Educating Rita

Topics: Rita Mae Brown, Educating Rita, Willy Russell Pages: 4 (1030 words) Published: April 20, 2008
Educating Rita Essay

In this essay I am going to talk about act 1 scene 1 from the play Educating Rita which was written by novelist Willy Russell.

Willy Russell was born in 1947, Whiston, Liverpool. Willy comes from a working class background. And upon leaving school at the age of 15 with one O-level in English, he became a ladies hairdresser for 6 years and ran his own salon, Which he said helped him become a good listener. He then had numerous jobs, including writing songs that he preformed in local folk clubs, and preformed songs and sketches on local radio stations. When he was 20 he decided to return back to school and became a teacher in Toxteth. He then met his future wife Annie and became interested in writing drama. Some of his more famous plays include; Blood Brothers, Our Day Out and his first play, John, Paul, George, Ringo and Bert.

Russell is similar to the character Rita in many ways, Rita is a ladies hairdresser, who longs for a more fulfilling life and wishes to become educated in literature (as did Russell) they both also come from a middle class background, and are both faced with the same dilemmas in life.

In Act 1 Scene 1, Russell uses humour in the characters Rita and Frank, he does this by portraying a vast contrast between both characters. Rita is a common, mid 20 year old woman from a typical council estate in Liverpool, who wishing to pursue her dream of being more educated, changes her name from Susan White, to Rita, in admiration of the writer Rita Mae Brown in a sense that it may make her more sophisticated.

Where as Frank is a lecturer in a university in his early fifties, he is witty, intellectual but, he has lost passion for his job and is also an alcoholic. In the play it says he

“jubilantly he moves to the Dickens section and pulls out a pile of books to reveal a bottle of whisky.”

The contrast in these characters in itself is funny. There is an example of humour in the first few minutes of the play, where...
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