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Willy Russell

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Willy Russell writes that, "Education gives you a choice" Explore the ways he uses the character of Rita to portray this view of education. In my opinion education means setting yourself up for life, giving you choices and letting you be independent. Education is about learning skills and having knowledge, and proving this by having qualifications. I have this opinion because my parents have a similar view, and also my teachers, who seem to point it out a lot. My opinion of education links into Willy Russell's view of "Education gives you a choice" Willy Russell shows this view with Rita by comparing her from the beginning of the play to the end. Rita's education is not restricted to scholastic learning alone; her transformation from the uneducated Rita to the educated Susan is all encompassing. Rita sees and understands the importance of being well educated, but for Rita, education helps her to overcome her background and break away from the traditional role expected of a woman in the 1970s. Rita has set herself on a course of self-discovery, she has a determination to control her own life and make her own choices. Rita believes it is education that will give her these choices. ...read more.


She aims to reach her goal through an Open University course, yet naively thinks knowing what books to read and clothes to wear will allow her to immediately become accepted as part of her chosen social strata. Change is a major part of the play, affecting Rita in both positive and negative ways. It shows how the influence of education helps to bring about these changes, and how eventually Rita is able to overcome and negative problems and settle on a happy balance. Rita is also molded by her tutor, Frank, and learns a great deal from him, whilst also teaching him in many ways. At the beginning of the play you can see how different Rita's and Frank's social class is because they don't really understand what each other are saying, for example when Rita first arrives Frank says "You are?" to which Rita replies "What am I?" this shows the lack of education Rita has by not understanding what Frank means. Rita didn't get a full education at school as she says, "See, if I'd started takin' school seriously, I would have had to become different from me mates, an' that's not allowed." This shows Rita felt she could never take education seriously because it was for the "wimps" and she didn't want to be different to her friends, and her family didn't regard education as being important. ...read more.


I work in a bistro now" this shows she has moved on with her life and put everything behind her. She even left Denny to move in with a flat mate Trish "It's like Trish, y' know me flat mate" this shows she is not letting anyone stand in her way of achieving her goals in life. There are obvious financial and logistical reasons for making "Educating Rita" a two-handed play. The play is essentially about the impact of education on the lives of two people and it therefore does not need to distract the audience with Rita and Frank's other relationships and concerns. The depth and intensity of Rita and Frank's relationship is also highlighted by having them as the only characters on stage. It could be argued that the single room set does not give the audience enough of a sense of the social context of the two characters, but this is more than made up for by the incidents that they narrate about their lives outside Frank's study, for example when Denny burns all Rita's books. The structure of the play is in 2 acts, the change between act 1 and act 2 is used as a turning point in Rita, because it shows the big change after summer school. It is easy to compare Rita's character in act 1 and act 2 and note down the differences. ...read more.

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