Last Updated 27 Jan 2021

Educating Rita Notes

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Into the World examines how various texts represent stages of growing up and maturation. transitional phase, marked by new challenges, opportunities and relationships described as a ‘rite of passage’, a time of change and adaption from one world of experience into another. offers knowledge, understanding and insight as well as more arduous and difficult consequences. Worlds encountered are varied as well as the unique and individual ways that people cope with the pressures of moving out ‘into the world’.

When responding to texts, students are to demonstrate the different pathways (worlds and ways of coping) that are available. Educating Rita - Willy Russell explores notions of personal growth and self awareness through the transformation and process of change that occurs in Frank and Rita. the playwright describes the play as “a love story”, although the relationship that unfolds between Rita and Frank is also a story about “literature, language and education”. n educative relationship between teaching and learning is examined through the transition from ignorance to knowledge and enlightenment. an educational context is used to explore the development of skills, attitudes, values and outlook that takes place in Frank and Rita. Frank and Rita’s interaction as teacher and student triggers a re-evaluation of self and their relationship with their world. The bond they form generates the emotional impetus (force) needed to undergo fundamental (so basic as to be hard to alter, resolve, or overcome) change. his is represented through Rita and Frank’s juxtaposition of class, background, social expectations and values. in the introduction of the play, Russell explains that he aimed to achieve this in a way that “engaged” an audience and “was relevant to those who considered themselves uneducated, those whose daily language is not the language of the university or the theatre. ” the play explores fundamental notions of education including the motivations and dreams that inspire teacher and student alike.

Educating Rita has proved to be highly successful because Bildungsroman elements of self-realisation, allow it to “transcend barriers of language, class and race” and strike an empathetic chord with audiences. the genre of Bildungsroman has an educative focus that looks at the inter-relationship of man and society. the focus is the extended journey of personal development that the protagonist undergoes. the tone is typically personal, reflective and highly subjective. erceptions of self and social identity are examined and as such the characterisation is psychologically complex and morally ambiguous (unclear or inexact because a choice between alternatives has not been made). changes that occur are often motivated by a desire for self-improvement or self-fulfillment and can result in a greater self-knowledge. these features are clearly seen by the altered outlooks both Rita and frank exhibit by the end of their time together. STRUCTURE: fifteen scene, ‘two-hander’ script with only two characters. each scene depicts one of rita’s visits, charting the growing relationship between teacher and pupil.

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