Although Rita knows that intellectual enlightenment is important, to Rita, education provides much more to her in Willy Russell’s Educating Rita. Rita’s education is not restricted to scholastic learning alone, her transformation from the uneducated Rita to the educated Susan is all encompassing. Rita sees and understands the importance of being well educated, but for Rita, education helps her to overcome her background and break away from the traditional role expected of a woman in the 1970s. Rita has set herself on a course of self-discovery, she has a determination to control her own life and make her own choices. Rita believes it is education that will give her these choices. Rita knows ...view middle of the document...
Rita feels that through education she can break away from the traditional expectations placed on a working class woman in the 70s. Pressures and influences on Rita are mostly from her family, in particular her husband.
“I told him I’d only have a baby when I had choice. But he doesn’t understand.” (Act 1, Scene 5, p34)
Another influence on Rita to become educated and resist conforming to the stereotypical working class woman is Rita’s mother:
“…when I looked round me mother had stopped singin’, an’ she was cryin’…I said , ‘Why are y’ cryin’, Mother?’ She said, ‘Because- because we could sing better songs than those.’…And that’s why I came back. And that’s why I’m staying.” (Act 1, Scene 7, p46)
Rita came to believe that she wasn’t just doing this for herself, she was doing it for all the women like her mother who never had the chance to make something of themselves, who were forced to fill the traditional ‘house-wife role’.
Education is Rita’s ‘journey of self discovery’ to fill the void in her life. This path of self-discovery is central to the play, through education Rita searches for the answers to life:
“I’ve begun to find me-an’ it’s great y’ know…” (Act 1, Scene 7, p33)
Rita has a strong determination to control her own life by making her own choices and this is what she believes education will provide her with. Rita feels the need for confidence and the ability to gain independence to make her own choices. By the end of the play Rita knows that education has given her the freedom of choice:
“…I had a choice. I chose, me. Because of what you’d given me I had a choice.” (Act 2, Scene 7, p72)
The power of choice is very important to Rita, as it is the basis to all her motives for becoming educated. Rita feels that education is...