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What have Frank and Rita gained and lost at the end of the play?

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What have Frank and Rita gained and lost at the end of the play? Both Frank and Rita change drastically throughout the course of the play. Both become increasingly confident and gain opportunities towards the end of the play. The audience is introduced to Frank as a drunk, eccentric and jaded English professor. In the first dialogue Frank is muttering to himself, "Where the hell? Eliot? No. E, e, e, e...Dickens," whilst in search of his concealed bottle of whisky. As the opening scene continues the audience discovers Frank's negativity towards himself, he is disillusioned about his job and his abilities. His drinking is clearly a significant problem and the reasons for this escapism are deeply ingrained; he despises himself and even describes himself as an, "appalling teacher." From this the audience is shown an internally depressed man who is dissatisfied with his role in life. The audience then receives quite a confusing picture of Rita; on the one hand she is self conscious and lacks self esteem, "I was dead surprised when they took me. I don't suppose the would have done if it'd been a proper university," they, being the figures within a university in positions of authority, but on the other she is desperately trying to better herself and release her self from her view of working class culture where people are either, "pissed or on the Valium." ...read more.


Through Rita's education, she loses her, "individuality," and, "breeziness," as in order to pass her exam well she must alter her views and style of writing to fit the demands of the educational system. When Frank does, "suppress, perhaps even abandon," her, "uniqueness," Rita's views become the same as all the previous students. Her individuality is corrupted by the system of education, by her views having to become alike those of the other students because as Frank says, "a clever answer is not necessarily the correct answer." Her change in this sense is finally proven when Frank lends her his poems to read. Rita returns full of praise for them and his skill whereas the old Rita would have called the poems pretentious rubbish. Most importantly, education has given her choice, when Frank asks her what she is going to do now that the exams are over she replies, "I dunno, I might go to France. I might go to me mother's. I might even have a baby. I dunno. I'll make a decision. I'll choose. I dunno." Not only has Rita gained opportunities but she has also gained a real understanding of life, her background and her education. She is still working - class but she has the ability to take what she wants from her education. ...read more.


The hair cut that she gives Frank in the ultimate scene of the play illustrates her wish to repay Frank in some way for giving her choices to choose from for the first time and also that she is genuinely fond of Frank. The most significant change in Rita's character affects both herself and Frank. Rita has changed from being her true and unique self to develop into a, "proper student." This is shown when Frank, having been sacked for being drunk during his lectures, enters his room, drunk, to find Rita sitting in the swivel chair waiting for him. The swivel chair has been a symbol of power and authority throughout the play. Rita then, for the first time, agrees with the students instead of with Frank and says, "Even if y' don't think about yourself, what about the students?" This shows wish for independence from everyone including Frank and emphasizes her change from, "funny and breezy," Rita to a new and serious Susan. Both Rita and Frank change from each educating the other and their mutual relationship. Both ending up with new choices and fresh beginnings to consider and choose from. Rita emerges at the end of the play as confident, articulate character, who is perfectly at ease with herself. Whilst Frank develops into a more contented and enthusiastic man, free from all responsibilities. Dimple Shah ...read more.

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