The Way of Life Frank Represents Compared to Rita’s
Rita is seeking a better way of living her life and Frank representsthe life style she wishes to live. She understands she is of a workingclass background, and wants to be more cultured. Rita wants moremeaning to her life. She wants to know the right things to say andwhat wine to buy, the type of attributes she admires in Frank, andpeople similar to him. She does not want to be just a housewife andmother, the two exact things Denny her husband wants her to be inorder that she fits in with the rest of their society. He tries tocontrol her and prevent her from learning, he burns her books andconstantly nags at her to come off the pill so that she can have achild and settle down, just like everyone else they know. Denny’sideas are evident when he says;
‘There’s a time for education. An’ it’s not when y’ twenty-six an’married.’ Basically she has to make a choice between her education orher family, because as she changes to become a more sophisticated andeducated woman, she widens the gap between her and the people in herold life, them being ignorant and uncultured.
First of all, it is noticeable that because of Rita’s working classbackground, one particular quality of hers is her lack ofself-consciousness, which prevents her from being prudish.
This is revealed in Act 1 Scene 1 when Rita comments on Frank’spicture on the wall;
“Look at those tits,” she says bluntly, within minutes of meeting hernew tutor. Frank, having had a middle class upbringing is embarrassedby her frank observation. He has the good judgment to realise that onfirst being acquainted with someone this kind of comment is not reallyappropriate, whereas Rita is almost like a child, not having theexpected amount of subtlety and the sense to be discreet. Thesequalities are what hinders Rita from becoming more like Frank.
However, it is this type of behaviour which draws Frank to Rita, hefinds her new, unique, and original because she does not follow theunspoken rule of how to behave on meeting a stranger. In Act 1 Scene 1he describes her as;
“The first breath of air that’s been in this room for years.”
He views his life as dull and stale, Rita stepping in begins to makehis life seem more interesting, she livens it up.
On becoming more educated, Rita also has to leave behind a positiveaspect of her old life, a close-knit community with close links.