Rita's Character in Willy Russell's Educating Rita

Rita's Character in Willy Russell's Educating Rita

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Rita's Character in Willy Russell's Educating Rita

First impressions are very important and Willy Russell is keen to
portray Rita as an enthusiastic but common lady.

In Rita's first line of the scene, we find that she speaks her mind
"It's that stupid bleedin' handle on the door. You wanna get it
fixed." We also find out that Rita is a strong confident character
because when Frank tells Rita "I suppose I always mean to…" She tells
him "Well that's no good always meaning to, is it?" This is ironic to
because the student is telling the teacher what to do.

"I'll bring y' the book-its great" Rita ironically offers a book to
the teacher. She carries on asking all the questions all the way
through the scene, even though it should be the other way around.
"Very good ten out of ten…. collect a gold star" We also learn that
Rita teaches Frank how to teach assonance. "I've never really looked
at it like that. But yes yes you could say it means getting the rhyme

In this scene we find out many things about Rita's character, she
experts in things she does, she can construct an argument and she can
recommend books. We also find out that Rita believes in changing the
inside not the outside. "…They wanna be changed. But if y' wanna
change y' have to do it from the inside don't y'?"

What do we learn about Rita's School days?

Rita didn't enjoy her school, she didn't learn while at school because
if she did she would have to change her friends. She could have learnt
but she was loyal to her friends. She conformed to low expectations,
even though she knew the answer she didn't say because of her friends.
" Nah, just normal y' know, borin' ripped-up books, broken glass
everywhere, knives an' fights. An' that was just in the staff room.
Nah they tried their best I suppose, telling us we stood a chance if
we studied.

"I saw this fantastic bird, all coloured it was, like dead out of

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place round our way… I was just gonna shout an' tell Miss but this kid
next to me said keep your mouth shut or she'll make us write an essay
on it." She couldn't share things with the teacher because other kids
thought they would have to write an essay on it.

What impressions do we get of Denny?

In At 1, we can see that Denny and Rita don't get on very well. "I
hardly ever talk when I'm there." At home Rita gets bored because she
couldn't talk to Denny. "People don't split up because of things like
that. Because of literature." This is ironic because we find out that
Rita and Denny split up because Rita is going to Franks to learn about
literature. We find that Denny has a short temper and can be violent
"Denny found out I was on the pill again… he burnt all my books"

In the very last scene of act 1, we find out that Rita has left Denny
because " Rita enters slowly, carrying a suitcase."

How in scene 5 & 7 do we see some role reversal between Frank & Rita?

In scene 5, we can see some role reversal between Rita & Frank. Rita
wants to talk about literature, instead of life "Why was Chekhov a
comic genius?" whilst, Frank wants to talk about life instead of
literature. "Rita, don't you think that for a night we could give the
class a miss?" Rita now has the sensitive role, while Frank is more
bothered about talking about life and going to the pub "We'll talk
about Chekhov and pretend this is the pub"

In scene 7, we see another role reversal with Rita's feelings. In
earlier scenes Rita was more bothered about the inside instead of how
she looked "But if you want to change y' have to do it from the
inside, don't y'?" But now she is worried about what to wear " I was
thinking', what to wear… I tried on five different dresses. They all
looked bleedin'awful"

Why doesn't Rita go to Frank's party?

Rita didn't go to franks party because she was unsure about how his
friends would see her. She was also worried about her clothes "what
shall I wear?" even though before she wasn't bothered about her
appearance. She also thought that Frank and his friends would talk
about literature, Rita had forgotten what she had been taught. " I
can't remember if it was Wilde who's witty an' Shaw who was Shavian or
who the hell wrote Howard's End." "It wouldn't have mattered if you
walked in with a bottle of Spanish plonk…it was Spanish" so Rita
didn't even buy the right wine for the occasion.

What did Rita's mum mean buy "a better song to sing"?

When Rita's mum says, "Because we could sing better songs than those"
she is saying that she could have done better in her life and she is
hoping Rita does better than her. It is a metaphor for Rita's life.

Choose 2 scene openings and explain how Rita's entrance shows her

In scene 6, "Rita bursts through the door out of breath" this shows
that Rita is excited and cant wait to tell someone about her theatre
experience, "I had to come an' tell y', Frank last night, I went to
the theatre, a proper on, a professional theatre"

In scene 7 "Rita enters, goes straight to the desk and slings her bag
on the back of her chair, she sits in the chair and unpacks her back…
she arranges them as before" from this we can see that there is
clearly some tension between Rita and Frank. This is because she
didn't turn up for Frank's party. She tries her best to act normal.
"Now I don't mind, two empty seats at the dinner table, it means more
of the vino for me" Frank tries to calm the tension by making a joke.
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