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Examine how effectively Russell portrays the change in Rita.

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Introduction

Emma Powditch Examine how effectively Russell portrays the change in Rita "Educating Rita" is an amusing play, describing a young woman's journey of self-discovery propelled by discontent. The author's background encourages realism in his writing so much so that educating Rita could almost be an abstract autobiography of Willy Russell showing personal experience of prejudice and attitudes of class, this and Russell's effective portrayal of the change in Rita throughout may contribute to the plays popularity. The character Rita looks to education as a means of escape, a way of distancing herself from the working class background that smothers her, she needs to feel a sense of significance from her life. Her mother comments in a later scene: "There must be better songs to sing than this" This is a turning point for Rita as metaphorically it inspires Rita to continue. The initial Rita is brash and seems to exaggerate her appearance - in all she displays artificialness. This is connected with the superficial nature of changing her name to Rita to make her more in keeping with life as a student. She uses very evident dialect and colloquial terms associated with the lower classes. " 'Y' can tell he's a flora man." ...read more.

Middle

After the interlude we see a new enthused Rita, with the symbolic reference to new second hand clothes, although Frank has changed his behaviour and is shown typing poetry, is Rita's influence affecting him? Rita is able to burst into the room when she previously couldn't, subconsciously telling the audience that Rita is more able to enter Frank's world. The incident at summer school where a teacher asks her if she's fond of Ferlingetti is reacted to in a totally different way, it is the author showing the audience how Rita can suppress her previous self and not reply with "Only when it's served with parmesan cheese" Rita's aspirations of becoming a proper student come to light in act two. Instilled with a newfound confidence she begins to feel she can be accepted, unlike the episode where she neglected the invitation to Frank's party here she speaks freely. "I feel young, y' know, like them down there" Finally she does approach the other students, like Tiger, despite Frank's disgust, probably due to jealousy as he realises the fact that he is not her one source of knowledge. Trish has been an influence as we can see by the affected voice Rita uses in scene __. ...read more.

Conclusion

More importantly the audience are able to concentrate on Rita's changes without the change of scenery, as when you isolate someone from their natural surroundings there are no responses to situations. Despite her determination she sees her change as incomplete, regression Russell uses the last few scenes of the play symbolize this. This can be seen by the fact that she's started smoking again and frank goes back to the drink. Frank begins to resent her, maybe through jealously but she emulates the monotony he still feels with his life. "Have you come all this way for so very, very little? Found a better sound have you? No - you've found a different song, that's all" The swapping of cultures is an evident idea but as Rita says in the last scene. She appreciates what Frank has done for her. It's not that she wanted to change her culture it was about making opportunities for herself. She has the choice - as she chooses to smoke. "I had a choice - I did the exam." If Frank cannot see it, she found herself as a natural, independent and inspirational woman. The story comes to life through Russell's writing and subtle wit, which is entertaining yet, meaningful. Through the clever use of props and metaphor it inspires the audience with a somewhat mediocre plot and setting. 1 ...read more.

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