Educating Rita

A transition is the process or period of changing from one state or condition to another. Our lives are constantly filled with various transitions. Some of these transitions can be easier than others. Educating Rita by Willy Russel explores the obstacles Rita encounters while transitioning from uneducated to educated, also the way that Frank transitions out of his world that lacks challenges and new endeavours. The song “Cat’s in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin shows us the cycle of life and how some transitions can occur without us even realising.
Rita, a twenty-six year old female from the working class, sees education as her vehicle to emerge from the gender expectations, class prejudices and educational inequities of her social class. She is constantly resisting these expectations.
“Y’ have to decide whether it’s gonna be another change of dress or a change in yourself. And it’s really tempting to go out an’ get that other dress. Because that way it’s easy; y’ know you won’t be upsettin’ anyone or hurtin’ anyone – apart from yourself”
The slang language that Rita uses introduces her to the audience as a crass and forthright individual, a change from his usual academic students who discuss literature at all times. Rita’s metaphoric language shows us her desperation for change. She is challenging some of the restrictive attitudes and beliefs of her social class, creating opportunities for her to choose from a broader range of options for her future.
Frank transitions parallel to Rita, although his transition is not as fast as hers. From the moment Rita enters his life, he is constantly challenged by her and he finds himself reassessing his views on literature, love and many other aspects of life from a different perspective.
“She left me for the good of literature… It’s myself I’m not too fond of.”
The sarcastic and bitter tone of Frank shows us how he recognises that things have changed in his situation. His transition hasn’t been as easy as Rita’s and...