Educating Rita & Belonging Essay

754 Words Jun 3rd, 2012 4 Pages
Educating Rita

Question: How is the concept of belonging presented in Educating Rita? Extract One: Act 1 Scene 1 Willy Russell explores the concept of belonging in the first scene of Educating Rita through language and dramatic techniques. It is evident from the moment that Frank and Rita meet that their perceptions of belonging are vastly different. Rita's entrance, "I'm comin' in, aren't I? It's that stupid bleedin' handle on the door. You wanna get it fixed!" shocks both Frank and the audience in her apparent ignorance of social conventions surrounding admission to a university lecturer's office. Her use of slang and contractions of words suggests that she belongs to the working class rather than to Frank's educated class. Her tone
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It is clear that Rita's perception of belonging has modified since the beginning of the play. She seems to believe that external items have changed the locus of her belonging, reorienting her from the working class family to a sophisticated university lifestyle. She believes she can identify the marks of "brilliant," "witty" and "profound" literature in Frank's work. However, Frank's allusion to "a little Gothic number called Frankenstein" suggests a different perception of his work. He believes he has created a monster in Rita's views on literature, sarcastically saying, "you recognise the hallmark of literature now, don't you?" When Frank rips his poetry and throws it in the air,

he dramatically signals his rejection of Rita's adopted views of belonging in the company of "nineteenth-century traditions of- of like wit an' classical allusion." As she reacts to his expression of disgust, her short sentence, "I don't need you" demonstrates her assertion of her own independence from him, ironically by conforming to the expectations of others. She asserts, "I've got a room full of books. I know what clothes to wear, what wine to buy, what plays to see, what papers and books to read." This accumulation of items imparts a sense of her triumph in her achievement, succeeding in belonging to a university students' world. Yet, the audience is able to apprehend, along with Frank, that these items are merely superficial

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