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WHAT EFFECT DOES WILLY RUSSELL CREATE THROUGH EXPLORING THE DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS OF FRANK AND RITA?

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Introduction

What effect does Willy Russell create through the exploring the different backgrounds of Rita and Frank? The play was set in the 1970's. In the 1970's there was a strong separation between different cultures. People of higher class were seen to be more educated, more respectable and they held more power compared to those people of a lower class. People who came from a higher class were 'supposedly' happier and had easier lives. This play questions that assumption and shows, through different cultures that, that may not always be the case. The play 'Educating Rita' is about a young woman called Rita who wishes to extend her education and knowledge and become part of the middle class. She attends an Open University course with an older man named Frank. Throughout the play Willy Russell, the author demonstrates a variety of clashes within different cultures. Rita is a young woman who's occupation is a hairdresser; she is of the working class. Rita's common appearance and informal language, pronounced Liverpool accent presents Rita in a certain light throughout the play. Rita is representing the working class. Frank is the other main character in the play. Frank is a middle class man. He follows a respectable fashion and speaks Standard English with no defined accent. ...read more.

Middle

This first meeting highlights the different cultures once again by both characters introducing themselves in their own way. After the first scene we can see that there is a culture clash between Frank and Rita. The first meeting is very crucial to the play as this is where the audience gets a true feel for the difference in cultures between the two main characters. These differences proceed throughout the first scene. Willy Russell shows this through the conversations between the characters, for example when Rita starts to discuss a painting on the wall and refers to it as 'erotic' and the 'pornography of its day'. Rita also asks Frank several personal questions about his marital status. This highlights the difference in cultures once more because Frank does not agree that the questions asked are suitable for a first meeting between two people, but Rita does not understand Franks preference. After the first scene we can see that there is an ironic situation developing; Rita aspires to be like Frank. She wants to be educated and know 'everything'. She believes that once she is educated it will allow her to make her own choices and make decisions about her life and what she is going to do with. The fact that Frank does not appreciate what he has frustrates Rita because she wants it so badly. ...read more.

Conclusion

During this short time she starts to think that it is not worth it, she starts to think that maybe she should just give up trying to become something better. Its only when her mum tells her that there is a 'better song to sing' to the ones they sing now, when she decides to stick it out and make her life better and more pleasant. This proves my previous point that Rita believes that the higher the on the social scale you are the better they are. This is made known through the last few scenes. Rita changes immensely throughout the play. She starts off blunt and 'stupid', she then changes the way she is and how she acts to fit in, through the incident with Trish she reverted back to the way she used to be - the same bubbly personality only difference being is that she had passed her exams and was now officially educated and finally felt like she could make wise choices; 'I mite go to France, me mothers, I might even have a baby, Ill make a decision, Ill chose.' Rita goes through many changes throughout the play and with the help and encouragement of Frank she finally aspires to be what she wants to be. Willy Russell uses to characters, and only to characters to show an audience how people were effected by culture and class in the 1970's and the journeys made to become a person of a higher class. Fiona Newton 11EG ...read more.

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