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The Development Of Frank And Of Rita English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 3502 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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At the beginning of the play, the audience see Frank in a sort of interesting way. The fact that Frank is looking at the bookshelf leaves us wanting to know what will happen next. Frank, at this point, begins talking to himself “Where the hell…? Eliot?” this shows us that he is desperately trying to find a particular book, but this is not true as he pulls out the book and pulls out a bottle of whisky behind it. All of a sudden, the audience’s impression of Frank changes from someone who is obsessed in reading, to someone who likes to hit the bottle.

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As the scene progresses, Frank is talking to Julia (Frank’s partner). We understand that Frank hates teaching in the Open University “Oh God, why did I take this on?” From this, it seems as if Frank regret his choice in taking up this job. Frank answers his own question, “Yes, I suppose I did take it on to pay for the drink”. This shows that Frank had taken this job in order to pay for his drink. We see that Frank’s important thing in his life is to drink.

When Rita entered Frank’s room, the audience can see that Frank does not fully understand nature. When Rita said that the poster is “very erotic”, Frank says: “Actually I don’t think I’ve looked at it for about ten years, but yes, I suppose it is.” From this, we learn that Frank does not really appreciate life.

Later on in Act 1 Scene 1, Frank describes Rita as “the first breath of fresh air that’s been in this room for years.” This shows That Frank is bored of teaching student in contrast to her. He is interested in teaching new students. At the end of the scene, we see that Frank states about his feelings as a teacher in Open University. Frank describes himself as an “appalling teacher” and does not “like the hours” at the Open University. This shows the audience, how he does not like his job in spite of the fact that there is a “breath of fresh air” and that he feels Rita deserves the likes of someone better than himself.

In the beginning of Act 1 Scene 2, we see Rita oiling Frank’s door, Willy Russell highlights that Frank is very lazy and that Rita is sort of doing everything for him. This makes the audience believe that Frank does not really care about the environment.

We have seen that Frank does not really enjoy teaching students at the Open University. But, as scene two concludes. We see that Frank becomes interested in teaching and begins to talk about the way in which Rita should concentrate on the reason she has come to the university. “Yes. And you’re here for an education. Come on Forster!” The audience are given the impression that Rita has already started persuading Frank as he now has a reason to come to work and be excited about it.

While there are many ways in which Frank’s character is shown throughout the beginning of the play, the same goes with Rita.

We first see Rita when she comes raging through the door and tells Frank to get the “bleedin’ handle on the door. You wanna get it fixed”. The audience reacts to Rita by noticing that she is an arrogant person. We also get the feeling that Rita is very confident. But this is not true when she said to “pack the course in” and later saying “I’m not, y’know confident like…” in response to a question Frank asked about her willingness to learn.

At the beginning of the play, the audience see that Rita wants to be a genius. Frank asks Rita “why did you enrol in first place?” after which Rita answers that she wants to “know everything”. We know that she is eager for knowledge, when she asked, “What does assonance mean?”, “See I wanna discover meself first.”

At the beginning of the play, we also learn that Rita is inexperienced in a number of ways. The first clue of Rita’s inexperience is through the quote from Frank: “Its’ the sort of poetry you can’t understand – unless you happen to have a detailed knowledge of the literary references.” Likewise, Rita seems to be “under the impression that all books are literature” and so Frank explains to her why that is not true. Her inexperience is also shown in the beginning of the play when Rita says that she has a “lot to learn” and that she describes herself as “dead ignorant”.

As the play, progresses, Frank does not look as if he has changed much at all. This is shown from what Rita says in Act 2 Scene 2, “Just that I thought you’d started reforming yourself.” This shows that Rita has not really influenced Frank. An example of him not changing is when Rita asks him, “Are you still on this stuff?” after which Frank admits to continue drinking: “I need the drink to help me step delicately through it.”

