Trace the metamorphosis of Rita from an unfulfilled hairdresser to an educated woman. If you were directing the play, how would you show these changes in Rita’s character? Free essay! Download now
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Trace the metamorphosis of Rita from an unfulfilled hairdresser to an educated woman. If you were directing the play, how would you show these changes in Rita’s character?
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DescriptionTrace the metamorphosis of Rita from an unfulfilled hairdresser to an educated woman. If you were directing the play, how would you show these changes in Rita’s character?
This essay contains an analysis of the character of Rita from Willy Russell's 'Educating Rita' and traces, in detail, the change in her character from start to finish, and points out similarities between the author and his main character.
“Educating Rita” was written in 1979 whilst the Conservatives were in power. The working class (of which Rita was associated) didn’t have as many opportunities as they do now. Many left school at sixteen, especially women, and had children very young, as that was classed as the normal thing to do. The play was first performed in 1980, and proved to be very popular, winning many awards including “Best Comedy of the Year” when performed by the “Royal Shakespeare Company” in 1980.
It was also a time when women were campaigning for more opportunities, and wanted more equality with men. Many campaigns kicked into action, and one of the leading representatives of the UK was Germaine Greer, who wrote a book called “The Female Eunuch,” all about feminism. This period in time was all about change, which Rita wanted and needed so badly.
Another one of Russell’s famous works is “Shirley Valentine.” This character was very similar to Rita- very unfulfilled and in search of a new, exciting life.
On her quest to become a new woman, Rita experiences and goes through many changes. At the beginning of the play, Rita is extremely unhappy with her life and needs change. She feels unfulfilled, diffident, insecure and lost. She is not entirely sure what she wants to learn, she just wants to change.
FRANK: “What do you want to learn?”
Rita is fed up with people telling her what to do and how she should lead her life. She tries and wants to break free from her social class, and getting an education is the only way she knows how. She is annoyed that everyone expects her to have had a baby by her age,
“I should have had a baby by now, everyone expects it.”
However, Rita breaks away from this pre-conceptional idea, and becomes an individual, wanting to do well for herself.
Having started her English Literature course at the Open University with Frank as her tutor, she stumbles upon some difficulties. As she had a very poor education as a child, her literacy skills are not up to the standard that they need to be at, to write the essay’s she has been asked to write by Frank. This is due to her bad schooling.
RITA: (about her school) “Nah, just normal, y’know. Borin, ripped up books, broken glass everywhere, knives an’ fights.”
However, she doesn’t lack confidence, but simply does not understand the literature.
FRANK: “What did you think of Howard’s End?”
RITA: “It was crap.”
This shows she hasn’t yet mastered the skill of appreciating good literature yet.
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