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"Educating Rita" is a semi-autobiographical play about a working class woman who aims to change her life through education. How do you think Willy Russell wishes his audience to be affected by the play?

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Introduction

GCSE English Literature Patrick Brosnan "Educating Rita" is a semi-autobiographical play about a working class woman who aims to change her life through education. How do you think Willy Russell wishes his audience to be affected by the play? The play follows the attempts of Rita, a hairdresser to escape from her mundane existence and enter an academic, middle class one. Willy Russell's early life had much in common with Rita's. A working class family, from Liverpool, a failed secondary school career, a lady's hairdresser and then an interest in English literature. Russell wanted to contrast the working class values of Rita with the middle class academic ones. He used a number of ideas to make his audience aware of 'class values'. The first thing that strikes the audience about Rita is her coarse and vulgar language. '...look at those tits!' This is a typical example of Rita's language in the first scene. ...read more.

Middle

Willy Russell again uses humour, this time more wit to show Rita's pitiful, working class background. From this the audience senses that there is a serious issue underlying all this cheerful banter. Willy Russell makes comparisons throughout the play between the working class and the middle class. In scene three Frank tells Rita the difference between 'pulp fiction' and 'literature'. The fact that Rita has read a great deal of 'pulp fiction' is telling the audience that although she has read, her lack of educational opportunities and resources have restricted her from reading the books Frank classes as 'literature'. I think this could make the audience aware of the inequalities in the class system. Rita's view of working class culture is very negative '...well we've got no culture... I just see everyone pissed, or on the Valium, tryin' to get from one day to the next.' Rita is telling Frank that the working class know deep down that they are not happy with their life. ...read more.

Conclusion

Rita's mother obviously thinks the same about their culture as Rita does. She also thinks they could do better. The audience is affected in many ways by Willy Russell's play. I think that Willy Russell is trying to make the audience understand that the class system is unfair. He wants the audience to understand what the working class people have to go through and as he came from a working class background, he obviously has first hand experience of this. The way Willy Russell uses humour, pity, sadness and empathy is very thought provoking for the audience. He uses humour more than anything else. This makes some of the ideas easier to take in for some of the audience. Also the Characters are very easy to relate to. I think the audience will be effected greatly after seeing the play. It is very simple to have a prejudiced view o the different classes and for a great number of the audience they will lose this view. Willy Russell wanted his audience to understand and learn about class values and I believe he got his point across very well. ...read more.

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