Growing up involves change. Change happens to everyone, physically and mentally and it can happen at any time. As a person grows up they enter another phase of their life and they need to take their place in society. I will be talking about the play educating Rita by Willy Russel and relating it to the movie pretty woman by Garry marshal. In educating Rita, Rita wants to change.
She is being pressured by her husband Denny, to stay the same “he’s blind, he doesn’t want to see”. He’s happy living in the same old suburb watching the same old BBC programs, whereas Rita wants to discover herself.
This discovery comes in the form of education. She wants to learn and she chooses frank as her teacher.
Frank has problems of his own. He likes to drink and has self esteem issues not wanting to be Rita’s tutor. Russell’s use of humour, as well as literary allusions, help explore both Rita and franks’ personal growth and symbiotic relationships as they move into respective new worlds. Similarly, Vivian and Edward in Garry marshals pretty woman both find themselves on a path to new experiences.
The changes all of these characters undergo result in personal growth and a new awareness of the world around them Rita’s transformation teaches her “better songs to sing”. When we first meet Rita in the play, she struggles to open a door into franks study symbolising her entry into an unknown world. Frank takes on the role of sculptor and helps create a new woman, who does not feel a part of her family’s society: “ive been realising for ages that I was y’know slightly out of step. ” Rita feels constricted by her husband Denny and the brand of humour that signifies her class attitudes and beliefs systems.
For example, when discussing literature with frank, her ignorance is evident in comments such as: Howards end… sounds filthy, doesn’t it? ” Frank is intrigued by rita’s ebullience and thirst for knowledge as it is in direct contrast to the tedious and seemingly meaningless teaching courses and students he has become bored with over the years, ritas need for education inspires franks own transformation; to him rita “Is the first breathe of fresh air” he has seen in years.
His restrictive world has become a cycle of alchol and self-loathing in cynical and self absorbed failure to row and develop. Rita and franks teacher/pupil relationship reverses after ritas transformation, offering them both opportunities for a new phase in their lives. Whilst rita grows intellectually and emotionally, gradually overcoming insecurities, her earlier ignorance is replaced by confidence and insight. Frank has become a crucial educational portal into a different existence.
Ritas transformation leads her onto new pathways that allow her insight into franks world and a new perspective on her own world, she becomes a “half-castle”.
A pivotal scene after rita feels she cant join franks dinner party: “I saw y’all through the window… an’ I couldn’t come in. ” the poignant scene in the pub with her mother, “who was cryin’ because we could sing better songs than those. ” Russells metaphor underscores ritas insistent desires to move away from her old world. Simarlaly, garry marshalls protagonists, Vivian ward and Edward lewis, of pretty woman, also experience new pathways that result in new choices and personal growth.
Edward is also “dr Frankenstein” moulding and transforming Vivian, who is exposed to new ideas and societies. Like rita, vivians dialogue clearly places her in a class that is uneducated and lacking in culture. Her first experience of an opera results in an inappropriate response: “ it was so good, I also peed my pant! ” although bright and attractive like rita, her development as a person was severely restricted by her expectations. Working as a prostitute she is cultivated by Edward into a beautiful woman. Edward recognised that she “could be so much more”.
To Edward she is noticed, an antidote to numbing superficiality of her society.
Like rita, Vivian is shown a world that is far-removed from the current social sphere. Whilst rita is an academic world of literature, Vivian is shown a world of power and money. At first, Edward shapes her into a model of his society but Vivian rebels, insisting she is not “some little toy”. While russel employs the Frankenstein motif, garry marshal creates a fairy tale world of riches and ruthless consumerism that Vivian eventually finds uperficial. This is vivians turning point when Edward goes too far in his control over his creation: “ive never had anyone make me feel more and cheap as you made me feel today.
” Like rita, Vivian has an impact on Edward and transforms him from ruthless and controlling character into a self-aware and worthwile person. Ritas metaphoric haircut for frank can be compared to vivians encouragement of Edward to remove his shoes and socks and walk on the grass barefoot. Edwards life has been transformed.
In both educating rita and pretty woman, all 4 protagonists undergo transformation that lead to new pathways of self-discovery and re-evaluation.
The teacher/pupil relationship in russles play alludes to the allusion of mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, results in the creation of 2 characters whos old worlds are irrevocably changed by their new experiences and choices now available to them. This transformation also occurs in the fairy tale world of Vivian and Edward in pretty woman, when they “rescue” each other and change their lives. Both composers have achieved their aims through the use of humour, symbolism and literary allusions.