Changes in Rita's Character throughout Educating Rita

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Changes in Rita's Character throughout Educating Rita

With reference to the social context of the play, discuss the ways in

which Willy Russell shows the changes in Rita’s character throughout

Educating Rita.

In the play Educating Rita by Willy Russell there are two main

characters, Rita and Frank. Rita is a twenty six year old uneducated

hairdresser. She wants a better life for herself; she wants to have

an education. She 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. She goes to

the Open University to further her education in English literature.

In the Open University there is a professor called Frank, he will be

tutoring Rita. Frank has a drinking problem and he also thinks he is

a bad teacher. He says,

“Everything I know – and you must listen to this – is that I know

absolutely nothing.” He thinks literature and high culture have given

him nothing in life to value, that’s why he thinks so poorly of his job.

In the play Willy Russell tries to show the ways in which Frank and

Rita communicate. When Rita first walks into Frank’s room she is full

of questions, she has a lot to say. It seems as though she is full of

life. Frank describes Rita, “Do you know, I think you’re the first

breath of fresh air that’s been in this room for years.” Frank likes

it that Rita is different from his other students because the things

she says come to her naturally. Rita has not been tr...

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...ere she is eager to learn, as she says,

“……..if you want to change, y’ have to do it from the inside, don’t

y? know like I’m doin’.” This shows Rita wants to change. She also

goes to summer school in order to learn more; by going to summer

school it boosts her self-confidence. Then she moves in with someone

called Trish, who she admires and now because she has changed, has a

lot in common with her.

The things Rita has done, which are to have taken great lengths in

getting an education, show how serious she is about her desire to want

to change herself. She even separates from her husband for the reason

that she chose education instead of him, in an ultimatum her gave

her. She has tried so hard to succeed and now that she has, I think

that is being realistic. No one handed her an education on a plate,

she worked hard for it, I this that is realistic.
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