How Is Miss Ruddock’s Terrible Loneliness Conveyed In Alan Bennett’s

1341 words - 5 pages

How Is Miss Ruddock’s Terrible Loneliness Conveyed In Alan Bennett’s
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 letters that do not need a reply. This
occurs when she receives a letter from her optician on reminding her
that her ‘spectacles…would almost certainly be in need of
verification’. This is a computer generated letter sent to all
customers after a certain amount of time, and Miss Ruddock replies to
by saying she ‘thought it very considerate of them for drawing this to
my attention and in the event of me noticing any deterioration I
would…get in touch with them’. This is another example of loneliness
as it shows her desperation to communicate with the outside world and
will use any excuses to do so.

Miss Ruddock is lonely because she leads a very lacklustre life. Other
than writing inappropriate letters to anyone she see’s fit, she spends
a lot of her time sitting in her chair by the window, often looking
over the actions of her neighbour’s and casting judgement over their
lifestyles. An example of this is when she says ‘Well, you’ve got a
car, you’ve got a transistor, it’s about time you invested in some
curtains’. At the beginning of the monologue we find out that Miss
Ruddock attended the funeral of somebody who, until their obituary was
posted in the local newspaper, she had called the wrong name....

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