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Educating Rita

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Educating Rita Examine Frank's growing sense of unease as Rita becomes more educated. Educating Rita is a play written by Willy Russell. The play is set in Liverpool during the 1980's. It is written to highlight the difference in class, between a middle class lecturer and a working class student. During the 80's period women were to have less challenging and rewarding jobs. Contrary to this men were expected to gain an education and become the income earner. Women no longer sought this role and wanted to lead the same life as men. This was a major issue in the 1980's. At the beginning of the play Rita is simply a twenty-six year old hairdresser who is tired of her plain, mundane and repetitive lifestyle and is in need of a voyage of self discovery and pursues an education to broaden her horizons. She believes that the only way to break free from this rather boring way of life is to get an education. She wishes to attend an Open University course in order to obtain a degree in English Literature. Rita reflects a working class desire to escape from her own culture and background in order to lead a more fulfilling life in the type of society represented by her tutor Frank and other students. In the first act, Rita is presented as a working class woman, brought up in a working class environment; she has a strong sense of humour, emphasising her working class existence. Rita and Frank contrast greatly, Frank is a well educated, upper class lecturer, who is also very well spoken. ...read more.


Previously he had lost interest in things. Frank's window is jammed shut this shows that he doesn't open up himself. The lack of fresh air in his room represents the lack of freedom he lets into his life. This also applies to the fact that his door is sealed shut which shows that no one goes into his office and he does not open it to let fresh air in In the second scene of the play Frank's attitude and dialogue seems to be more confident and self - assured, but only when he is on the topic of education and Literature. When the conversation switches to other topics such as life, society and marriage, his shy and nervous nature returns and Rita once again dominates the scene. Rita also tells Frank what to do and what not to do, as if she has known him for a long time. It is easy for her to act like this, as her personality is very bubbly and outgoing with a sense of humour meaning that she does not and will not get embarrassed easily. By Act 1 Scene 3, she flounces into the room saying that she is bored and by now Frank and Rita's bond as friends has grown stronger and they both understand each other as they can talk to each other nevertheless still keeping it professional. Rita "God, I've had enough of this. It's borin' ...honest to God he doesn't half get on my tits." ...read more.


We notice how Frank's continuous drinking is driving Rita away. We also see how Rita overvalues and uses her education too superficially. All that Rita realises now that the middle class life is not all that good especially after her friend Trish's near death experience. She realised that life is what you make it and not how it seems from the outside. Although both Frank and Rita warn each other they do not seem to realise what they are doing to themselves. She dropped her regional accent and has become more confident in revealing her views on particular topics. The play appears to underline different messages about education. It is education which seems to almost destroy the true, good and unique character of Rita. It also leads to Frank almost regretting his own education. Rita idolised the concept of education but I think that the message Willy Russell was trying to portray through 'Educating Rita' is that education is not what life is all about. Education simply gives people power over their own lives. It did offer Rita some of the solutions which she had craved for when wanting to find a way out of what she believed to be an empty life. It did give her the freedom and choice which she had longed for even though it was in a different way to what she had expected. As Rita discovered towards the end of the lay education does not necessarily bring somebody into a new, better character and way of life, it just gives the person the freedom to choose which path to follow in the future. Anish Sethi 1 ...read more.

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