Educating Rita

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New phases of experience frequently bring about growth and change in one’s life.   As one experiences new stages in their life, change is an inherent part of moving ‘into the world’. Willy Russell’s play Educating Rita, shows us that attitude is important for change and growing ‘into the world’.

The new experiences can be problematic but it’s up to the individual to prevail and conquer. It demonstrates to us that change involves taking risks leading to positive consequences of change. Opening the door provides new experiences for growth and change just like Rita opening the door to her lessons provides her the opportunity to absorb knowledge so eagerly. The Door allows you to get out and experience new things.

The door, being the vital metaphor of the play, represents a barrier, which holds us back from instigating a change. It is the perfect symbol for going into the world. It is a portal to new opportunities and experiences if the individual decides to take the initiative. This poem tells us to take a chance, to leave your comfort zone, take a gamble, take a risk, risk it all, risk anything, heck! Risk everything, and embark upon the outside world.

In ER Rita struggles to open the door at the beginning but it becomes easier throughout as she is entering the educated world. She experiences Franks tutoring and she blindly idolises everything in the educated world as ideal and perfect. Her hunger for knowledge drives her through Frank’s lessons in order to grow and change. Rita 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 than ‘eight different types of lager’ as described by Denny representing her whole social class. With her change, she must also forfeit parts of her life in order to make a smooth transition and permutation into the educated world ‘perhaps even abandon [her] uniqueness’

Throughout Act 1 her passion allows her to experience a lot of thing such as reading sophisticated books (which is a change from her regular pulp fiction books like “rubyfruit jungle”) and writing an essay without subjective tone. She goes to the theatre for the first time and finds herself learning about tragedy and something that is tragic from frank. All of these experiences allow her to grow because she now learns to see literature in a different perspective. She is stuck between these two worlds trying to figure out where she belongs. She’s half way through the door. she finds out that her Macbeth essay wasn’t adequate to pass exams. This drives her even further to reach the educated world. She also tells frank that she left Denny after she was given an ultimatum to continue studying or to have a baby. After this experience of leaving her old world for real she only really has one choice to go forward into the new world of options. To go into the world is to leave your world behind and enter a new realm

  When Rita returns from summer school Frank is quite flabbergasted at Rita’s progression and confidence. She has also bought new second hand clothes, a symbol of her growth into the world.   We are able to see this change in Rita as she fought her old-self at summer school when approached by a professor in regards to Ferlinghetti.   Instead of Rita persisting to say ‘Only when its served with Parmesan cheese’ she holds back and replies with ‘Actually I’m not too familiar with American poets’.   This is a clear indication that Rita has changed her ways to move into the world of education and her new life.   Rita’s confidence in herself is demonstrated as she tells Frank how often she stood up during lectures and asked questions constantly.   Further growth in Rita is seen when she quotes Blake, to Frank’s surprise, and it is evident that Rita has come so far.   Rita only starts to grow emotionally when she is finally disillusioned when her “dead classy” flatmate, whom she idolises, commits suicide. Only then does she...
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