In the play Educating Rita by Willy Russell we are lead to believe that in the first few scenes Rita and Frank have nothing in common. We assume this on a few small things like the way Rita talks. She is a very out going character who talks like a commoner. ” you’d better get that bleadin’ handle fixed. She hair dresses in a shop and is not happy with the position she is in. She does not have much interest in hair dressing and it does not feel that it is good enough for her. She could do much better. Frank on the other hand is a lecturer at the Open University.
He has a bad alcohol problem and only works there to get money for the booze. From what we gather he is not a very good lecturer and is not really all that interested in the job, just the money. He talks not in a posh accent but a smart middle class. Rita perceives her job as a working class hairdresser to be a job that only the lowest of the lowest would do. It is an unsatisfactory job that does not for fill her dream of being a middle class woman. She has the potential to go for what it is that she wants and luckily she knows you to motivate her self to do so.
Neither frank nor Rita is really interested in there jobs. They both just do it for the money. This is when we learn that they do have something and common they share the same out looks of there jobs. At the beginning of the play we hear frank talking-to his girlfriend Julia on the phone. She is complaining that he will not be home in time for diner and he is complaining that he wants to go down the pub. This is when we realise that frank is in an unstable relationship with his girlfriend. Due to Rita’s nosey personality we find out that Frank was one married but has split up from his wife.
When Rita asks why he comments it was “because of literature”. When really it was because of his drinking problem, if he is not careful the same thing will happen to him again. Rita finds out that frank use to write poetry and this is why him and his wife split up (or so frank says) Rita then realises that she and frank have another thing in common they both have rocky relationships. Unfortunately Rita’s husband Denny has other ideas about what Rita should do with her life. He believes that she and he should start a family.
He believes that they should spend their time down the local pub with the rest of their family. Denny is not happy that Rita is trying to educate herself as he feels it will make her change and then she will leave him. Rita wants to “discover myself” before having a child. Denny is desperate for a child but he does not know that Rita is secretly on the pill. When Denny fins out that Rita is on the bill he troughs her books on a bonfire. Rita sits at the window and cries. This shows us how determined and how happy see was trying to educate herself.
When frank finds out he tells Rita not to worry about the books “It’s not the books im worried about Rita it’s you” Rita soon start to rely on frank a great deal. Rita needs frank to help her change and so Rita stats righting her essays at work so that Denny can’t touch them. But the essays are not good enough and Rita still has to learn how to write essays as her education as a child was next to nothing. Frank invites Rita to a dinner party and Rita decides to go, Denny is also invited but does not go.
Rita spends ages trying to get the right clothes to wear and she buys a bottle of wine and sets of. When she finally gets to franks house after getting on all the wrong buses and going the wrong way, She looks through the window of the house and looks at all the people and she can not go in. She fells so out of place that she writes sorry on the back of her essay and puts it through the letter box. When Rita and frank next meat again frank is not all to impressed by Rita’s sorry. “Sorry scribbled on the back of your essay and thrust through the letter box is hardly an apology”.
Rita tells frank about how she went to his house and when she looked in she felt she could not go in as she would not know what to say and she felt really out of place. Frank sort of understood but was disappointed that Rita felt that she could not come as he really enjoys her company. Rita and frank get back to being good friends again. For the first time in her life Rita goes and see a play. She comes to frank and tells him all about it. He is delighted for her and they spend the evening talking about Macbeth (the play Rita saw). This shows that Rita has more self-confidences as at the begging of the play she would not have the guts to go.
Rita starts to become more and more self-confident and she leaves Denny and gets a flat with a lady named She is a posh and vibrant character who tells Rita all about how you should live your life to the full and so on. Rita goes of to summer school whilst frank and his other half Julia go to France. When Rita returns she has lots of tales to tell. When she walks in to the room frank notices that she has a new dress just like she had always wanted. When he comments on it Rita says that her and some of the girls that she meet down there all went to the market and brought loads of second hand gear.
She tells frank about how she was in the library looking a poets when a lecturer came up and asked her a question about them. Instead of coming out with a funny pun, she said “im not all to familiar with American poets” and they sat and talked about it for ages. Then when she was in a lecture she stood up to ask a question and when she looked around she saw that every one was looking at her but instead of sitting down she asked her question. This shows us that her confidence has boosted with a lot of thanks to Frank. When Rita asks frank how his break was he tells her that Julia and he have broken up.
Rita asks why and frank says, “It was because of eggs”. Rita does not understand but does not question frank about it. Whilst Rita was away frank had thought of a new poet for Rita to study. Blake. But much to franks disappointment Rita has already studied Blake at summer school. This shows us that the tables have now turned, as instead of Rita needing Frank, Frank needs Rita. This shows us that Rita is know a self-confident women who is ready to face the world where as frank needs the help that he gave Rita go get him back on his feet.