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relationship between frank and rita in educating rita

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How Does Willy Russell Present the Development of Frank and of Rita in 'Educating Rita'? Educating Rita, written by Willy Russell is a witty, humorous play with only two characters, Frank and Rita. Rita is twenty-six years old and a hairdresser from Liverpool. She longs to break away from her daily routine and not follow the mould of a lower class Liverpudlian woman. She does this by taking a degree in English Literature from the Open University (O.U.). Rita teaches her tutor, Frank, more about life than she learns from him, about books. The development of Frank and Rita's characters is a central part to why the play works and is so successful, in the theatre and on the 'big screen'. On the one hand Frank starts out very much as a long-suffering cynic, who turns to alcohol for comfort. However by the end of the play Frank has a new perception on life and the lower class. He also acquires a greater respect for his pupils and for literature in general. Rita is very much unlike Frank she is very abrupt and energetic, but still very friendly. She has a very positive attitude towards the course and wanting to learn, however she lacks much confidence in her own abilities and intellect. However by the end of the play she is almost the opposite she is far more laid back and confident. She is far less abrupt, but still with a thirst for knowledge. At the very beginning of the play Frank is very much bored of his life and his daily routine, and thinks a lot about where his next drink is. We can learn this from the very first scene, where Frank is searching for some whisky hidden behind a bookcase. This shows there is something missing in his life, to which he turns to drink in search of. Also hiding it behind a bookcase shows he is not proud of it and does not want people to find out about him drinking at work, probably because it could jeopardise his career. ...read more.


He does this by pouring some drinks for them both and saying 'We'll talk about Chekhov and pretend this is the pub.' This is furthering my point about their relationship becoming less professional. Rita then asks Frank some very personal questions which could cause an uncomfortable situation in a professional environment, however in an emotional, friendly environment they discuss these questions freely, Rita asks Frank 'Do you actually like drinking?' and 'Why did you stop being a poet?' Frank answers both these questions without putting up a fight or changing the subject, unlike Rita, who repeatedly refused to talk about Denny. This shows, although their relationship has developed to become more emotionally fuelled, but perhaps Frank has more of an emotional attachment and dependence towards Rita, than she has towards him. Another example of their relationship developing as more than a professional one, is when Frank agrees to got to watch an amateur production of The Importance of Being Earnest in Act 1 Scene 5. This is significant as it is the first time they are going to meet outside of Frank's office and at a social event. At first Frank does not want to go, as he believes Julia would get jealous 'And how would I explain that to Julia.' 'Even a woman who posses an M.A. is not above common jealousy.' This is perhaps an excuse as he is nervous of being seen with Julia. Firstly because it might look like they are having an affair, this shows he is still fond of Julia, but also he may be slightly reluctant to be seen with a woman from a common, lower class background. However as the conversation continues and Rita continues to nag Frank, he tells her that Julia is out anyway and he eventually agrees to go. This is a very big development in their relationship; going to a social event shows they very much enjoy each other's company and that their professional relationship is being overshadowed by their friendship and emotional relationship. ...read more.


Towards the very end of the play Frank's development is complete when he finally acknowledges the completion of Rita's education. He notifies the occasion by giving Rita a dress. In act 2 Scene 7 Frank states 'It's a dress really. I bought it some time ago, for an educated woman friend of mine.' This shows Frank is no longer dependent on Rita and he is ready to move on and get on with his life. As for Rita, the final stage of her development in the play is complete, when she gives Frank a haircut. This is interesting, as of all the gifts at her disposal as an educated and 'complete' woman, Rita gives Frank the one thing she had at the beginning of the play. This shows she acknowledges Franks help and does not forget her roots and how far she has come to get to where she is now. The success of this play is because of the author's knowledge of the subject and the context he has written it in. As when the play was written, 1985, the O.U. was very topical and relevant to society. Also Willy Russell was once in a similar position to Rita, he was from Liverpool and a common, lower class background. Therefore he wrote not from imagination so much, but from his life experiences. Also like Rita he never went to the theatre or took much interest in literature. He also wanted to 'sing a better song' and was a hairdresser; however like Rita he persevered and enrolled in a course. The rest is history! This is why the development of Rita is so interesting, as Will Russell went through a very similar development process himself. In conclusion, I believe, that in my opinion both Frank and Rita have changed for the better. Rita has achieved her goal of 'singing a better song' and Frank has now got a truer perspective on life as a result of Rita's also he is generally less miserable and perhaps will give up the drink! 3 By Joe Butler 10S English GCSE Coursework ...read more.

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