At the beginning of the play, we saw many ways in which Frank’s relationship with Julia was not really exotic. Frank then says that Julia would be upset and jealous if Frank were to go to the theatre with Rita. He says “it would be deaf and dumb breakfasts for a week.” This gives us the impression that Frank cares about Julia and does not want to upset her. However, after his visit to France, Frank’s attitude towards Julia changes as, he talks to Rita about his trip to France, Frank says “Julia left me”, in a “matter of fact tone”.

We can see that Frank’s character tells us how secure he really is. At the beginning of the play, Frank felt secure, but throughout the play, it suggests that he is very vulnerable. The first sign that we see his lack of confidence when in the end of Act 1 Scene 8 Frank says that he “doesn’t know if he wants” to teach her, because he says that what Rita possesses is very precious. Frank likes the way Rita is at the moment; this can be shown when Frank invites Rita to his house, early in the middle of the play and when Frank sweet-talks Rita at the beginning. Frank uses many phrases to praise Rita, most of which aren’t taken seriously by Rita: “Ah, but Rita, if I was yours would I stop out for days?”; “What I’d actually like to do is take you by the hand and run out of this room forever”; Rita – why didn’t you walk in here twenty years ago?” After her visit to summer school and London, Frank says nothing.

At the beginning of the play, Frank is the only one, who has any influence on her. But, throughout the play, the number of people having influence on her has increased. Rita begins sharing a flat with a friend called Trish. Rita admires Trish and wants to be like her, as a result changing her accent to the one Trish has. She says that she want to “talk properly” Frank is angry that she has changed her accent. After Frank tells Rita to “stop it” Frank begins to see that Trish is having a major influence on her.

When Rita begins her friendship with the students at the university, Frank seems rather concerned about it. Rita says that she has “only been talkin’ to them for five minutes and he’s inviting me to go abroad with them all.” instantly Frank says that she “can’t go”. To prevent her going to France, Frank begins to make up excuses of how she cannot go, because of her exams. Rita, however, resists this and so Frank alters his excuse to how she cannot go because she has got her “results to wait for…” The audience see Frank’s fear about the matter through when he says “Is there much point in working towards an examination if you’re going to fall in love and set off for the South of…” This is unusual as Rita never mentioned about being in love. We see that Frank is a paranoid because he does not want Rita to go on the holiday with them and be influenced by then.

At the beginning of Act 1 Scene 5, the audience learn that Denny (Rita’s husband) has burnt all of Rita’s books because she had changed from how she was when he married her. Instead of trying for a baby, Rita wants to discover herself before doing so and that is precisely why Denny has acted in the way he did. Rita feels that she need to talk to Frank at the university rather than staying at home and fighting with Denny.

We see that Rita’s confidence is growing this is shown when Frank asked “Do you want to abandon this course?” and Rita says “No. No!” in a, determined way. This shows how her confidence has increased over her time at the Open University, and realising that being educated is more important than anything else.

In the end of Act 1 Scene 5 and the beginning of Act 1 Scene 6, the audience see that Rita is determined to explore new things. In the end of Act 1 Scene 5, we learn how keen Rita is to see a live play; “Well come on – hurry up – I’m dead excited. I’ve never seen a live play before.” It is shown also when she says: “I had to come an’ tell y’, Frank, last night, I went to the theatre! A proper one, a professional theatre.”

At the end of Act 1 Scene 6, Frank invites Rita to his house, but we realise that Rita has a couple of problems. Firstly, Rita is worried about the attendance of Denny and how he would react if he were to come. “Will you bring Denny?”; “(puzzled) all right.” after which Rita says, “What shall I wear?” This shows that Rita feels that she is different in terms of class. It means that someone who is in same class does not ask what kind of clothes they would be required to wear. Secondly, just asking Denny if he wanted to visit Frank’s house, Denny went mad and they “had a big fight about it.” Rita also says that the wine was a factor in her attendance. When Frank says that he wouldn’t mind if she’d “walked in with a bottle of Spanish plonk”, Rita then says that “It was Spanish” and this is amusing to some level as what Frank consider to be rubbish wine, is precisely what Rita had brought along.

