Willy Russell's Educating Rita

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Willy Russell's Educating Rita

Educating Rita was a play, which was written by Willy Russell. The

book is a semi autobiographical story about a woman who has achieved

nothing in her life and wants to get an education before it is too

late. She is being forced to have a baby by her husband Denny and

regrets not getting any qualifications. With a lack of learning she

had only hairdressing to turn to. She started to feel like she was

just another person in a crowd, nobody special at home so she starts a

literature course at the Open University. Where she is given Frank as

a tutor. Frank teaches her literature. She is an outcast to begin but

it doesn’t take long before she becomes a stereotypical student

sitting on the lawn.

Frank is a middle-aged man, divorced but not single. His girlfriend

Julia who we find cheating on him. As an English Lecturer and former

poet, he understands the deeper meaning behind literature, but he

can’t remember it half the time because of his little drinking


The character of Rita was based on the writer’s own life and

experiences. They both grew up outside Liverpool with a poor education

and a lack of qualifications. They both set off to change their lives.

Rita became a student while Willy Russell lived his dream of being a


In act 1 Rita is introduced. She is shown to be loud and outwardly

confident. An example is her use of inappropriate, crude language.

When she sees a piece of artwork hanging on Frank’s office wall she

says “look at those tits”. This quote expresses her attitude and gives

you the impression she is loud and always speaks her mind. Her

approach to Frank’s sophisticated reality is crude and shocking.

“That’s ‘S’ for Susan. Its not me real name. I’ve changed it to Rita

though” This is the funny side of Rita. She is made out to be

entertaining and funny to make the audience laugh. When

misunderstanding Frank’s comments her words are twisted into an

inappropriate language. This shows her lack of education and her

completely different approach to literature, her experiences are only

reading pulp fiction books.. This lack in education causes her social

status around school to be very low. She wants to be like the other

students and knows it will take a lot of work to get there. The

audience sees that she is aware of her academic limitations and knows

the change will have to come from within “… they come to the

hairdressers cos they wanna be changed, but if you want to change y’
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