Listening Piece Commentary, English Language and Literature a-Level

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Listening piece commentary

My listening audience piece was inspired by the old man in Poe's Tell Tale Heart, thought evil by the protagonist, but given no voice to express himself. My protagonist is an elderly character with a dark side, similar to Angela Carter's in The Werewolf. To subtly reveal this hidden personality I adopted the style of Alan Bennett’s monologue Playing Sandwiches where he gradually builds suspicion of the speaker, ultimately revealing the horrible truth. I created a radio monologue told from the viewpoint of an elderly lady, intended to make the listeners think about the secrets that lie hidden behind closed doors in regular people’s lives, typical of the Gothic. The exposition of my piece introduces the lady as a kind soul: 'I’m sorry; Miss Hawking doesn’t live here anymore'. I used apologetic politeness 'I'm sorry' to encourage listeners to like the character. The nonstandard auxiliary verb ‘was’ makes her speech sound natural 'Had herself a nice feller too; they was having a baby together’, as does the colloquial lexis ‘feller’. The visitor is a dramatic device to allow the lady to speak her thoughts. When she talks of romance, the protagonist’s language is more like a written story than spontaneous speech, 'Then he held her that night, under the moon, with the stars all shinin’ from above.' She uses discourse markers, lexis like a romance novel, and conventional romantic imagery of the moon and stars, suggesting that she has played it over and over in her head. Because this is a monologue, the visitor's presence is only implied by the protagonist’s speech. Instead of stage directions my protagonist says everything needed to imply the action 'No, no, you needn’t take your shoes off '. The repetition of the negative 'No, no' and the lack of back-channeling begin to reveal her unusual side, sounding a bit too firm with her requests while covering it with a polite tone....
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