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In Act 1 Scene 7 we see that Rita’s character is also the reason for her difference to Frank and his friends. Rita wants to be like them “I wanna talk seriously with the rest of you…” Rita then tells Frank about how she visited the pub. We see that Rita highlights about that she cannot fit in either two classes and says that she “can’t talk to the likes of them on Saturday” because she “can’t learn their language”, after which she describes herself as a “half-caste.”

At the beginning of Act 2 Scene 1, the audience realise that Rita has changed. We see that she “is dressed in new, second-hand clothes.” This shows that although the clothes are second-hand, they are new to her in terms of class difference. Rita begins to make friends with the students at the Open University. This is shown when Rita says, “For students they don’t half come out with some rubbish y’know” and when she says, “I’ve only been talkin’ to them for five minutes and he’s inviting me to go abroad with them all” this shows that there is a powerful friendship between them. This makes Rita that she is a middle-class Liverpudlian.

The audience see that Rita’s character changes in terms of how open she is it also changes in terms of how secure she is. After her visit to both summer school and London, we can see that she is increasingly secure when she says “I’m havin’ the time of me life; I am y’know…. I feel young, you know like them down there.” This makes Frank more insecure, and makes Rita more secure. Willy Russell keeps us interested by doing this.

At the beginning of the play, Rita’s response to a question about Peer Gynt is: “Do it on the radio.” Here she does not realise that expressing opinions do not exactly pass exams. As the play progresses we see that she has developed educationally. At the end of Act 2 Scene 2, Frank says that Rita’s essay “wouldn’t look out of place with” the other students’ and so Rita has therefore begun to realise that passing the exams are more important than opinions. We also see that she becomes educated when she delivers correctly a poem she learnt at summer school from memory.

Eventually, we learn about how Frank is at the end of the play and how he has changed from being the person he was earlier on.

At the beginning of Act 2 Scene 3, the audience are aware that Frank is drunk. We can see this from how he is swearing. He refers to his students as “mealy mouthed pricks”. He describes his lecture he had just given as the best lecture, because we are told that he had fallen of the rostrum.

At the beginning of the play, we saw how Frank really liked Rita for who she was and the fact that she was “a breath of fresh air” meant that she somewhat differed to the other students in the university. Later on though, we begin to see how insecure Frank becomes to a change in Rita’s class, as she moves towards the middle class, by making friends at the Open University. We can see a change in Frank’s character; at the beginning of the play Frank was flattering Rita, he now seems more hostile towards her.

After Rita begins talking about her essay on Blake, Frank states his view on how the essay is “not wrong” but he “doesn’t like it.” During Act 2 Scene 4, Frank is also made out bothered during a conversation regarding work places. When Rita talks about her change in work place, Frank then goes on to ask, “Is Mr.Tyson one of your customers?”, after which he says, “Perhaps – perhaps you don’t want to waste your time coming here anymore?”. Yet again, Frank is saying something that is not relevant to Rita’s words; Rita never mentioned anything such as working at the café full time – she has just said that she likes “to be with them”. Therefore, it can be said that Frank still seems bothered and somewhat insecure about Rita’s change in herself. In fact, Frank is so disappointed with how Rita has changed that he refers to himself “Mary Shelley”, writer of Frankenstein. Since he believes he has had the most influence over Rita, he is making a reference of himself here to Victor Frankenstein.

However, although Frank is increasing insecurity throughout both the middle and end of the play, just as the play ends. The insecurity is somehow destroyed. Instead of reacting in a hostile manner towards Rita in response to her statements about the students etc., Frank reacts in a way similar to how he did at the beginning of the play. When Rita says, “Tiger’s asked me to go down to France with his mob”, Frank says, “Will you?” as opposed to something of a more hostile nature. Whether it is because of his visit to Australia in the near future or just a change of heart, the bottom line is that Frank has now accepted Rita’s change. After Rita talks about her options to Frank, Frank reveals “a package hidden behind some of the books.” This is quite amusing, as it is usually his alcohol that is stashed away there. Even so, Frank takes down the package and says, “…it’s a dress really. I bought it some time ago – for erm – for an educated woman friend of mine.” The important aspect to this quote of Frank’s relates to how he “bought it…for an educated woman friend”. This shows that Frank feels that Rita has become more educated. At the end of the play, we also learn further changes Rita has undergone in comparison to earlier parts of the play.

