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How does Russell show the differences between Frank and Rita in Educating Rita?

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Introduction

Tuesday, July 01, 2003 How does Russell show the differences between Frank and Rita in Educating Rita? This essay is about how Willy Russell shows the differences between Frank and Rita in Educating Rita. I am going to talk about what they say, do and the stage directions. The main scenes I will be focusing on are Act 1 Scene 1, Act 1 Scene 7 and Act 2 Scene 7. Willy Russell's own school life is reflected in the play. He was a "D-stream piece of factory fodder" that managed to succeed as a writer. I think he may have modelled Rita on himself and used his writing to show the struggle he faced when growing up to be taken seriously. Going from one dead end job to another but finally defying the odds and making something of himself. The very first scene, Act 1 scene 1, sees Frank and Rita getting introduced to each other for the very first time. Before Rita arrives you see Frank speaking on the phone to what appears to be his other half. ...read more.

Middle

Frank says meaningless things such as "yes - I'm sure..." "Ah" and "My God" and often gets confused, "what?" appears quite frequently. Act one Scene 7 sees frank and Rita discussing why it is Rita did not attend a dinner party that franks girlfriend was throwing. Willy Russell did very well in the scene of showing the class division between franks social group and Rita's. When frank first invites Rita in Act 1 Scene 6 we see the early signs of her nervousness. She asks him "What shall I wear?" and wants to know why he wants her there, as if he has a hidden agenda for inviting her. I think she is worried that she wont have anything to say, etc and she hasn't quite made the leap between her old lifestyle that she hates and the new one that she always dreamed of. She desperately wants to change, but something inside her holds her back. She feels insecure about herself "I'm a freak", so instead of making the change she reverts back the old ways, down the pub on a Saturday night with her folks and Denny listening to the same song as always on the jukebox, everybody singing. ...read more.

Conclusion

Rita, or Susan as she is now known has matured in one more way also, "Rita? Nobody calls me Rita but you. I dropped that pretentious crap as soon as I saw it for what it was." - Act 2 Scene 5. Russell does an excellent job, throughout the play, of making the audience aware of the differences between Frank and Rita. He uses dialogue, "Y' can tell he's a Flora man" "Flora? Flowers?" their past experiences and how they view life, Rita is very much a free spirit whereas frank has always obeyed the rules, and also stage directions to clarify their differences. Rita is always doing something (getting up and wandering around) or (moving over to the desk; quickly) yet Frank is more at rest. I think the characters are somewhat believable, if not a little OTT, although this may have been done for affect. The play isn't as relevant today as it was when it was written, I feel as education has changed a great deal in the time since it was written and there is such a blatant class division nowadays. Nevertheless it is a good story and an entertaining movie. ...read more.

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