Educating Rita

Rita moves from her uneducated working class life to a formally educated one. However, in the process Rita comes to realize that this was never going to be what gave her a sense of fulfillment. Instead Rita comes to a stronger sense of self.

Positives of the transition:
• Discovery and enlightment – Rita discovers a new world far removed from her restrictive world as a wife and hairdresser.
• Freedom and choice – Rita desires the ability to choose her future not have it forced upon her. She hopes that her new life will present opportunities that her existing life has failed to deliver – education, travel and culture.

Reasons for Rita’s transition:
• “I wanted a better way of living me life” – she wants to become educated so that she can move out of her uneducated working class.

Challenges that Rita faces:
• Frank doesn’t want to teach her
• Her boyfriend doesn’t want her to become educated instead wants her to move to Formsby
• Rita didn’t try in school because she didn’t want to be different from her friends
• The people around her are reluctant for her to change; when her boyfriend finds out that she is still on the pill he burns her books and essay.
• Her tutor Frank is an alcoholic who attends lectures drunk.

Consequences of Rita’s transition:
• She loses her job at the hairdresser
• Breaks up with her boyfriend
• Gets her books and essay burned

Educating the author
William Russell was born in Whiston, just outside Liverpool, in 1947. At primary school he enjoyed reading, football and gardening, these were the only subjects he liked, but at his secondary school he was consigned to the factory fodder D stream. It was in this surprising environment that he conceived the idea of being a writer. His only experience of factory work caused him to fail to obtain a printing apprenticeship, so his mother suggested he trained to be a women's hairdresser, he worked as a woman's hairdresser for five years eventually running his own salon. After...