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What does Rita want from her education? What does she gain and lose from it? In what sense is Frank educated?

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Introduction

What does Rita want from her education? What does she gain and lose from it? In what sense is Frank educated? At the very beginning of the story, the two main characters of the play, Frank and Rita, are certainly not kindred spirits. Frank is a Literature tutor who seems to be totally bored with his job. He is also an alcoholic and has lost all enthusiasm for his life. This is very unlike Rita, a hairdresser who is rejuvenated by the challenge of gaining an education and knowing 'everything'. There is also a contrast in the way Frank and Rita perceive each other. Rita sees Frank's knowledge as her big chance to discover herself as a person and to upgrade from her working class status. Frank, on the contrary, lacks confidence in himself and what he does for a living, and sees Rita as just another keen student who is coming to the wrong tutor for help. ...read more.

Middle

However, Rita does have important things to lose by achieving these choices - her family. Although there is an argument that Rita can provide a better living for them, there is also a strong possibility that her personality could become unrecognisable. Her husband Denny wants to start up a family with her, and is not at all keen on Rita spending time with Frank and shifting her attention to books and plays. So, Rita does have a lot to lose by alienating herself from her family if her class position seriously changes. This is where Frank does start to have things in common with Rita, but maybe from an opposite angle. Frank has a wife, Julia, who seems to be more and more abandoned and is suffering from Frank's lack of attentiveness and enthusiasm. Julia actually represents the kind of character Rita wants to be - educated, very tolerant and well meaning. ...read more.

Conclusion

Rita obviously doesn't know 'everything' there is to know about literature by the end of the play. Her viewpoint on what education can achieve has changed, because before she thought that she had to change her personality to learn more. By the end of the play she realizes that there are elements of her that need change, and gives Frank a haircut to give back a piece of her old self. The positives include the fact that Rita now has more 'choice' in life - more doors are open to her than ever before. She now has the choice between being a hairdresser or not, going to the pub or going on holiday. This is why, overall, Rita will definitely benefit from her newly found intellect, because she can always now provide for herself and her family. Frank has benefited to because he has now learned to appreciate his education and not find it boring, just like we all in reality should. ...read more.

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