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Describe the progress of Rita's education - What effect does becoming educated have on Rita and those closest to her?

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Introduction

Describe the progress of Rita's education . What effect does becoming educated have on Rita and those closest to her? Rita is a working class, uneducated woman. She wants to become educated to get away from the "working class culture" and to know "what wine to buy". During her education, at the Open University, Rita goes through three stages of development. Stage One commences when Rita first meets Frank and takes her up until she goes to summer school. The second stage occurs after Rita has returned from summer school where she became more confident and began to make friends. The third stage begins after Trish's (Rita's flat mate) suicide attempt. Rita's quest to become educated affects those closest to her, Frank (Rita's tutor) and Denny (Rita's husband), often in a negative way. Rita is poorly educated, works as a hairdresser and lives on a council estate. Rita was not interested in education when she was at school because it was "borin'" and there were "ripped -up books, broken glass everywhere, knifes an' fights." All Rita's peers thought "... studyin' was just for wimps, wasn't it?" Yet despite this attitude Rita realized that she "... might have got it all wrong," hence her desire to join the Open University. Rita's family expected her to leave school, get married, have a baby and be a housewife, so her expectations of herself were limited. Nevertheless, she is a thinker. We can see that she has quite a wide vocabulary because she uses words such as "erotic". This suggests to us that Rita has innate intelligence. ...read more.

Middle

She has made him look around and see things differently. Frank also flirts with Rita. An example of this is when Rita says:" he doesn't half get on my tits" (when talking about Forester) and Frank replies:" Good. You must show me the evidence." Frank is reluctant to teach Rita because he likes her and he does not want to see her lose her unique approach to life by becoming a clone of one of his full time students. He thinks that teaching her to pass the Open University exams will do this and he believes Rita is too original to do this to her. Rita then persuades Frank to take her on by telling Frank that she "wants to change." "Rita: (going up to him) Wait a minute, listen to me. Listen: I'm on this course, You are my teacher- an' you're gonna bleedin' well teach me." The stage direction shows that Rita is demanding and in control. She has become more assertive and determined. It is Rita's determination which helps her succeed. Rita helps Frank to rediscover his teaching skills because she is a challenge to teach; she struggles with the literary ideas that she has to cope with during the course. Frank helps Rita to "connect" with Forster, a writer she is studying and Frank seems to be really enjoying Rita's company. She could be the best thing in his life at the moment. When Rita returns from summer school we can see that she has changed. The stage direction at the beginning of Act two states that she "bursts through the door" immediately suggesting her enthusiasm and when she begins talking her sentence length reflects her busy schedule at summer school and her enthusiasm which is almost delirious. ...read more.

Conclusion

She is like a machine, which cannot think for itself. Rita's final change comes in the last scene. Part of the reason for Rita's change was when her friend Trish attempted to kill herself. Rita realises that perhaps she was trying to be someone that she was not. At the beginning of the play Rita calls herself Rita after Rita Mae Brown. Towards the end of the play she realizes that the person on the inside is more important than the one on the outside. Another reason for Rita's change is that she realises she was not being herself in the essays that she wrote, and that she needs to be herself. She realises that she had "...just ended up with a load of quotes an' empty phrases..." In the end Rita feels that she can be an individual again because she now has choice. she has gained what she wanted from education which was to become an "educated woman." Frank buys Rita a dress and admits that he is attracted to her; he says "when choosing it I put more emphasis on the word woman rather than educated." Frank appears to be glad that Rita is back to normal. In conclusion I think that although Rita was part of the reason that Frank lost his job she has also prepared him well for his new chance at life in Australia. Rita, too, has progressed and thanks too Frank, she also has a second chance at life. Because of Rita Frank is not drinking as heavily, he is more positive and he is not as self loathing as he used to be. These factors will have given him a better chance at life in Australia. I think that both Rita and Frank have benefited from Rita's education. ...read more.

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