How far would you agree that Educating Rita depicts a clash of classes and cultures?

1376 Words Sep 21st, 2013 6 Pages
Within Educating Rita it could be argued that Russell is trying to depict an aspect of conflict within class and culture in the UK- the play itself being in the context of the country during the 1980’s where the rise of Thatcherism grasped many industrialised areas of Britain, thus Russell attempts to depict the importance of education with in this era to those who wanted to escape from the lower end of the social scale. This directly affects one of the two characters in the play, Rita. Who- due to a working-class background- feels held back in life; bringing us to the rising action within the play.
Willy Russell begins to create an image of Rita in Act I Scene 1, as a woman who has wasted her life on simply living the social normalities
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Furthermore Russell begins to explore the development of Rita’s education in the play- this can be seen in Act 1 scene 6, here Frank has invited Rita to a dinner party however she did not attend said arrangement due to Rita’s lack of confidence in herself as a modern, ‘upper-class’ woman and this causes Frank to doubt her will-power especially in her studies and education. This uncertainty within her self exhibits the still existing class divide between the two characters and can be seen where Rita begins to briefly explain her reasons for not coming along to Franks dinner however when she elaborates it becomes clear there is still a clash of cultures in their lifestyles and Russell depicts this through means of a pun;
‘It was Spanish’
This brings across the idea that Rita feels, despite her best efforts at becoming an educated woman, she is ultimately reverting back to her looming social status which Frank doesn’t believe is holding her back but is an image of her underlying character which he finds so individual and makes her an interesting woman. Russell used the dinner party almost symbolically to resemble the threshold at which Rita currently stands at- despite all of this newly found intelligence she still cannot dwell with those who have possessed this ‘knowledge’ for a significantly longer amount of time thus having a vague understanding of how one prepares and co-habits with others
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