Educating Rita

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Willy Russell, ‘Educating Rita’ 27/11/07

‘Educating Rita’ explores the way in which a woman, in her late twenties, Rita, has to deal with everyday life, conflict change and different phases as she becomes educated. The play is based on Willy Russell’s own life. At the start of the play, Frank is a more relaxed character. Rita is a hyper and open minded character, searching for adventure. She comes from the working class society and tries to become educated and well respected. Frank on the other hand is from the upper-class society, well educated but has lost most of his respect through drinking. As the play progresses Frank starts to show a romantic and affectionate side of himself towards Rita, she starts to move away from Frank as she makes new friends and as she becomes more educated, creating a sense of jealousness in Frank. Russell focuses on Franks actions in the beginning of the play. Frank is a relaxed character that gets excited by alcohol “Jubilantly he moves to the Dickens section and pulls out a pile of books to reveal a bottle of whiskey.” The quotation implies that Frank secretively drinking and hiding his alcohol from others view. The quote could also be used as a metaphor where the alcohol is his real life being hidden from other people. He feels bad about drinking nevertheless he feels compelled and destined to do it The language that Frank uses is very upper class compared to Rita. He mentions that he swears a lot. Even though he never swore once in the play. This might be a sign of respect towards Rita, as she is a woman. These signs show that he is well raised, even though he just stopped caring about others. “You just pop off and put your head in the in the oven.” This quote is form a telephone conversation with his girlfriend Julia. He is Rather mean to her, from the quote we can find that the relationship is not going to last. It shows dislike towards her. His attitudes to life are very dull; he is a less renowned poet that has not produced a poem in a while most probably because of his wife that left him. He has lost all his ego and believes that he is an appealing teacher “I am an appalling teacher ... but an appalling teacher is in order for most of my appalling students.” The quote suggests that he does not get on well with his students because they do not like him and they think of him as a drunk, but he thinks that they are sickening and do not deserve much. Frank is not concerned about the quality of his teaching. He gave up on his life, wasting it through alcohol. In scene one of act one, Russell focuses on Rita’s actions. “The door swings open revealing Rita” She has a very symbolic entrance. She is a breath of fresh air in Frank’s life where the door swings open rapidly to reveal a charming woman. Frank’s dull and uninteresting life is lightened up by Rita who is full of energy, wide awake and just searching for freedom through education in an Open University in the Liverpool. She is very rebellious and does what she a kind of working class attitude. “Rita goes to hang her coat on the door hooks” She makes herself at home. She does not have much manners and is not really well raised. She swears and curses but gets straight to the point “Cos’ you don’t understand. So y’ switch it off an’ say, that’s fucking rubbish.” She believes that only educated people watch the ballet and opera, and uneducated people don’t understand. Her attitudes towards life in act one of scene one are very negative because she is from the working, she thinks educated people can live ‘freely’: “God, what’s it like to be free?” She has preconceived ideas about the educated and to live free. But she doesn’t know that not all educated people live free. She is very fussy and childlike, she will get whatever she wants, and Frank cannot stop her: “You’re my tutor … You’re going to bleedin’ well teach me.” Frank is pushing her away but she puts her foot down to get an...
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