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Educating Rita

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Introduction

Many critics agree that there is a dramatic transformation in the Russell's Protagonist, Educating Rita. Rita has many parallels with the author Willy Russell. Both Russell and Rita had the same job as a women's hairdresser and then realize that there is more to life than just new clothes and decide that an education would give them 'choice'. So they both studied literature to get a better education. Russell reveals the changes Rita undergoes through his stage directions, Rita's language throughout the play and her body language. In the beginning of the play, we see Frank in 'control. This is shown by Rita's respect and admiration for him, she refers to his room as "a perfect mess," (Act 1 Scene 2). This shows that Rita sees Frank's room as being a symbol of middle class unpretentiousness. To Rita it seems that Frank is too busy to clean up. However her statement is biased as Frank is from the middle class and Rita sees the middle class as being superior to her as she is of the working class. Rita also shows her admiration for Frank by saying " an' I like you" (Act 1 scene 1). She has just met him but Rita grows to admire Frank very quickly, and refuses to change tutors. ...read more.

Middle

Act 2 scene 1 is halfway through Rita's transformation. Rita's confidence had grown tremendously since she attended summer school 'stage directions: she swirls on the spot to show off her new clothes.' This shows that Rita is bubbling with confidence. The old Rita wasn't happy with the way she dressed, this shows a metamorphosis in Rita, but is it for the best? Although she still uses some colloquial vocabulary " I was dead scared" this shows Rita is halfway through her transformation. She also tells Frank that when she was asked if she was fond of Ferlinghetti she nearly said, "only if it's served with parmesan cheese" (Act 2 scene 1) but she didn't. That would be something the old Rita would have said, but the new Rita doesn't use humour as a shield anymore. She also stands up to ask questions, this shows her new confidence. We also find out about Rita's new flat mate, Trish in act 2 scene 1. Rita says she's having "the time of me life" (Act 2 scene 1), living with Trish is like a dream for Rita; she describes Trish as "dead classy" (Act2 scene 1). Rita now wants to sit on the grass with the "real students," Rita used to look up to them as if they were her superiors, now she feels like she's their equal, and has the courage to join them. ...read more.

Conclusion

The ' large winter coat' Rita is wearing shows that time has moved on. Rita is now trying to build bridges in their relationship, whereas before we saw their relationship dissolve there is now gentle teasing and a renewed humour between the two. Now that she is educated, she has a 'choice.' This has changed her overall attitude as she has more than just a choice of what to wear. We also find out that Rita's role model Trish tried to kill herself. Rita's language is less rough around the edges although she is starting to use abbreviations again. She has accepted the old Rita and embraces the new one. She is now humorous of Frank's drinking, and no longer critical. Overall she has settled into a hybrid Rita, halfway through the old and the new Rita. She now has academics, social confidence and choice but lost her sense of innocence. She has found herself. She now has uncertainty in her life, but choice and opportunity. In conclusion, we see a tremendous change in Rita through the course of the play. She goes from being an uneducated working class woman into an academic woman that has been accepted into middle class circles. She manages to 'find herself'. She now has 'choice' and uncertainty in her life. This shows us that Rita has managed to achieve her goals, as she is now able to wear the dress that Frank gives her. It is symbolic, because it is now the dress of an educated woman. ...read more.

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