Educating Rita

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New stages of experience often bring about growth and change in one’s life. As one experiences new stages in life, change is an implicit part of moving ‘into the world.’ In order to move ‘into the world’, one must face and overcome obstacles and ultimately learn from them. 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.

Growth and change often come about when new stages of experience allow a transition into the new world. The protagonist, Rita, grows with knowledge and changes as a result of moving into the world of education and middle-class society. We see the changes she makes as she leaves her husband Denny and her social class pressures in order to move into the world. She slow gains confidence in herself to associate with ‘proper’ students and her views on Frank her tutor, as well as her attitudes towards her tutorials.

Rita believes that gaining an academic knowledge will help her discover herself; she strives to break free from her societal restrictions as a female. It allows her to have choice and not to conform to the normal working class life. Education frees Rita from her dissatisfying life, which prevents her from changing, growing and moving another world. 'You know what I learn...about art an' literature, it feeds me inside'.

Throughout the play, the stage directions allow us to see the growth and change in Rita. She struggles to open the door to Frank’s office, a barrier to her new stage of experience and moving into the world. Rita bursts through the door in Act One and wanders around the room showing her enthusiasm and curiosity towards education. However, this enthusiasm gradually decreases as Rita becomes more educated and a role reversal between Frank and Rita is seen. Rita begins to use less colloquial or ‘pop-culture’ terms and Frank, who uses these terms more.

As she changes, she...
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