educating rita

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Hannah chapman To what extent does Russell use comedy to explore the clash of class and culture in Educating Rita? Class is a system in which separates society into sections of social and economic class. This is determined by how much money you have, who you are friends with and your priorities or beliefs. Class can be divided into three sections, upper class, middle class and lower class. Willie Russell has created two extremes of culture, putting them together to identify the differences between them, how these two cultures collide as the play progresses. The play displays the reconstruction of Rita an initially self-assured, vociferous and socially naïve individual who is confined in her middle class lifestyle and beliefs. She believes if she gains a decent education then she will escape her tedious position in the working class sector. Although she is different to her peers she is not ready to be accepted by the middle class. Rita becomes bewildered and believes education is the only way she can change herself on the inside. This is similar to her clients altering their outward appearance with a haircut. She believes that this is the only way to achieve this goal is through education and therefore she decides to begin her academic journey at the Open University course. There is a distinct contrast between Frank and Rita in class. Russell represents Rita as a working class woman aspiring the move into the middle class through getting a decent education, something she has never received. Rita instinctively knows she lacks something and thinks a university degree, she believes gaining an education is the only way to make her way into the middle class sector. Rita often see’s things in a very literal and to the point way takin... ... middle of paper ... ...ech and articulate language used by the academics. She loves the lifestyle and classy tastes due to the difference to her tedious cyclical lifestyle. Frank clashes with Rita as the things he appreciates these days, Rita has in an abundance: individuality, wit and effacement. He likens the idea of simple work and simple pleasures, in effect he wants to go back a step, Rita wants to advance forward and change thus leaving Frank behind, showing the clash between the two characters wanting to effectively have each other’s lifestyles. This causes comical collisions between them, wanting to change their lifestyles to potentially achieve their dream. The irony is that as a result of Franks lectures, he has turned a once individual and creative student into a pretentious façade. Rita has become everything that Frank despises due to her compliance to conventional education.
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