I think that class has caused all Rita’s problems while Frank’s class has eased his problems. I think Rita feels as though she’s in the wrong class because of the way she is starting to feel about life. She wants more then is expected of her by everyone else in the same class as she is. She has been born into the working class, if there’s something she’s worried about, she’s not meant to try and solve it she should just go out and buy herself a new dress or record. But Rita’s had enough of doing that she wants to be able to stop ignoring the problem and start solving it instead.
Rita uses a lot of slang words and phrases as she speaks. She also tends to swear in every other sentence. She says that the reason for doing this is to shock people.
” I do it to shock them sometimes. Y’ know when I’m in the hairdresser’s- that’s where I work- I’ll say somethin’ like, ‘Oh, I’m really fucked’, y’ know, dead loud. It doesn’t half cause a fuss.”
“God, I’ve had enough of this. It’s borin’, that’s what it is, bloody borin’. This Forster, honest to God he doesn’t half get on my tits.”
I wrote earlier about the expectations of a woman her age, which is get married, have a baby, and get a job. Rita is a hairdresser, which is a job, not a career. Women are not expected to get a career, I’m not even sure that the men are meant to get one either. The school she went to didn’t really cater for girls or boys who wanted to learn and make something of themselves. The teachers tried to encourage them to learn but it just wasn’t fashionable. It was all materialism. Education wasn’t important, it was all looking for a guy, how many dresses you had, which band you liked and they could never admit to school being anything other than useless.
She said “But studyin’ was just for whimps, wasn’t it? See, if I’d started takin’ school seriously I would have had to become different from me mates, an’ that’s not allowed.”
She went on to say that it wasn’t allowed by her friends, her family, or anyone in fact.
People in the working class are very against sleeping around once you are married. If Rita did sleep with anyone else and her husband found out, then that would be the end of her marriage. At the moment her husband is finding it very difficult to understand why “Susan”(her real name) feels the need to find herself, when she should be more worried about why she isn’t pregnant. As far as he can see there is nothing wrong with him and he gets very angry when she tells him she won’t go see a doctor. When he finds out that she has been lying to him and hasn’t come off the pill, he goes mad and throws all her books on the bonfire. This really upsets Rita and she begins to think that maybe she should give in and stop questioning her life.
I think the reason she changed her name-temporarily, to a writer’s name, is because she’s trying to show that, that is the beginning of her changing herself. Maybe she feels that if she has a good writer’s name instead of her own then people will look at her differently and take her more seriously. Or maybe she feels that Susan is a working class name and Rita is an upper-middle class name. So she wants to sound more educated then she really is.
Frank however was born into the upper-middle class and I believe he is quite happy there. He has a drinking problem but because of his class it is quite acceptable to drink early in the morning and continue through out the day until he goes to bed. He used to smoke but has promised to give it up, that is until Rita insisted on him smoking with her. I’m beginning to think that social drinking is okay but not smoking. Maybe they are more aware off the health risks associated with smoking and feel that the drinking risks are more acceptable.
The main jobs that, that particular class tends to do is, university lecturer, doctor, lawyer, all the well paid jobs that come with a lot of stress. This could be the reason that drinking is allowed. Sleeping around is not as out of bounds as it is with the working class. The upper-middle class seems to think that they are all mature adults and they can all get along nicely, so what does it matter who they sleep with. Everyone sleeps around so why shouldn’t they? The above is a definite example of double standards. The woman that he lives with (Julie) is having an affair with one of his friends, I don’t think he knows about it, but even if he did he probably wouldn’t care. He is obviously attracted to Rita and I suppose it would give him an excuse to sleep with her.
Although he told Rita that he never stopped swearing he was probably trying to make her feel more comfortable because we have never heard him swear or use slang words or phrases. If anything he tends to use more complex words in his sentences.
“You sound like something of a liability”
“It’s supposed to embrace a more comprehensive studentship, yes.”
When Frank admitted to Rita that he used to be a poet, her reaction was definitely surprise. I don’t think that she would ever have pictured Frank, as a poet because it is a very low paid job and not the sort of thing that his class would ever be associated with.
He became a lecturer at the university so that he could afford to buy alcohol because of his addiction. His live-in partner seems to be trying to get him to cut down on the drink and one of his employers wasn’t very happy to hear that he was drunk at one of his lectures, but other then that no-one really cares. It’s his problem so everyone stays out of it.
When Rita offers to lend him a book he doesn’t seem to be too interested but so he doesn’t upset her he accepts. This shows that he isn’t a total snob and that he’s willing to take her favourite book into account. He hasn’t actually read any of the books that Rita refers to, but she hasn’t read any of the books that he refers to either.
Frank has a drink cabinet but still resorts to hiding his whisky/scotch behind one of his books in the bookcase, even though he openly uses his cabinet when Rita is there. Maybe not all types of alcohol are acceptable to drink all day; there must be some sort of reason for him hiding it. And as the opening scene is Frank pulling a bottle out from behind a book, there must be some importance behind it. Maybe it’s just to make the audience realise at once that he is an alcoholic.