Educating Rita

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New stages of experience often bring about growth and change in one’s life. As one experiences new phases in their life, change is an implicit part of moving ‘into the world’. This is clearly demonstrated in the play Educating Rita, by Willy Russell, where Rita’s growth and change comes about with her education and experiences in her social, working-class life. The Devil Wears Prada, directed by David Frankes and an interview titled 2 of us, John van Tigglemen, also demonstrate how new stages of experience can bring about growth and change in one’s life leading to a transition into a new world.

Growth and change often comes about when new stages of experience allow a transition ‘into the world’. This is illustrated in Educating Rita as Rita grows with knowledge and changes as a result of moving into the world of education and middle-class society. The changes made in Rita’s life include her name, from Susan to Rita after her favourite author. We also see Rita leave her husband Denny and her social class pressures, slowly gain confidence in herself to associate with ‘proper’ students and her views on Frank, her tutor, as well as her attitudes towards her tutorials. Rita desires to ‘know’ and expects Frank to teach her ‘everything’ in order to have choice and direction in her life, ‘I wanna discover meself’. Choice, to Rita, is more then ‘eight different types of lager’ as described by Denny and their social class. With her change, she must also sacrifice parts of her life in order to make a smooth transition into the educated world ‘perhaps even abandon [her] uniqueness’.

Rita sees education as a means to an end that enables her to break free from her societal restrictions as a female. It allows her to have choice and not conform to the normal working class life. Education frees Rita from her dissatisfying life which prevents her from changing, growing and moving into another world. ‘You know what I learn…about art an’ literature, it feeds me...
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