Educating Rita and Pleasantville
The concept of ‘Into the world’ refers to the transition of an individual into a broader world which transcends class restrictions, enriching their sense of identity and freedom. Willy Russel’s play “Educating Rita” depicts Rita’s transition from her working-class background into the world of education while Gary Ross’s film “Pleasantville” similarly displays the journey of an individual from their restrictive background into a new society which. Catalyst
The idea of venturing into the world by individuals can be catalysed by their need to transcend social expectations, ultimately creating new pathways into the world. This is evident in the play “Educating Rita” and the film “Pleasantville” which explores the desire for knowledge as the motivation to exceed restricting societal backgrounds. Willy Russel’s “Educating Rita” depicts Rita’s transition into the academic world through education as an opportunity to transcend her restrictive working-class background. Rita’s initial discontent with her background is apparent through her social expectations where she “should have a baby now, everyone expects it,” She expresses a tone of reluctance that emphasizes her duties as baggage disallowing her choice. Additionally, Rita’s mother states “We could sing better songs” which metaphorically highlights her societal background as limitations that prevent personal growth and development fundamentally demonstrating Rita’s need to surpass these expectations. This need to accentuate her life is evident through her name, stating that “I’m not Susan anymore,” symbolically representing her yearning for a new identity outside her past. Additionally, stage directions show Rita constantly moving around the office exemplifying her desire for mobility. This is reinforced through the window motif, representing the academic world in which Rita desires stressed through the recurring directions outlining her “Staring” out the window. This ultimately highlights education as the pathway to escape the working-class, which has restricted her personal growth, and into the academic world providing her with a broader sense of identity and ‘life itself’. Russel clearly portrays the need to surpass restricting social expectations as the motivation for an individual to venture into a new world where she can ‘discover meself’. Such themes are also apparent in “Pleasantville,” Ross’s film “Pleasantville” similarly depicts a desire for knowledge resulting from the motivation to transcend social expectations as Jennifer transitions into the educated world to avoid expectations of contemporary society. He utilises American clichés of her smoking and flirting to establish her popular status. However, this also demonstrates Jennifer’s lack of identity as she is reduced to a stereotype, highlighting the restrictions of her world. Ross identifies that it is these social expectations that motivates her into entering into the world of knowledge, exemplified through the window scene. The use of non-diegetic sound focusing on book pages flipping shows Jennifer intensely studying while the extreme close up of her wearing glasses is symbolic of the new identity she has discovered from her transition into knowledge. Additionally, when Skip, who now maintains contemporary characteristics, knocks on her window, Ross shoots Jennifer from a low angle juxtaposing the high angle of Skip, her emphasizing her empowerment. He ultimately indicates that similarly to Rita, it is Jennifer’s need to exceed her stereotypical background which has resulted in the path of education, allowing her to open up new phases of life. This notion is reinforced through the closing window sound emphasized by the lack of non-diegetic music, outlining her desire to leave the world of contemporary society which has inhibited her freedom. Both Russel and Ross depict the need to transcend restricting background as the catalyst to forging new pathways into the world....
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