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Examine how Willie Russell creates two distinct cultures thought the Characters Frank and Rita and how this affects the audiences Interpretations of the play.

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Introduction

Andrew Taylor Examine how Willie Russell creates two distinct cultures thought the Characters Frank and Rita and how this affects the audiences Interpretations of the play. In this play, Willie Russell has created two extremes of culture and put them together to focus on the differences between them and how these two cultures change as the play develops. Firstly there is Frank with a good job as a teacher and a large house and is well educated, who is contrasted with Rita who has a council house, works as a hairdresser and is not well educated. They first meet when Rita goes to Frank because she wants to be educated. As the play continues, Frank and Rita almost completely exchange roles as they are both unhappy with their culture and want to be more like the other. This play was written in the 1980's where the working, middle and upper classes were still used widely to determine what your culture was and how important you are to the social society at the time. The theme of culture appears a lot in the play. One of the ways that Willie Russell shows the two distinctly different cultures is how much power the higher classes have over the lower classes. In the play knowledge is shown as a symbol of power. ...read more.

Middle

This also shows the audience the two different cultures of the two characters at the start of the play without any further information. I think that this is the reason that Frank tries to hide his drinking problem because he is secretly ashamed of it and it is not acceptable in his society. As the play moves on and develops further, Rita begins to slowly change her culture as she becomes more and more educated, which gave her more choice and freedom in which to change her culture. This becomes more evident once Rita comes back from summer school. Now Rita has a mind of her own that can think for its self and she can make her own decisions in her life about how she wants to live. This is more obvious when she says to Frank "I've got a room full of books, I know what clothes to wear, what wine to buy, what plays to see, what papers and books to read." Those are now her choices. Where before she was given the choices by Denny that didn't mean anything in her life "picking one of eight kinds of lager, or deciding between Everton and Liverpool." At this point in the play, I think the audience were surprised to see how the two characters that seemed to be drawing closer together in a love story type manner, did not stop in the middle and have now kept on going in the opposite direction. ...read more.

Conclusion

From this play the different cultures play a big part in society and peoples social lives. The people in the lower classes will find it hard to break the working class circle. This play was written about cultural expectations between the upper classes against the lower classes. It was written in 1985, so nowadays the cultural expectations are no longer as important as they were and are much more relaxed. When it was written the way you, look, dress, speak and live determine what people think of you and how bigger role you play in the running of the society. Rita sees herself as a non-educated person. I think that Willie Russell was trying to get across the image that once you are born into a working class culture; it is very hard to get out of it because all the people are looking down at you and judging you because of your culture. It also shows that just because people are in an upper class with a good house, job and car, doesn't necessarily mean that you are happy, as Frank had all of those things yet he still wanted to change his way of life. Willie Russell has shown the audience what he thinks is important - culture and what people think of you. Although culture isn't seen as important now, it was seen as important in the 1980's. ...read more.

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