Two Major Themes in Willy Russell's "Educating Rita".

Essay by shiawase922Junior High, 9th grade August 2005

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In Willy Russell's Educating Rita, the issues of class inequalities and the choices of education are the key themes of the play. These ideas are convey through not only by the character of Frank and Rita and their uses of language but also the dramatic technique employed.

Class differences are clearly illustrated at the beginning of the play, in the relationship between Frank and Rita. Class differences are especially evident when Rita assumes that an academic like Frank will enjoy fictions such as "Rubyfruit Jungle" just as much as she did. It is also more obvious when Rita views the religious painting as 'erotic'. She also thinks 'Howard End' sound like a 'naughty' book. She was looking through a working class uneducated perspective than to a higher, educated culture. However, Rita wants to be able to read books and attend ballet opera and appreciate these art forms. The gap exists between the world she has lived in all her life and the world she aspires is brought in several references to book.

For example, in Act I scene I, Rita mentions a poem she has read about fighting death and Frank jumps to the conclusion that she means Dylan Thomas. However it is a poem by the Liverpool author Roger McGough that Rita has in mind. There is also one boundary that she refuses to cross which involves meeting Frank on a social level. He invites her to dinner and although Rita eventually finds his house, she knows that the wine she has brought is inappropriate and that she would have been unable to talk confidently to the dinner party guests. She is disturbed by her relatives singing songs at their local pub, especially when her mother says "we could sing a better songs that those" (I,vii).

Frank and Rita's...