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With reference to the social context of the play, discuss the ways in which Willy Russell shows the changes in Rita's character throughout Educating Rita In the play Educating Rita by Willy Russell there are two main characters, Rita and Frank. Rita is a twenty six year old uneducated hairdresser. She wants a better life for herself; she wants to have an education. She didn't get a full education at school as she says, 'See, if I'd started takin' school seriously, I would have had to become different from me mates, an' that's not allowed." This shows Rita felt she could never take education seriously because it was for the 'wimps' and she didn't want to be different to her friends, and her family didn't regard education as being important. She goes to the Open University to further her education in English literature. In the Open University there is a professor called Frank, he will be tutoring Rita. Frank has a drinking problem and he also thinks he is a bad teacher. He says, "Everything I know - and you must listen to this - is that I know absolutely nothing." He thinks literature and high culture have given him nothing in life to value, that's why he thinks so poorly of his job. In the play Willy Russell tries to show the ways in which Frank and Rita communicate. ...read more.


Rita says, "........ if you want to change, y' have to do it from the inside, don't y? know like I'm doin." This shows Rita wants to change her way of life. Rita goes to summer school; this boosts her confidence in herself. Once she comes back from the course we can see that she has changed, she has a lot more knowledge. She says, "Look Frank, I don't have to go along one hundred per cent with your views on Blake y' know. I can have a mind of my own." This shows she has learnt a lot on her course and she's becoming more independent, as she can think more for herself now. Rita changes her way of life completely, Willy Russell shows this by Rita changing her appearance, clothes, choice of books that she reads, job and she leaves her husband Denny. She leaves Denny because he gave her an ultimatum, to give up the Open University course or to leave their house. Rita chooses to leave. Although before Denny's ultimatum we could see that Rita and her husband were already drifting apart, as she says, "He even brings me presents sometimes, hopin' that the presents'll make her come back." This shows Rita has changed and Denny wants the old Rita back as he doesn't like this newly formed Rita. So things between Denny and Rita were already bad, the ultimatum was the last straw. ...read more.


This shows that Rita will struggle with to get an education. She hasn't much knowledge as an upper class person like Frank, who did get a very good education, as his family background wanted for him. I personally find the play realistic because it shows someone like Rita, who has no education as a woman trying so hard to succeed in getting an education. She thinks getting an education will give her more in life. She goes to have tutorials with a professor in an open university and once she is there she is eager to learn, as she says, "........if you want to change, y' have to do it from the inside, don't y? know like I'm doin'." This shows Rita wants to change. She also goes to summer school in order to learn more; by going to summer school it boosts her self-confidence. Then she moves in with someone called Trish, who she admires and now because she has changed, has a lot in common with her. The things Rita has done, which are to have taken great lengths in getting an education, show how serious she is about her desire to want to change herself. She even separates from her husband for the reason that she chose education instead of him, in an ultimatum her gave her. She has tried so hard to succeed and now that she has, I think that is being realistic. No one handed her an education on a plate, she worked hard for it, I this that is realistic. ...read more.

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