The first indication of a change in Rita happens immediately in Act 2 Scene 3, whereby “Rita is sitting in the armchair by the window,” and “Frank enters.” This is ironic as it is usually Frank who is earliest but Rita has arrived earlier and we discover that wants to get “here early today” so that she can start “talking to some students down on the lawn”. This is an obvious change in her as we see how Rita has become highly influenced by the students and has become more of a middle class citizen than a working class one.

We see that Rita is now part of the middle class group and has learnt pretty much all there is need to know. “Don’t keep treatin’ me as though I’m the same as when I first walked in here” and “I can do without you” reveal how she is able to lead her life without any more knowledge required. But, it is not only Rita who feels she has become more educated it is the audience as well. In Act 2 Scene 3, after Frank says that her essay is “not wrong.”, Rita says, “You’re being subjective”, precisely what Frank said at the beginning and so reflects how Rita has become more educated in terms of language. A further sign of Rita’s improvement in education is seen in Act 2 Scene 5, after Rita comments on Frank’s poems. Rita says that if she had seen those poems when she first came in, she “wouldn’t have understood it” and that she “would have thrown it across the room and dismissed it as a heap of shit.” This short feature to the play is extremely helpful in understanding Rita’s change in education as an example is used here that indicates how Rita would have reacted to the same situation at the beginning of the play. Rita describes Rubyfruit Jungle as “hardly excellence” at the end of the play. This is a big difference to how she perceived it at the beginning of the play and so it shows of how educated she has become.

A further extremely important aspect to Rita’s change is shown right at the end of the play, whereby Rita considers her options in the near future. She says, “I dunno. I might go to France. I might go to me mother’s. I might even have a baby. I dunno. I’ll make a decision, I’ll choose. I dunno”. This shows us how Rita now has more choice and better options in choosing what she will do. At the beginning, we saw how determined she was to do the course and so that was pretty much her only option at the time. Now, however, having accomplished her targets, she now has much more of a choice in doing what she wishes.

Finally, as the play concludes, there is also some humour involved. After Rita says, “All I’ve ever done is take from you I’ve never given you anything”, Frank says, “That’s not true you’ve…” Before letting Frank finish his sentence, Rita intervenes and says, “…But there is. Come here, Frank…” From this, what immediately comes to mind is something dirty. However, instead, we discover that Rita is giving him a haircut and so this is amusing as Willy Russell changes our expectations of what is going to happen so vividly.

In conclusion, I feel that Rita has certainly changed for a number of reasons. Rita has become more educated while also changing into a middle-class person. In addition, it has also become obvious now that Rita has more choice in comparison with before. What’s more, Rita also has better choice, which is essential as that is what Rita aimed for, to some amount. Despite the fact that she has become less open and more serious over time at the Open University, Rita’s objective of “discovering herself” has been achieved.

While Rita’s development throughout the play is obvious, Frank’s seems to be there, sort of. At the beginning of the play, we saw how Frank was encouraged to come to work because of Rita as he regarded her as “a breath of fresh air”. However, during the middle of the play, we also saw how Frank began drinking more because of how insecure he felt. Frank now has a better choice in what he can do. Before, we saw how Frank needed to go to work in order to pay for his drink. Now however, he has the choice in whether he wishes to go to Australia or even commit suicide. The fact that he seems to be happy about going to Australia may also result in a further change in him this might eliminate his drinking addiction. Although it seems unlikely, Frank now has a reason to enjoy life.


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