Exploring Transitions in Educating Rita Essay

Published: 2021-06-29 02:10:16
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Category: Drama

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Restrictions often alter the way in which individuals transition from one world to another. Willy Russell’s “Educating Rita” exemplifies as to how this transition takes place. The entering of new phases of life can be portrayed through the protagonist Rita in her journey to become ‘educated’ and therefore become free of all the limitations in her life. ‘The Blind Side’ by John Lee Hancock is also a lucid exemplar of transitions many individuals undergo through Michael Oher along with Leigh Ann Tuohy as they both enter very contrasting environments, in order become who they were always sought out to be.
Although transitions are challenging and confronting, individuals are able to overcome challenges in order to change, in some cases, for the better. Within ‘Eductaing Rita’, all basis of transition are undergone in order for Rita complete an entire transition. Not only does Rita just change, there is an obvious theme of restrictions, limitations/goals, fear/risks, mentor/pathways and in the end reward/consequences. Having experienced all of these aspect, we are able to grasp a deep understanding as to how restrictions alter the way in which individuals transition.
Rita is portrayed as uneducated & from a lower class from the outset. “Do ya’ get a lot like me”, is a depiction of Rita’s status within society as her constant use of slang portrays, juxtaposed with those at the univesity. Rita is willing to become educated and will not let any restrictions alter her determination to be educated which in turn, will allow her to be ‘free’. Through Rita’s journey, accompanied by determination to be like her mentor Frank, we are able to establish Rita’s eagerness to conform as Frank asks, “What would you like to know? and Rita replies with, “Everything”. Rita’s keenness to become educated is portrayed through the repetition of the question & has forced her to lose all sense of individuality & uniqueness, in turn, becoming someone she is not. Frank is hesitant to to continue to teach Rita as he wishes for her to retain her uniqueness in order to stand out from all the other ‘educated’ students. “It wouldn’t look out of place with any of these”, justifies the fact that Rita is beginning to lose her singularity.
Rita is seen to be the “first breathe of fresh air”, if she continues to become educated in order to pass exams, she will no longer stand out from the pack, leaving her within the footsteps of every other student & consequently not learning anything at all. Frank has not changed by the conclusion of the play as he does not value anything in the first place therefore had nothing to lose although Rita’s transition did effect Frank and his actions. Frank did not value anything, always hiding his flaws behind the facade of education, the only time we are able to realise that Frank has found a source of purpose in life is through Rita.
As Frank is waiting for Rita by the window, the stage directions imply that he had been in early in order assist Rita in becoming educated. Frank does not even value his marriage as over the break, he is not phased by their separation, only of Rita’s inability to stay unique. By the end of the film, Frank still ends up valuing nothing yet has undergone the stages of transitions due to the journey he & Rita had embarked on. We are able to identify that the complete transition has taken place within Rita’s world through, “I might go to France. I might go to me mother’s. I might even have a baby I’ll make a decision, I’ll choose”.
The repetition of ‘I might’ reinforces the fact that Rita is now in the position she had always wished to be in, a position where she is able to be ‘free’ and have the ability to make her own decisions. Furthermore, Rita’s confronting and challenging experiences also have quite a significant impact on the life of Denny, Rita’s partner. The theme of restrictions is prominent throughout the play & is prevalent from the very beginning. “I’m comin’ in, aren’t I? It’s that stupid bleedin’ handle on the door”, the metaphor within this quote is accusing the door handle of being a barrier & ultimately restricting Rita from becoming educated.
At times, Rita can also be her own restictions as she be-littles herself through the metaphors ‘proper students’ and ‘real students’, as Rita does not feel as though she belongs, this is how to she refers to her peers who are on the exact same level as her. Additionally, Denny is the main perpetrator of the main restrictions holding Rita back from ‘becoming free’, the constant use of stereotypes and negativity towards education really provides Rita with a challenging situation. “Denny gets dead narked if i work at home. He doesn’t like me doin’ this. I can’t be bothered arguin’ with him. , this is a clear as to how Rita is restricted at home, not being able to complete any additional work at home. It gets to a stage where Denny can no longer live with Rita & her education, as Rita enters the university with a suitcase. “I got home from work, he’d packed me case. He said either stop comin’ here an’ come off the pill or i could get out” Denny will no longer tolerate Rita’s education as he is afraid of Rita become more powerful than he is. To Denny, Rita should be staying at home, providing for the kids he wishes to have as “Thats what a 26 year old should be doin”.
Similarly, challenging and confronting situations must be undergone in order for individuals to transition into new phases of life. Michael Oher, the protagonist within ‘The Blind Side’ is the perfect exemplar of someone who has overcome various challenges in order to venture into a ‘new world’. Michael’s past and harsh upbringing is reflected upon by flashbacks containing long shots, mid shots and close ups of himself passing through a deprived and rundown environment, allows the audience to juxtapose where Michael has come from as to where he is going to.
Michael Oher had made the complete transformation into the Tuohy, not legally but on a personal level as S. J asks, “Would like to become a part of this family? ” and Mike replies with “I kinda thought i already was”. This is symbolic of the transformation which Michael has made, coming from the slums of the city to a closed estate. As Leigh Anne asks this question the camera pans with a close up of each member of the family with each making a nodding notion. This notion is a reminder to the audience and Michael himself as to how welcome he has become within the Tuohy family.
The final technique which is extremely significant to the transition is when the whole family is seen seated at the table with Leigh Anne in the background, this is symbolic of Michael seeking and finding his identity through various simple gifts. These simple gifts not only change Michael’s life positively as shown within a close up of Michael’s face at the thanksgiving dinner exhibit Michaels happiness within his ‘new world’. Not only has this impacted the life of Michael, a transition can be seen within Leigh Anne.
This development is portrayed at Leigh Anne’s lunch with her ‘white’ friends. At this moment they comment, ‘‘You’re changing that boy’s life’’, Mrs Tuohy replies, “No. He’s changing mine. ”. This is a significant shift in beliefs as Leigh Anne was questioning whether she was to help Michael and now it is proven that they have both benefited from the experience. Not only has Oher transitioned into a new world full of happiness, love and joy Mr & Mrs Tuohy have developed in such a way which has made them better persons, allowing others to prosper through their simple yet meaningful actions.
All in all, although transitions can be hard to overcome, it has been made quite obvious that anything is possible through the hurdling of numerous challenging and confronting situations that all individuals must overcome. Not only do these transitions affect the individual, they tend to have a significant effect on the people around them allowing them to overcome the same confronting & challenging obstacles in order to transition into their new world.

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