• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

'Educating Rita' by Willy Russell.

Extracts from this document...


'Educating Rita' by Willy Russell: Willy Russell's popular play 'Educating Rita' is set in the 1970s in the inner city of Liverpool. This cleverly written play, follows a young girl in her twenties, as she battles between the reality of her poor background, and her burning ambition of becoming educated. At the beginning of the play Rita is working as a hairdresser, and living in a council house with her boyfriend, factory worker Denny. She seems to be trapped in a place where she doesn't belong. Simply trying to fit in as she has done ever since her school life. Rita wants to break free, find her place in life. She's the one in so many who just won't accept the automatic life style, that she inherited from her parents. As the play unfolds we see Rita find her missing piece, an education. Additionally what becomes more interesting is seeing her teacher, Frank, wanting the opposite in life. To break free from having what Rita wants, he can't understand the need for, as I quote from one occasion, "pretentious, characterless and without style" literacy. We can see Frank, an educated lecturer, turn to drink as an escape root from the world he lives in. Although when he teaches Rita, this in itself is an escape for him, someone different to study and admire. For his life is filled with well educated, well off folk, whom Frank isn't fond of. But is this because he takes for granted what so many people can't have? Linguistically, 'Educating Rita' gives it's audience many things to digest. Willy Russell cleverly and vividly displays a story of two sides. As we follow Rita in her battle to be something, someone. And as we follow Frank becoming sick of the pretend shield which education gives us. Shortly into the play, we find Rita and Frank in one of their lessons. ...read more.


"Wasn't his wife a cow eh? An' that fantastic bit where he meets Macduff an' he thinks he's all invincible." Rita has clearly digested every bit of action from the play, and is intrigued further as to know if the play was a tragedy. "I'm going to. Macbeth's a tragedy isn't it?" Here the audience can register Rita slowly becoming dragged in to the puzzle of literacy. We can sense Rita's growing ambition, and her desire to break into that small proportion of people who understand the ins and outs of literature and language. Further down Frank begins to explain to her the difference between a tragedy and something that's tragic. "Well I better get back. I've left a customer with a perm lotion. If I don't get a move on there'll be another tragedy. "No. There won't be a tragedy." "There will y' know. I know this woman; she's dead fussy. If her perm doesn't come out right there'll be blood an' guts everywhere." "Which might be quite tragic-but it won't be a tragedy." From then on Rita answers Frank with short one or two word sentences, as if she just wants him to carry on I.e. "What?", "No", "So-so Macbeth brings it on himself?" Rita's short sentences show her growing intrigue, but also reinforce her ignorance due to her social upbringing. All the way through prior to Frank speaking, he seems to be extremely hesitant when he's about to speak to Rita. Almost as if he doesn't want to patronise her with the technical language he uses, I.e. " Well-erm look;" Towards the end of the scene, Rita realises her own ignorance towards these certain aspects of language. Frank says, "It's quite easy really, Rita." And Rita replies, "It is for you. I just thought it was just a dead exciting' story. But the way you tell it, you make me see all sorts of things in it. ...read more.


She walks into Frank's office and we get the impression she's very fed up with herself. She feels as though she's the odd one out. "Well you wouldn't take sweet sparkling wine, would y'?" She starts to make excuses and tells him that she brought the wrong wine. We can sense very clearly Rita's frustration. Additionally we know that Rita felt very uncomfortable around Frank's other guests, the well educated guests wearing the correct attire. She clearly feels she can't fit in and we again see the contrast in social background. She says, "But I don't want to be myself. Me? What's me? Some stupid little woman who gives us all a laugh because she thinks she can learn, because she thinks that one day she'll be like the rest of them, talking seriously, confidently, with knowledge, livin' a civilized life." The above quote reveals many things about Rita, fairly early on in the play. Rita is feeling down after seeing the contrast in characters between her and Franks other guests. She perhaps feels as though she's fighting a lost cause in life. Frank tells her to be herself although this is the exact opposite person Rita wants to be. She's becoming educated in order to change who she is. However this reinforces how Frank just wants Rita as she is, and can't understand the need for her to change. This point of Frank being perhaps unaware of how Rita is changing, is brought up many times throughout the play. Which tells us that perhaps there's a hint of dramatic irony in that he just doesn't catch on. And towards the end Rita changes and leaves Frank behind. To dwell on where it all changed so suddenly without him realising. So we can finally appreciate the both sides of a very cleverly and wittily written play. Willy Russell tells almost two stories in unison, and the audience can digest both of them, with utter intrigue and admiration. By Christian Cooke Christian Cooke, 10F1, Page 4 of 6 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Educating Rita section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Educating Rita essays

  1. Explain the advantages of the film 'Educating Rita' over the play in putting across ...

    Viewers can see this more clearly in the film to the play, you see the things that would make her a happier person and open her doors. Rita brings a light to Frank's life and he realises that he might be educated but that's all he's got in life.

  2. relationship between frank and rita in educating rita

    In the same conversation Frank states 'I shall need to wash away the memory of some silly woman's attempts to get into the mind of Henry James.' This is another reason why Frank is bored of his life and why he likes Rita so much because she isn't like the other students in Frank's mind.

  1. How Does 'Educating Rita' By 'Willy Russell' Relate To The Social, Historical And Cultural ...

    that their life has no meaning and that the only time that they ever had a meaning was during the war when material property and money didn't matter and everyone was united. This is 'Franks' interpretation of the working class and what's worse is that 'Rita' sees the middle class as an amazing life, just because they are educated.

  2. How does Russell reveal to the audience the change in Rita's character? 'Educating Rita' ...

    This is why sometimes she wouldn't initiate conversation. Rita: "An' all the time I'm trying to think of things I can say, what I can talk about. An' I can't remember anythin'. It's all jumbled up in me head. I can't remember if it's Wilde who's witty an Shaw who was Shavian or who hell wrote Howard's End."


    "Virtually the entire working population of Amsterdam and a few other cities in the vicinity went on strike. The strike continued for two days, until the Germans broke it by force." (Louis de Jong, The Netherlands and Nazi Germany, Harvard Univ.

  2. Educating Rita' shows how a comedy can raise serious issues. Discuss

    Rita uses the end of her marriage to spur her onto success with her studies. The dissolution of her marriage is the last tie with her former life and Rita is now free to develop as she pleases. Frank recognises that Rita needing to abandon her uniqueness is not entirely positive.

  1. Educating Rita

    As well as providing humour for the audience this highlights the obvious difference in the cultures of Frank and Rita, possibly transforming it into a bigger issue, so that we understand Rita's pursuit of middle class culture and education more clearly.

  2. How Does Willy Russell Dramatically Present Rita's Change In Educating Rita?

    And this shows that at this point in the play she has lost her original spontaneity and uniqueness that Frank liked and that she can no longer distinguish or even realise a difference between acquired knowledge and wisdom and her own knowledge and wisdom.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work