Willie Russell's Educating Rita

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Willie Russell's Educating Rita In this play, Willie Russell has created two extremes of culture and put them together to focus on the differences between them and how these two cultures change as the play develops. Firstly there is Frank with a good job as a teacher and a large house and is well educated, who is contrasted with Rita who has a council house, works as a hairdresser and is not well educated. They first meet when Rita goes to Frank because she wants to be educated. As the play continues, Frank and Rita almost completely exchange roles as they are both unhappy with their culture and want to be more like the other. This play was written in the 1980's where the working, middle and upper classes were still used widely to determine what your culture was and how important you are to the social society at the time. The theme of culture appears a lot in the play. One of the ways that Willie Russell shows the two distinctly different cultures is how much power the higher classes have over the lower classes. In the play knowledge is shown as a symbol of power. Frank has the superior knowledge over Rita so therefore he also has more power over Rita. But when Rita returns from summer school and is more knowledgeable than Frank because Frank wanted to be more like Rita, so Rita has more power over Frank as she now has the superior knowledge. I think that the swivel chair determines who is most in control over the other person in terms of power and knowledge. At the start of the play Frank is sat in the swivel chair, but once Rita is further educated she sits in the swivel chair. The fact that it is a swivel chair that determines power is significant because it turns around. Much like Frank and Rita as the power turned from being in Frank in to Rita. Willie Russell also used education to show the two different cultures that Frank and Rita live in. Rita says that she wants to be educated because she wants to know everything as she is not happy being classed as working class. But Denny, Rita's husband, does not want her to change and he does this by burning all of her books. Education also symbolises power as Frank has the power to change is life because he is educated, but Rita wants to become educated so she can change her way of life and culture. Education affects the audiences' interpretations of the play as the two extremes of culture that are
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