Personal development as a Social, Emotional and Intellectual issue

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Educating Rita presents the desire for

Personal development as a Social, Emotional and

Intellectual issue



Educating Rita is a play based on one working class, hairdressing woman - Rita - and her journey towards becoming educated with the Open University. Frank, her tutor, plays a big role in providing her with the knowledge she craves. The main theme of Educating Rita is personal relationships and the play focuses on the way that Frank and Rita influence each other.

Throughout the play we see clearly the contrast between Frank and Rita and their way of life. Rita gradually reveals more and more details to Frank about her home life and we begin to understand her motives for coming to Frank. She is married to Denny, also of working class background and although we learn more of him in the film, Rita paints a clear picture of his attitudes and opinions during her discussions with Frank.

From the play we can learn of many reasons why Rita desires this education so much. Firstly, she doesn't want to fit into the normal 'category' for a woman of twenty-six and she doesn't want to have a baby or at least not until she has discovered herself. The issue of having a baby appears frequently throughout the book, like in the very first scene where Rita says, "I'm sure me husband thinks I'm sterile. See, I don't want a baby yet. I wanna discover myself first." Socially, there is an awful lot of contrast between Frank and Rita, from the authors they like to their evening pastimes. There is a scene in the film, which is talked about in the play, where Frank invites Rita (and Denny) to a dinner party hosted by his partner - Julia. Denny refuses to go; however Rita is keen to attend. We see her in the film trying on different outfits and dresses and trying to talk about politics and current affairs (of which she knows little about but feels she will be expected to talk about) to the mirror. Then, she arrives at the house and looks inside through the window, and has a phase where she realises that she is 'kidding herself' and cannot face going in. Frank, is highly offended that Rita did not come, and that all she left was a piece of paper saying 'Sorry couldn't come'. One of my favourite parts of the play, which shows a definite social clash is where Rita makes excuses for not coming and they begin to talk about wines. Rita knows Frank would have taken wine to dinner and he says, "Does it matter what I take to dinner parties? It wouldn't have mattered if you'd walked in with a bottle of Spanish plonk!" Then Rita replies, "It was Spanish."

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Although humorous for the reader, there is a lot of embarrassment on both sides. In the end, Rita goes to the pub and meets with Denny and her circle of friends feeling miserable, but nevertheless, joins in with the singing. The thing that makes her come back to Frank is her drunken mother saying, "There are better songs to sing than these." This makes Rita realise that if she isn't happy with the way life is for her at the moment, just because no one else is willing to change, there's no reason why she can't. Rita gradually becomes ...

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