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How Does Willy Russell Dramatically Present Rita's Change In Educating Rita?

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Introduction

Educating Rita Coursework How Does Willy Russell Dramatically Present Rita's Change In Educating Rita? Educating Rita was written by Willy Russell and first appeared on stage in 1980. It tells the story of a twenty six year old hairdresser from Liverpool, "Rita" White, who wants to break away from her stereotype, and to "discover" herself. She thinks that by going on an English literature course at the Open University, she will be able to achieve this. However, during her course at the university she unknowingly teaches her tutor as much about life as he teaches her about literature. In this essay I will attempt to show the way in which Willy Russell uses several different dramatic devices to present the change in "Rita" dramatically. Firstly, the playwright, Willy Russell, has partly based the character of Rita upon himself by giving her the kind of background that he had, the fact that it is semi-autobiographical makes it dramatic because it makes the storyline more realistic and relevant. We know that it is semi-autobiographical by examining his "personal essay" at the beginning of the play. Here he tells us that at his school "there were gangs with bike chains and broken bottles and truck spanners". This description of school life is very similar to Rita's, who describes her school life as "broken glass everywhere, knives an' fights." p17 act 1 scene 2. ...read more.

Middle

Also there is a distinct and deliberate change in "Rita" in the first and second act, or before and after her visit to summer school. These changes in her character also affect her relationship with Frank, and as "Rita" changes herself, so she also alters her friendship with Frank. To start with, Rita's break from her husband Denny is the first real change we see in her. This dramatically shows change in her character because it is the first step in her education. She is breaking away from the role as a woman that she has in her working class environment. It is also dramatic because it is inevitable; we know from the start that in order to gain an education she will have to split from Denny because he represents everything that she wants to leave behind, this can be seen when "Rita" is talking to Frank about Denny, "He hates me comin' here. It's like drug addicts, isn't it? They hate it when one of them tries to break away. It makes me stronger comin' here. That's what Denny's frightened of." P 31 act 1 scene 4. This suggests again that she is trying to break away from the life that she has always known. Her attempts to break away from her usual life can also be seen by the fact that she refuses to buy herself a new dress showing how she really wants to leave her old life behind and all that she associates with it, for example " I haven't had a new dress in twelve months. ...read more.

Conclusion

She has also gained a lot more confidence over the time that she spends at summer school. We can see this by the stage directions that Willy Russell has given, this is because throughout the first act Frank sits on the swivel chair and the in Act two scene four p 63 "she goes to the swivel chair and sits" showing how not only has she gained confidence but there has also been reversal of roles. This can be seen by the fact that throughout the play the swivel chair has been used to symbolise the fact that Frank was the teacher and that he had the intellectual upper hand, however when Rita chooses to sit there it shows how the roles have reversed. It can also be seen when they are talking about "Ruby Fruit Jungle" and Frank refers to it as excellent to which "Rita" replies "Oh go way, Frank. Of its type it's quite interesting. But its hardly excellence." This also signifies a reversal of roles because she is now humouring his enjoyment of the book as he did of hers at the beginning of the play. This is a dramatic change because the roles of teacher and student have been reversed both literately and symbolically and Frank begins to resent her. Therefore, to conclude, I think that the playwright has dramatically presented change in Rita in several different ways, all of them effective. He has also been very consistent in presenting the change, in that he even shows change through symbolism in the stage directions. Daisy Cox 1 ...read more.

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