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How does Willy Russell present the relationship between Frank and Rita?

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How does Willy Russell present the relationship between Frank and Rita? At the start of the play, Frank and Rita can be seen as opposites; Frank is a middle aged male academic, while Rita is a young, female hairdresser. Any relationship between the two seems unlikely, but they warm to each quickly and the audience realises that Frank and Rita are not quite as different to one another as first appearances show. They are both involved in unsatisfactory relationships and want more from life than it seems to offer. The main difference between the two is that, whereas Rita has recognised her unhappiness and is determined to change it through becoming educated, frank is a pessimist and tends to down his sorrow through drinking. Frank and Rita become good friends in the play because Rita needs Frank to teach her, and he needs the freshness and vitality that she brings to his life. Willey Russell presents Frank and Rita's relationship, and how it changes, in a variety of ways. At the start of the play when Frank and Rita meet, Rita is very outgoing and forward. The first thing Rita says to Frank is 'it's that stupid bleedin' handle on the door. You wanna get it fixed!' you wouldn't expect a new student to speak to her tutor like this the first time she ever met him. ...read more.


He cares about her emotions, we know this from the various times that he changes from his tutor role to talk to Rita about problems with her and Denny. This is like he is speaking on a fatherly level with Rita. Frank also doesn't want to hurt Rita's feelings we know this form this extract; FRANK: Now the piece you wrote for me on-what was it called...? RITA: Rubyfruit Jungle FRANK: Yes, it was-erm... RITA: Crap FRANK: No. Erm-the thing is, it was an appreciation, a descriptive piece. What you have to learn is criticism. In this extract frank doesn't want to tell her that her work is rubbish because he cares about her feelings and doesn't want to scare her off the course. He also speaks down to her and calls her 'dear' this is how a parent would talk to a child. During Act 1 Frank admits that he doesn't want Rita to change and become a common language student because he likes her as she is. Rita responds to this by telling Frank to teach her properly. This is triggered by Rita getting poor results in one of her essays and Frank says 'in those terms its worthless' when talking about her work in context to the exam. Rita then tells frank that she wants him to teach her about the content that she needs to write in an exam to get good grades. ...read more.


In scenes four and five Frank asks Rita to write an essay on the on his own poetry. When Rita comes back with her essay she tells Frank it is really good and she says how her flatmate agrees with him. However, Frank dismisses her opinion and tells her that it is rubbish. This shows that he doesn't value Rita's opinion very much. Rita starts arguing with Frank saying how she doesn't need frank. Frank then reply's with 'found a culture have you, Rita? Found a better song to sing have you? No - you've found a different song, that's all - and on your lips it's shrill and hollow and tuneless. Oh, Rita, Rita...' in this extract he is saying how she shouldn't try and be like him he should be herself. However they both make back up as Frank enters Rita into the exam anyway and Rita passes. Yet they realise that they can't keep their relationship together and they must both brake off their own separate ways. In this play I feel both Frank and Rita have learned a lot about life. In fact despite Frank being the teacher and Rita being the student, Frank learnt just as much about life as Rita if not more. Rita learnt that being educated gives you more opportunities for life as she now has a choice what she does with her life. Frank learns that he is not as bad at teaching than he thought he was, he also leant that you cannot make anyone be your friend. Ben Little ...read more.

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