15. King Lear
  16. Equus
  17. Great Expectations
  18. Enduring Love
  19. Mid-Term Break, Heaney
  20. Your Last Drive
  21. The Going
  22. The Waste Land, Elliot

A Lady of Letters

Alan Bennett 1934-

Bennett is famous for his dramatic monologues – short sketches spoken by a single character that with wry humour reveal aspects of humanity and society. In A Lady of Letters we see through Bennett’s creation of the character of Irene Ruddock, a middle-aged and lonely woman, what can occur when seemingly harmless actions lead to things getting out of hand.

I ought to be writing up my diary. Mrs. Proctor’s got us all on keeping diaries as part of Literary Appreciation. The other girls can’t think what to put in theirs, me I can’t think what to leave out. Trouble is I never have time to write it up; I’m three days behind as it is.

I share a room with Bridget, who’s from Glasgow. She’s been a prostitute on and off and did away with the kiddy, accidentally, when she was drunk and upset. Bonny little face, you’d never think it. Her mother was blind, but made beautiful pastry and brought up a family of nine in three rooms. You don’t know you’re born I think. I’m friends with practically everyone though besides Bridget. I’m up and down this corridor; more often than not I’m still on my rounds when the bell goes.

They laugh at me, I know, but it’s all in good part. Lucille says, ‘You’re funny you, Irene. You don’t mind being in prison.’ I said, ‘Prison!’ I said, ‘Lucille. This is the first taste of freedom I’ve had in years.’

Of course I’m lucky. The others miss the sex. Men, men, men. They talk about nothing else.

Mind you, that’s not quite the closed book it...

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