Independent Rita Essay

898 words - 4 pages

Why would a woman want to be educated? Why would a woman give up the opportunity to stay at home and be a housewife day in and day out raising children? How could a woman be as smart and as thirsty for knowledge as a man could? All of these questions are raised and answered in Educating Rita by Willy Russell. Rita is a young married woman aching to learn about literature, not for the sole purpose of learning it but to be able to experience it and live it as she has never lived anything else before. Constraints from her jealous husband as well as her father, and even her mentor, force Rita to fight against the stereotype that a woman?s place is at home in the kitchen, not in the classroom. Rita?s refusal to be coddled by both Frank, her professor, and Denny, her husband, creates a space for her own intellectual grow and signification. Rita wants choices: she wants to cross boundaries and she believes that an education will provide those choices.Denny is a good husband to Rita, but a simple-minded husband at the same time. He does not need books, plays, or anything intellectually stimulating in order to be happy. Denny does not understand Rita?s want and need to go to college and strongly opposes the idea. He wants to remodel the house and start a family. He tells her numerous times throughout the play that he wants her to quit school and have children because school is silly and pointless to go to if all you are going to do is learn how to read books; women are supposed to be having babies at her age anyway. These notions rise to the surface and burst out in the open when Denny discovers that Rita has been continuing to take birth control without his knowledge. He goes into a fury yelling at her while ripping and burning her precious books. Rita leaves Denny because she cannot be with someone who believes that women are subordinate to men and who will not support her dreams. Denny is stuck in the old-fashion masculine ideals as to how a woman Rita?s age ?should? act.It is just as evident that Rita?s father supports this philosophy as well. At one point in the play, he asks Rita if she is seriously thinking of pursuing her career as a student and waiting until she is thirty to have children. Her father thinks it is preposterous that she would even think such a thing: how she could be so awful to Denny by not having his children now. Rita simply tells her father that being educated and being able to study literature is more...

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