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Educating Rita - What influence does Rita have over Frank?

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+Ruth Chelva 11S What influence does Rita have over Frank? Rita's influence over Frank causes him to adopt a contrasting character to his former self. This is partly due to the fact that their relationship advances to various levels during the course of the play. The play starts off with Frank playing the role of a teacher and Rita a student. However as the play proceeds we realise that it does not conclude in the same fashion. At the very beginning of the play when Rita and Frank meet for the first time their relationship is very formal. During act one scene one Rita is the obvious student; - she's receptive, alert and equipped with an eager mind very similar to that of a child, this gives us the impression that she is a good student. However towards the end Rita has grown up to an extent that she refers to herself as "...educated..." Although Frank has low self-esteem he proves to be a good teacher by educating her to an extent where Rita herself is able to discover the meaning of 'Howard's End' by herself: "Criticism is never subjective...criticism must be supported by reference to established literary critique" ...read more.


To this Frank replies: "It is indeed because I have 'so much goin' for me' that I do it." This illustrates Frank's frustration with his own life; even Rita sees that this frustration and the drinking is affecting other parts in his life including his poetry. Rita finds that his poetry is brilliant and she is very concerned that Frank is sober enough to her opinions. Rita realises that Frank's drinking habits are hindering him from fulfilling his capabilities as a poet and a teacher. "If you could stop pouring that junk down your throat in hope that it'll make you feel like a poet you might be able to talk about things that matter" Near the end both characters acknowledge that Rita is Frank's only influence although at the beginning Frank laughs at the idea of Rita reforming him. Frank does not want to watch Rita leave him in "appalling sobriety" as he admits to her being his only source of influence. Frank's drinking problems finally get him a sentence to Australia for two years this seems to be an equivalent of being 'fired'. ...read more.


At the beginning Frank has a negative approach to pulp fiction. "Devouring pulp fiction is not being well read." Rita's initial view regarding this book was that it was "fantastic" however towards the end she describes it differently. "Of its type it's quite interesting. But it's hardly excellence." Frank's final opinion regarding this book is that it's "excellent." This can be interpreted as the interchanging of characteristics of the two roles. This interchanging of characteristics results in two people who are more aware of each other's approach to literature. The author, Willy Russell uses this to his advantage to develop both characters further. The intentional and obvious reform, for example Rita's influence to improve Frank's drinking habits, does change in accordance with their relationship. For example when Frank begins to drink it is usually when his and Rita's relationship isn't going very smoothly, although when they get along he's mostly sober. The unacknowledged influence is not subject to change in accordance with their relationship, instead it becomes a permanent part of Frank's character. This can be regarded as the most effective and the greatest influence that Rita had over Frank; as Frank begins to be more aware of Rita's ideas his character is gradually influenced, resulting in a contrasting trait of his former self. ...read more.

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