Educating Rita by Willy Russell follows the protagonist, Rita’s, attempts to break away from her mundane and meaningless working class existence by gaining a University education. Through the help from her reluctant tutor, Frank, Rita attempts to overcome the social constraints that prevent an individual from transferring between different social classes and solidify her position in the educated middle class. As both Frank and Rita attempt to escape the worlds that they belong to and attain the lives they aspire to, those things they must leave behind highlight that one must make significant sacrifices when going ‘into the world’. The opening of the play introduces Rita as she enrols in the Open University program because she wants ‘to know’. She desires an escape from her meaningless working class existence and perceives education as the transfer, which will allow her to make the transition into educated middle class society, to enter a new world. As Rita meets her tutor, Frank for the first time, Russell establishes an immediate contrast between Frank and Rita conveying that they are both from different worlds. This contrast is made clear through Frank’s eloquent speaking and Rita’s scouse accent “I’m comin in, aren’t I? It’s that stupid bleedin’ handle on the door. You wanna get it fixed”. The vast difference between the characters conveys just how far Rita has to go and how hard she will need to work in order to make the changes necessary to enter the world which she desires. Her accent represents that the social habits of the working class are set in Rita, an obstacle she will need to overcome. Furthermore, the room as the setting for the play is significant in that for Rita, Frank’s room represents the world in which she wants to belong. It is a metonym of the society, lifestyle and experience which she aims towards. Frank’s room is overvalued by Rita as it holds for her, everything that will aid her in her transition into the new...
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