Rita is doing an Open University degree on literature. She is doing this course as she likes reading, but she has never read any serious literature, only pulp fiction (such as Ruby Fruit Jungle). She changes her name from Susan to Rita, because Rita Mae Brown was the author of Ruby Fruit Jungle. Rita wants to learn, but she just does not know how to due to her lack of formal education. Rita left school with no qualifications and became a hairdresser. Her husband, Denny does not want her to do the course.
Rita says. “He hates me comin’ here”. That is what Denny’s frightened of, he thinks Rita and him will grow apart if Rita gets the education she has longed for. However, after seeing Frank, her tutor, Rita thinks it makes her stronger as a person. Denny believes if Rita has a baby everything will be all right, then he can have Rita to himself and through this, she will not want anything else. Instead of gaining an education, he wants her to go to the Pub with him and his mates, being the highlight of his week.
Rita comes back from Summer School, in Act 2 Sc1, a changed woman.. As an audience, we see this through the stage directions. At the beginning of each Act, Rita has dramatic entrances. In Act 1, Rita rushes in swearing and shouting about the sticking door. She says, “It’s that stupid bleedin’ handle on the door, you wanna get it fixed! ” However, in Act 2, Rita twirls on the spot to show off her new clothes, we see this through stage directions. She is dressed in new, second hand clothes after her trip to the summer school.
This, the audience sees as a physical change in her character. Since Rita’s return from summer school, her attitudes have changed, she given up smoking; we see this from her refusal to except the duty free cigarettes that Frank bought for her from his holiday. In my opinion I think Rita has stopped smoking to try and fit in with the new friends she has met at Summer School, Rita had never believed she could be friends with other students, she thought they were different from her and Rita always believed they were better then she was.
The dramatic change to Rita’s ability to answer Frank back as an equal is shown in Act 2 Sc 1, by the use of an analogy. When Rita is comparing a room to a plant because they both need air. Frank gets sarcastic, goes a bit too far, and starts saying, “Let’s get a watering-can and water the carpet; bring in two tons of soil and a bag of fertilizer. Before Rita used to agree with Frank and never had the ability to interact with Frank. Rita’s state of mind, she is very happy and excited and wants to tell frank all about Summer School.
Rita tells Frank about her new friends she met at summer school, how much fun she had all the things she did such as: Went all round London, got drunk and bought all sorts of second-hand gear in markets. Trish is Rita’s new flat mate, she moved in just before Summer School, and Frank new nothing about it. Where as before Frank new everything when it happened. Rita copies people’s actions and tries to act like them. She used to be very fond of Frank, but know she has met some new people she has moved away from Frank.
Near the end of the play, Trish tries to top her self, and this was somebody Rita looked upon. I believe Rita’s relationships follow a pattern. Rita’s attitude to work has improved, while she was at Summer School in a lecture a professor asked if anyone had a question, and Rita stood up in front of about 2000 people and asked him a question on Chekhov.
This showed she had grown confidence, because before she would not have done that apart from ask Frank. Rita is very eager to learn and asks Frank, What are we doin’ this term? Let’s do a dead good poet”. This quote shows Rita really wants to learn, as before Summer School she only wanted to ask Frank about his life, and talk to him about her life. Frank chooses to do Blake; he does not know Rita did this at Summer School, and Rita recites from memory the poem. Frank says, “You weren’t supposed to do Blake at Summer School, were you? Rita replies saying, “Nah, we had this lecturer though, he was a real Blake freak.
He asks then, “You covered all the songs of Innocence and Experience? Rita acts all cleave and says, “Of course; you don’t do Blake without doing innocence and experience, do y”? Frank at this point is very upset. Because he wanted to teach Rita, Blake and he did not get the chance to do so, he had the whole term sorted; he feels Rita does not appreciate the work he put in to try to teach Rita Blake. He was really looking forward to teaching Rita something new, and did not know she was going to study Blake at Summer School.
The Changes in Frank and Rita in Act Two
- Length: 729 words (2.1 double-spaced pages)
- Rating: Excellent
The Changes in Frank and Rita in Act Two
How does Russell present the changes in Frank and Rita in act 2,
Rita before: “Its that stupid bleed’n handle on that door, you wanna
get it fixed.” Rita now: “Frank, you’re not in any fit state for a
tutorial” Frank before: “It’s supposed to embrace a more comprehensive
studentship.” Frank now: “Pissed? I was glorious! I fell off the
rostrum twice.” As well as these changes, I will illustrate many other
dramatic changes and role reversals that have taken place between the
characters of Rita and Frank in the last few scenes of the play.
Firstly with the stage direction “RITA, WHO IS SITTING COMFORTABLY IN
THE ARMCHAIR.” Russell has shown us that Rita is now the educated
woman she first set out to be. This is clearly portrayed with the word
“ARMCHAIR” as this object symbolises cleverness itself, as well as
this by Rita being “COMFORTABLE” in this environment it shows the
audience that Rita has settled into her new life style. Because of
this they would be impressed, as Rita has gone from a common
uneducated person, to a highly educated and a very unique human being.
Russell's message here to us all is that you can achieve many things
if you just put your mind to it.
Also with Frank who is outside his own room, Russell shows him as a
very drunk, vulgar individual, “Sod them, no fuck them fuck them eh
Rita.” Firstly this shows the main role reversal of Rita and Frank.
Rita has become a highly educated character while Frank has become a
common abusive yob. So by this the audience would be disappointed in
Frank who is a professor that is thought upon as polite, well mannered
and gracious, this is a classic stereotype. Russell also suggests that
because of this certain craves in life can change your attitude (e.g.
alcohol) and make you commit things you may regret.
As well as this, with the quote “You didn’t tell me…” Russell presents
Frank as an obsessed lover. Which is a completely different register
instead of the expected teacher pupil register. Also as well as being
obsessed, it shows the audience that he wants to be with her always
and seems to never want her out of his sight. The audience would feel
uncomfortable as a teacher is so concerned by a pupil’s social life.
So by this I imagine that Russell is suggesting that fondness for
someone can come in many forms that are not thought upon at first.
To add to this, Frank uses this following quote after has offered his
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Rita Frank Role Reversal New Life Presents Wanna Direction Regret Highly Stereotype
lifetime work to Rita to criticise. With “Me…” Russell uses the
shortest sentence in the play to create a huge effect on the audience.
This is emotive language by Frank portrays his loneliness as a
professor. This also creates imagery of a lonely depressed person who
lives a lifeless life all by himself. The audience, as a result of
this emotion would feel sorry for him as teaching career has lead him
to a lonesome life. So by this Russell brings across a message that a
high education and plenty of money may not lead you to happiness.
Lastly Russell uses the quote “You can hardly bear to spend a moment
her, can you?” This said to show the audience that without Rita, Frank
is nothing, so as a result he is using powerful persuasive and emotive
language to make her stay with him without suggesting the idea too
much. With this Russell suggests that if you spend your whole life
caring and protecting something and it breaks, you end up with nothing
left as you turned away from everything else to care for it. So this
is just the same situation as Rita and Frank. The audience would feel
sorry for Frank, as without Rita in his life he has nothing.
Russell ends the play with Rita’s dreams coming true. She is now
considered educated. And for Frank, well sadly he remains a lonesome
alcoholic although in Rita’s eyes he is thought upon as a special and
unique teacher and life long friend. But we can say that both the
characters of Rita and Frank, through their special and mostly amusing
experience together have learnt many valuable skills and lessons that
will remain within them forever.