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Educating Rita Coursework

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English Coursework Comment on Rita's changing use of language throughout the play 'Educating Rita' and what this tells the audience about this character. 'Educating Rita' is a play set and written in the 1980's by Willy Russel. The only two characters in the play are Frank- a university lecturer- and Rita- an Open University student. Act 1 scene 1 opens in Frank's study at a northern university- the only setting throughout the play. As the play has only one setting and two characters, it shows its one aim- to allow the audience to explore and develop more of an understanding in the characters and their changes. Act 1 scene 1 opens with Frank talking to his partner/ girlfriend on the phone. He uses standard English; "I distinctly remember saying that I would be late" This language implies to the audience that Frank is well educated, middle class man "lamb and ratatouille" also shows his class. In Frank's office there is a window looking into the lawn. This is important in the play as it symbolizes freedom. In the first act, Rita can only look out and imagine what it's like beyond it- with all the proper students. When Rita enters after having symbolic difficulty with opening the door; "the door swings open revealing Rita" there is a contrast shown to the audience in their use of language; "I'm comin' in aren't I? It's that stupid bleedin' handle on the door. You wanna get it fixed." Here Rita uses colloquialism, swearing and a regional dialect; her language is significant as it shows the difference in class and background with Frank and Rita. Rita clearly has very few manners as she goes to the chair "dumping her bag.": she has had little experience in showing a good first impression. They both have a misunderstanding when he asks for her name; "You are? What am I? ...read more.


Although Rita has made a change in her physical appearance, there is still an element of the old Rita in her speech. She continues to use slang and colloquialism; "It was dead good"; "Y'know at first I was dead scared." When Rita talks about her experiences at summer school, she mentions talking to a tutor and how she stopped herself from telling joke and talked sensibly; "It was right on the tip of me tongue to say, 'Only when it's served with Parmesan cheese', but, Frank, I didn't. I held it back." This proves to Frank and the audience that Rita now has the ability to control herself and behave sensibly. Rita has also grown so confident that she was able to stand up in front of the students and ask a question; "I was askin' questions all week, y' couldn't keep me down." This is an element of change, implying that Rita is now confident around students and thinks of herself as being their equal. "I feel young, you know like them down there." This shows her identification with other students and the comparisons she made between her and the other students in the first act are now gone. In the first act, Rita was only able to look out of the window (a symbol of freedom) and at the students beyond it. Rita wanted to be free and wanted to achieve what the other students could do. In this scene Rita wants to go on the lawn- beyond the window; "Come on, let's go an' have the tutorial down there." Now that Rita has changed there seems to be a reversal in the roles that Frank and Rita take on as Frank cannot seem to go beyond the window and is reluctant to join Rita; "On the grass? Nobody sits out there at this time of year." Frank doesn't seem to want freedom, but now Rita has choices, she wants to have freedom. ...read more.


But that wasn't you doin'. I was so hungry, I wanted it all so much that I didn't want to be questioned." Rita also shows the superficiality of the life she chose to have; "She'd tried to top herself. Magic isn't it?" an this phrase she also uses sarcasm, something that Frank used after the role reversal, but now she is using it, the audience know that the roles are back to normal. The main theme in the play is choices. In the first act, Rita had no choices in her stereotypical life. When she chose education, it meant she could choose whatever she wanted. "But I chose not to. I had a choice...I'll make a decision. I'll choose I dunno...I chose, me." Frank is still attracted to Rita as he buys her a dress and, like in act 1, Rita diffuses the situation and is able to be light- hearted about it; "An educated woman, Frank? An' this is what you call a scholary neckline?" Although the relationship has returned to normal, with Rita using her old dialect but with a wide range of vocabulary, the end of the scene shows Rita being in control and feisty when she cut Frank's hair. In the play, Rita learned that she could have choices but choosing one thing e.g. Education does not mean complete denial of another eg. Family. She shows she has developed and been educated but is able to reconcile her education with her culture that she detested in the first act and thought there were better songs to sing. Rita took the changes too far, by speaking in a posh accent and getting rid of her regional dialect. When Frank explained this to her and Rita realized she had gone too far, she returned to using her old dialect, making the relationship return to normal. Although Rita went back to her ways in act 1, she proves that she has been educated and this is evident in the vocabulary she uses. ...read more.

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