Educating Rita

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The speech – question (do the pathways into new worlds offer problems or possibilities?)

What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from. Good morning Teachers & Year 12. In this speech, I will be focusing on how Willy Russel’s play Educating Rita and Bruce Dawe’s poem “Easy does it,” emphasise the notion that pathways into new worlds offer problems and possibilities. From the outset of the play, the idea of moving into new worlds offering problems and possibilities is clearly evident. Before we even see Rita, a connection is made regarding the difficulties of moving into a new world, demonstrated through a metaphor, which reveals her difficulties in getting through the door. Rita hopes that the Open University will allow her to forge a better life for herself, as she aims to “discover meself.” From the opening scene, Russell establishes the differences between Rita and frank, in terms of the language they use and the way they talk and act. Rita’s language is informal and colloquial, whereas frank’s is formal, illustrating the gaps between the lower class and middle class. However, even from this early scene, Rita expresses her overriding wish – she wants to ‘know everything,’ emphasising the fact that new worlds, indeed, offer possibilities. Rita and frank both want more than the world offers. Frank dislikes his job and his students, and confesses that he is ‘an appalling teacher’. Rita, on the other hand feels trapped in her current life, because of the expectations placed on her by her working – class friends and husband, who believe that she should settle down and start having a family. However, Rita is not prepared to do this and her quest for an education brings her into conflict with her husband Denny, revealing how the pathways into new worlds may undoubtedly contain problems and drawbacks. Eventually, when Denny makes Rita decide between education and him, she chooses...
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