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USING MEDIA FOR TEACHING ENGLISH: LITERATURE: WILLY RUSSELL'S
EDUCATING RITA


amazon.de EDUCATING RITA
by
WILLY RUSSELL
amazon.de

Educating Rita, as author Willy Russell has said, is about education, and 'real education is about choice'. Rita, a young woman from the working classes, is possessed by a passion for learning and registers for a literature course in the Open University, sensing that it will somehow increase her choices in life. The play shows the effect that education has on Rita and reveals at the same time the contradiction that one often finds in education: that objective, critical analysis can often destroy the person's more creative, spontaneous approach to life and literature; but that such an education can also have a liberating effect on the person, for it can open possibilities, give one more choice in life.

The play can be viewed as a modern treatment of the Pygmalion story. It does, in fact, invite comparisons with Bernard Shaw's classic Pygmalion. Like Eliza Doolittle, Rita is uneducated and from the working classes, but alert and intelligent. During her tutorials, Rita becomes a different person, gradually liberating herself from the limitations of her background, family and marriage. She exchanges work at a hair salon for university courses, by and by mastering the objective way of approaching literary texts and acquires the relevant terminology for passing exams. Her teacher Frank, like Professor Higgins in Pygmalion, spends months educating Rita and falls in love with her, but is finally appalled by the Frankenstein he has created. For Rita has gained an education and with it more choice in life, but in the process has lost the innocence, the spontaneity, and the dependence on him that so attracted Frank to her in the first place. Although its background is education, the basic theme of Educating Rita, is human relations.

If you want to read the play in a 10th or 11th form, then you would also be interested in the York Notes:


amazon.de York Notes for GCSE: Educating Rita
by
Tony Rawdin
amazon.de


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