Educating Rita Essay

462 Words2 Pages
Educating Rita’ is a comedy written by the playwright Willy Russell in 1980. The main theme in "Educating Rita" is the theme of identity. Rita is initially a narrow minded, loud and socially inept Liverpudlian trapped by her working class life. Rita believes that by studying and gaining worldly knowledge she can change her circumstances, freeing herself from the life she lives. Rita's ultimate goal is to change classes; she doesn't want to be dubbed 'middle class,' and enrolls in an Open University course as a result. She thinks that knowing what books to read and which clothes to wear will give her access to her chosen social strata. This change affects her both positively and negatively throughout the course of the play. Rita is obviously a working class person, in a society that isn’t really interested in literature and doesn’t like it while Frank is a middle-class person, a society where literature is important but Frank is getting bored of it. Rita is trying to move up a class through doing this course. Education (another theme) brings about the changes in Rita, both good and bad, but eventually Rita achieves a happy balance in her life. Educating Rita is a play about a 26-year-old woman, Rita, and her desire to discover herself and change her social class status through education. Russell contrasts the character of Rita with her tutor, Frank who is educated but bored of his life. At the beginning of the play, Russell portrays Rita as a stereotypical working class woman. She values her job as a hairdresser and enjoys singing songs at the local pub with her family. Even with these values in life, Rita becomes disillusioned by being in a lowbrow social class, and craves to improve her standing in society. Rita, through education believes she can change herself on the inside in much the same way as her clients change their outward appearance with a haircut.
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