When Rita was at school, she did not have much of an education, nobody wanted to learn. Even her friends. Rita did not want to learn then because she did not want to be different “and that’s not allowed”. When Frank asked her “by whom?” she said “by your mates, by your family, by everyone”. She had to be more interested in clothes, music and “fellers”.Rita then realised that she was not satisfied with the life she was leading, “Is this the absolute maximum I can expect from this living lark?” Frank later on tells her that she “barely had a basic schooling”, and she’d “….never passed an exam in her life”.
At first, Rita couldn’t read poems “I couldn’t even get through one poem. I tried to read this thing he wrote called ‘J. Arthur Prufrock’; I couldn’t finish it”. Also Rita’s first serious book that she reads, she cannot finish because she does not agree with the views expressed in ‘Howard’s End’.
This shows lack of knowledge of how to value English literature. “…Its crap because the feller who wrote it was a louse….because he….says,….quote ‘We are not concerned with the poor’ unquote. That’s why it’s crap”
By Act 2 scene 4, she has written an essay that Frank adds to the pile of essays from University students. Rita asks, “What sort of mark would it get?” and Frank replies “a good one”.
Towards the end of the play, Rita has not only learned about literature, she has also learned about life. She has gained self- confidence. She tells Frank “I have a roomful of book, I know what wine to buy, what plays to see, what papers and books to read”. She has outgrown, her previous way of life.
Rita came from a working class background. She is a hairdresser.
Rita is fed is fed up with going pub with Denny, because Denny wants her to go to the pub and have a drink, and laugh with his friends every evening.
Because she is more intelligent. Rita wants more choices in life. “There were always something in me head tapping away, telling me I might have got it all wrong”. She says Denny is content to choose between “one of eight kinds of Lagers or decide between Everton and Liverpool”.
In order for Rita to change, she leaves Denny because he doesn’t want her to change. She then leaves her hairdressing and goes off to work in a bistro. Rita is confident at the end of the play, she moves in a different social class. She is more independent and lives in her own flat. She has choices of where to spend Christmas with friends or family. Therefore, her life isn’t predictable like it used to be.
When Rita meets Trish, she thinks that because Trish lives to read poetry she is ‘dead classy’? This is because Rita has no self-confidence and she believes everything to do with her new way of life is fantastic. She is brought back down to earth at the end when Trish tried to kill herself. Rita realise that even the ‘educated’ people have problems.
As Rita has started her education, Denny kept persuading Rita to have a baby but Rita wants to have her education. When Denny find ‘the pills’, he goes mad. This is because Rita has been lying to him. Denny burns Rita’s books and papers.
Rita’s relationship with Denny is not happy. It’s not open because she’s lying to him. He does not understand her dissatisfaction with her life. Because he does not understand, he gets very angry with her studying so she has to write her essays at work. “Denny gets dead narked if I work at home”.
In Frank’s room when she tells him about his books being burnt, Frank asks her if she loves Denny. Rita did not answer that question. She has to think how to answer. Then she tells Frank that Denny brings her presents sometimes to try and get the old Rita back.
Even after Denny has burnt her books Rita is not angry at Denny, she just calls him “Y’ soft get”. And says, “there’s no point cryin’ over spilt milk”. But she is determined to live the life that she wants to.
In the end, she leaves Denny because he gave her an ultimatum to stop the studying or leave, Rita chose her education.
Rita worked as a hairdresser, but she got bored with all the conversation “It does my head in”. “The conversation is dead boring”. She also quite her work because there are no progression.
When she was cutting peoples hair, she knew there was more to life and that she wanted to learn.
After beginning to study, one day she talked to a customer about ‘Peer Gynt’ and found that she enjoyed that type of conversation. So she left and went to work in a bistro where she believed she could have this type of conversation all the time.
She then enjoyed talking about ‘important things’ with her customers unlike working in a hairdresser and talking “irrelevant rubbish”.
Her job as a hairdresser was a skilled job and one that she would have trained for, Rita thinks working in a bistro is better than working as hairdresser because she’s meeting lots of students instead of housewives. So she thinks the conversations are better. Because Rita is so wrapped up in the idea of learning, she prefers mixing with students than working as a hairdresser and mixing with housewives.
When Rita first arrives at Frank’s office she was nervous at first Rita was nervous, she said “Y’know, when I’m nervous…”
Later during the play, Rita gets to know Frank. Frank isn’t stuck up or posh like Rita thought he was. They both like reading books and swearing. Frank then likes Rita more than a friend “why didn’t you walk in here twenty years ago?” I think Rita then rejects him.
I think the reason why Rita doesn’t want him because she has found her freedom and she wants to hang on to it. “I can do without you”.
Frank flirts with Rita at the beginning. However, he then recognises that she is not interested in anything but education.
He tells her, “I care for you” although she returns his complement she thinks that he cares for her like guardian angel. Even when he asks her to go to Australia with him at the end of the play, she does not acknowledge any relationship with him at all, she just replies that he helped her to be free and choose whatever she wants to do.
Rita talks broad Liverpuddlion. Also, she swears quite a bit at first. It is her natural way of speaking.
“You can. If you do it, it’s slumming’ it. Comin’ from you it’d sound dead effected, wouldn’t it?” I think as she is learning a posh accent, she suddenly spoke a little too posh.
“Oh go away, Frank. Of its type, it’s quite interesting. But it’s hardly excellence”. This disturbs Frank and he accuses her of talking like a ‘Dalek’ so it’s not natural. By the end of the play, because Rita has self-confidence she talks in a happy medium between the two extremes. During the play, Trish said that Rita’s way of speaking is ‘ugly’.
My conclusion of this play is that I think Rita is a bit selfish. This is because Frank has helped Rita get her dream, which was ‘Education’.
If Rita paired up with Frank, than she could have stopped him drinking too much. Rita could have helped Frank get over drinking, because she had confidence in his poetry writing and he believed her. She could have helped him. She responds to any hints that Frank gave about developing their relationship, but she is more satisfied with life. But she takes and takes the hints and gives nothing in return. Until the end where she acknowledges this and facts ironically give Frank a haircut.