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Discuss the themes of social class and education in Educating Rita.

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Introduction

Stuart Milne Discuss the themes of social class and education in Educating Rita In this essay I will explore the themes of social class and education in Willy Russell's play 'Educating Rita'. Educating Rita is a play about a 26-year-old woman, Rita, and her desire to discover herself and change her social class status through education. Russell contrasts the character of Rita with her tutor, Frank who is educated but bored of his life. At the beginning of the play, Russell portrays Rita as a stereotypical working class woman. She values her job as a hairdresser and enjoys singing songs at the local pub with her family. Even with these values in life, Rita becomes disillusioned by being in a lowbrow social class, and craves to improve her standing in society. Rita, through education believes she can change herself on the inside in much the same way as her clients change their outward appearance with a haircut. ...read more.

Middle

Rita wants, however, just to be able to speak well and understand ballet and poetry, she does not see Frank as a failure. Frank sees Rita when she first enters into his office as a breath of fresh air for she is witty, inquisitive and intelligent and not like the other boring pretentious students. Rita looks at a painting and says, "Look at those tits", this is a sign that she is not inhibited from speaking her mind and the truth. Frank enjoys this comment for all his other students would bring literary meanings into a simple painting instead of expressing their true feelings as Rita does. Another example of this is when Frank asks Rita what assonance means. While Frank's students might have given a dictionary definition of , "The repetition of identical or similar vowel sounds," She says, "getting the rhyme wrong", which amuses Frank because of its directness and wit. ...read more.

Conclusion

She and her friend Trish think it is "dead good" for they read too much into it, but he says it's "pretentious crap" and asks Rita what she would have thought of it before she became "educated"', she agrees that she would have thought it was "crap". It seems they have reversed their roles, as Frank now thinks his poetry is rubbish and tears it up. By the end of the play both Rita and Frank have changed enormously. Rita has moved into the social class, which she so desired, while Frank loses his status in society after a drunken evening. It is true that Frank gave Rita an education, which changed her drastically, but as Frank said, "Rita you're singing a different song, not necessarily a better one". Rita offered Frank sincerity and vitality. Russell leaves the reader to question the value of social status after the attempted suicide of Rita's friend Trish. However Rita emphasises that the education has given her the choice to determine her own future where as those without education have little or no choice. Stuart Milne ...read more.

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