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Discuss how Willy Russel uses language and dramatic devices to convey the relationship between Frank and Rita in his Play

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Discuss how Willy Russel uses language and dramatic devices to convey the relationship between Frank and Rita in his Play The play educating Rita was written in the 1980's, a decade of massive social, political and cultural upheaval during which the social fabric of Britain changed forever. At the time, Margaret Thatcher was in dominance as Prime Minister. As a result of the Conservative's rise to power, confrontation between the government and the trade unions lead to strikes and bitter, angry disputes such as the miners strike in 1984 to 1985, in which massive numbers of workers refused to toil any longer. This was dramatised in the play Billy Elliot and the attitudes of the men were portrayed as bloody and vicious. To follow up the disaster, there were riots in the inner-city areas of British cities like Brixton in London. They involved ethnic communities, which were the result of tension and unhappiness in society. When huge numbers of businesses became bankrupt, millions of people were unemployed, levels reaching the highest yet. These were not however the only disasters. Invasion of the Falkland Islands resulted in the start of a war between British and Argentinean troops in 1982. In 1984, an assassination attempt was crushed when a bomb was found in the Grand Hotel, Brighton. The aim of the bomb was to annihilate Margaret Thatcher. On Black Monday, October 19th 1987, the stock market crashed leaving Britain's economy in ruins. And the Hillsborough disaster, when 94 football fans were crushed in a stampede towards the pitch in the stadium. On the other hand, masses of people united to support Live Aid and raise forty million pounds for protecting and caring for the poor people in Africa, suffering from famine. The play, Educating Rita, is set in Frank's study and never leaves the room. The study is in a northern University in which Frank teaches mainly students although Rita is an exception. ...read more.


'I wanna know' She states when Frank asks her what she wants to know. 'I wanna know everything' This shows her complete dedication and determination to her course but it also shows a certain naivety in her views about everything. 'Everything' cannot be just learnt, but Rita starts the course wanting to know 'everything'. She is witty, sharp and humorous. She has a unique way of turning Frank's phrases to laughter and has a certain spontaneity that identifies her as Rita who wants to know everything. Frank and Rita's language throughout the play dramatises their developing relationship because as soon as they meet, Frank and Rita engage in close, open dialogue very quickly, for example when Rita begins to ask about Frank's private life including Julia: 'Do you live on your own then?' This shows how interested Rita is in Frank and how uninterested she is in the text that Frank is trying to show her. She is providing a challenge for Frank to work on and although she insists that she wants to know everything she is proving to be very informal, uneducated and blunt. There is also the example of the conversation about the picture. Rita sees a picture in Frank's office and states very clearly that it is rather rude, with naked people in it. Frank however dismisses it and says that it has been there for a long time and he has never really looked at it properly before but yes it does have a rather crude appearance. Frank is educated but he has started to lose the self-respect that he should still have. He has stopped thinking about what it really means to him. Rita is almost the opposite and she continually asks questions and is not nervous to appear uneducated, which is exactly what she is. Rita has very different attitude towards life and different expectations. She is a middle class hairdresser and she is a practical woman, however she wants to 'Sing better songs than those' that her husband and family sing when they are in the pub and have had a drink. ...read more.


Frank's language reflects his hatred when he talks about Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: 'Done a fine job on you' By this, he is implying that he has done a very good job, but what he has made is not entirely to his satisfaction. It horrifies him to see what he has made. Willy Russel uses lots of different types of language and presentation of language to dramatise the developing relationship between Frank and Rita. This use of language and dramatic devices moves their relationship beyond the average relationship between a tutor and a new pupil. The relationship blooms and continues to Bloom throughout act one but when Rita returns from Summer school, Frank loses control and she no longer needs his opinions and support. They move apart and Rita makes new friends of the students and they invite her on holidays and Franks becomes sadder and more of a drunkard until almost at the end, when Rita passes her exam and thanks Frank for all his work. They accept each other and each other's lifestyles and they accept that they are different and tackle life in different ways. Rita has achieved what she set out to do and she has been given the capability to make her own choices. She does not have to be a hairdresser anymore. She can choose to move on and take new opportunities. She decided to cut Frank's hair because that is what she is best at and that is what she can give Frank in return for what he has done for her. She still has some of her practical skills and this is what settles Frank. He believed that she had forgotten all the necessary practical skills and had changed, but when she offers to cut his hair it gives him hope. Willy Russel gave Frank and Rita a very specific, crafted, careful language in order to explore their individual personalities as well as their changing, developing relationship. In this way, Willy Russel has explored a series of themes of class, culture, education and opportunity in a witty, enjoyable, engaging and dramatic way. Hannah Francis 10GUN ...read more.

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