Willy Russell's Educating Rita

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Willy Russell's Educating Rita The play follows the attempts of Rita, a hairdresser to escape from her mundane existence and enter an academic, middle class one. Willy Russell's early life had much in common with Rita's. A working class family, from Liverpool, a failed secondary school career, a lady's hairdresser and then an interest in English literature. Russell wanted to contrast the working class values of Rita with the middle class academic ones. He used a number of ideas to make his audience aware of 'class values'. The first thing that strikes the audience about Rita is her coarse and vulgar language. '…look at those tits!' This is a typical example of Rita's language in the first scene. Frank is very taken back by Rita and the way she talks. This shows that Frank is surprised that Rita uses this language. Willy Russell makes Rita use this language as a way of contrasting the two characters and their backgrounds. Frank and Rita's conversations in the scene quickly changed subjects. Rita mentioned a poem about death and Frank assumed she was talking about Dylan Thomas. She was in fact talking about a Liverpudlian writer named Roger McGough. Frank had to admit 'I don't think I know the actual piece you mean…' Willy Russell is again making it obvious to the audience that Rita is from a lower class than Frank. She is not familiar with literary figures showing her lack of education. It is also telling the audience that Frank is ignorant towards certain writers. Willy Russell also uses humour to get the point of Frank and Rita's differences across in scene one e.g. when Frank asks Rita 'Do you know Yeats?' Rita replies 'The wine lodge?' This would make the audience pity Rita through her embarrassing and humorous mistake. Willy Russell uses this to convey their differences in culture or way of living. Frank is talking about an Irish poet, while Rita confuses him with a chain of wine bars. In scene two Rita discussed with Frank her childhood thoughts of
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