Educating Rita by Willy Russels Analysis

Topics: CultureLanguage

This sample essay on Frank Rita reveals arguments and important aspects of this topic. Read this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and the conclusion below.

I think education is a part of life that everybody goes through. It’s how the world gains knowledge and everybody deserves to have a proper education, which involves going to a school and learning different subjects in a classroom with a teacher. My view of education does seem to differ to Russell’s definition. His definition of education seems to be a way to differentiate the social classes of the world.

A chance for the ‘posh’ people to show how superior they are to the lower class. He is implying that anyone that is poor cannot have had an education.

This does seem to be true according to the play but maybe Russell was not picturing reality when he wrote ‘Educating Rita’. His definition of education is not apparent in the reality that I live in so I cannot identify with him.

To me, education is and always will be the gaining of knowledge, being taught and finding out about life. Our first impressions of Frank are rather negative, it is clear that he has a drinking problem and is obviously dissatisfied with his life. We learn from him that he is divorced and his present relationship is not an idealistic one.

 Frank and Rita’s Characters

He is quite disrespectful and longs to have more free time to sit in the pub and drink.

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Examples of these are things like, ‘Strange hours for this Open University thing. They expect us to teach when the pubs are open. ‘ (1. i) ‘Jubilantly he moves to the Dickens section and pulls out a pile of books to reveal a bottle of whisky’ (1. i) These examples show how he relies on his drinking and would rather be at the pub than anything else. Our first impressions of Rita differ quite significantly to those of Frank; her use of language is coarse and does not have the ability to express literary concepts on anything but a basic level.

Things that don’t really matter like wearing the right types of clothing and the right type of wine preoccupy her. ‘That’s a nice picture … It’s very erotic … There’s no suppose about it. Look at those tits. ‘ (1. i) Rita’s language here shows how direct and naive she is. Most people would not come straight out and say something like that but she does not see the vulgarity of the way she speaks. At first Frank does not want to teach Rita, he tries to stop her from coming to him for tutoring. ‘Go back to what you do like and stop wasting my time.

You go out and buy yourself a new dress and I’ll go to the pub. ‘ (1. ii) This proves how Frank sees Rita as a ‘waste of time’ and does not want to teach her. Rita has exactly the opposite reaction to Frank, when he tries get rid of her she becomes adamant about the fact the he is her tutor. This is because she likes him and what he does; she feels she can learn a great deal from him because of the social class he is in. She also does genuinely like him for his personality, which makes here even more determined to stay. ‘Wait a minute, listen to me.

Listen: I’m on this course, you are my teacher – an’ you’re gonna bleedin’ well teach me … You’re my tutor. I don’t want another tutor. ‘ (1. ii) She is not going to leave him because she definitely wants him as a tutor. The first major learning point for Frank is accepting Rita and finding out that there is more to life then literature and poetry and his mind is opened by Rita and becomes less of a ‘literary snob’. He also later on tried to dissuade Rita from becoming so literate in what she has learned because Frank sees it as a turn for the worst for her.

Rita also begins to learn things from Frank; the first major learning point she took was that to be able to get the education she wants she needs to change her colloquial dialect to a more formal language. This helps her become able to stress her point within an essay, by impressing an examiner rather than using a vulgar language. ‘F: No, Erm – assonance. Well, it’s a form of rhyme. What’s a – what’s an example – erm -? Do you know Yeats? R: The wine lodge? F: Yeats the poet. ‘ (1. i) ‘R: It was crap. F: What? R: I thought it was crap! F: Crap? And who are you citing in support of your thesis, F.

R. Leavis? R: No. Me! F: What have I just said? ‘Me’ is subjective. ‘ (1. ii) Along the way Frank and Rita learn a lot more from each other. The next point Frank learns is that education can ‘quash’ a person. He realises or thinks that if Rita is successful in ‘learning everything’ (which is what she wanted in the beginning) then it will spoil what is so special about Rita. For instance the way she just comes out with things, says what is exactly on her mind, she will start to say less about what she thinks, try and make it into a ‘more posh’ point of view.

Frank may even be scared that Rita will become a ‘literary snob’ like he was in the beginning. ‘F: (appealingly) Rita, stop it! R: But Frank, I have to persevere in order that I shall. F: Rita! Just be yourself. R: I am being myself. ‘ (2. ii) Rita is also learning along with Frank. But she learns that to cope with having an education and being exposed to all these literate, upper class people she needs to change the way she talks, in accent and the vocabulary she uses. Although this may not actually be correct, she does learn it and perseveres with changing the way she dresses.

She feels she no longer fits in with the people around her and quits her job, because the conversation lacks somewhat in education. She feels she needs to change the people that are around her and then try to fit in with the new people she has become acquainted to. ‘R: That’s why I couldn’t stand being in a hairdresser’s any longer; boring irrelevant detail all the time, on and on … Well, I’m sorry but I’ve had enough of that. I don’t wanna talk about irrelevant rubbish anymore. F: And what do you talk about in your bistro? R: Everything …

We talk about what’s important, Frank, and we leave out the boring details for those who want them’ (2. iv) Frank has learned a lot from Rita throughout this play, and I think the most important point he has learned is, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you live, everybody deserves an education, and it can change you for the worst. It doesn’t make you a better person or more superior to anyone else, you are just the same apart from having a larger vocabulary. In the end, everyone comes down to the same thing, has the same needs and longs for the same things! ‘F: Oh I’ve done a fine job on you haven’t I …

This – this clever, pyrotechnical pile of self-conscious allusion is worthless, talentless, shit and could be recognized as such by anyone with a shred of common sense … Oh, I don’t expect you to believe me, Rita; you recognize the hallmark of literature now, don’t you? I think that the most important point that Rita learned in this play is that you have a choice in life. You don’t have to be stuck in somewhere you don’t want to be.

You can change your life to how you want it to be. Although it might not be what you expect, it ends up how you wanted it to be and that is your own choice. R: … It might be worthless in the end. But I had a choice. I chose, me. Because of what you’d given me. I had a choice. ‘ (2. vii) I do think that Frank and Rita benefit from having a relationship with each other. They both open their eyes to how they each live, and learn to accept things that has contradicted points that they thought were true their whole life. Frank manages to stop drinking, nearly and Rita is where she wants to be in life. They helped each other get to that stage and although Frank still relies on Rita to be there she does not actually need him anymore.

A final benefit that Frank receives is quite comical; a haircut. This is great because it finishes off the play with a light note. I think that Russell is trying to show that in his play Frank and Rita learn exactly the same thing, people are all the same, and most of the things you know will end up being useless and empty. They both learn this in a different way. Rita becomes educated, and learns that it is not up to what it is made out to be and Frank learns this by meeting Rita, the lower class girl. If you base your life around literature completely you will end up being a very dull person with an empty life.

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Educating Rita by Willy Russels Analysis. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from

Educating Rita by Willy Russels Analysis
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