For a person to belong into a certain group, class or society, they must learn to fit in with that certain group, class or society and learn the rituals, language, behaviour responsibilities and culture. The sense of belonging to one of these social groups gives one a sense of belonging, and cancels out the feeling of exclusion and isolation. The journey into fitting into these groups can be a challenging task, which involves class clashes and other obstacles. Through the study of Educating Rita, we see the benefits of belonging, but contrasting them with the negatives in belonging.
In order to fit in to a new class, one must learn the aspirations, culture, interests and language, otherwise they will not be able to communicate and feel the sense of belonging to the new class. In Educating Rita, the struggle Rita goes through in order to transforms her old self, into a new and improved Rita, shows us that in order to belong to a social class one must first have self-actualization, knowing what their purpose and aspirations are in life, in order to pursue the correct class for them. This is the problem that Rita has from the beginning of the play, the lack of self-actualization causes her the excessive want to change and to fit into the higher social class. Rita’s epiphany only comes towards the end of the play, but the struggles and obstacles that lead to the epiphany show us the importance of self-actualization.
Throughout the play, we can clearly outline the differences between the two social classes, the working-class and the middle-class. These differences in language, culture, aspirations and rituals cause the obstacles to fit in. The task that Rita is pursuing is a very challenging one, that may not even be achieved. From the beginning of the play we see the struggles she is going to have, when she struggles to open the door. This is symbolic to the struggles and obstacles she will face during the process of trying to belong. The difference between language and education is shown when Frank is discussing the book Howard’s End, and Rita’s lack of education leads to the misunderstanding of the book’s title, and mocks the pun.
The ambition and desire to belong into the higher social class is caused because of the lack of self-actualization. When Frank asks Rita why she has enrolled into the class, she answer, “I wanna know… Everything”, this shows her lack of understanding about her own ambitions and aspirations, and shows that she is still looking for something to fulfil and enrich her life. The disproportionate use of tag questions suggests Rita’s lack of confidence, which reflects on her lack of self-actualization.