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New Stages of Experience Essay

New stages of experience often bring about growth and change in one’s life. As one experiences new phases in their life, change is an implicit part of moving ‘into the world’. This is clearly demonstrated in the play Educating Rita, by Willy Russell, where Rita’s growth and change comes about with her education and experiences in her social, working-class life .

Growth and change often comes about when new stages of experience allow a transition ‘into the world’. This is illustrated in Educating Rita as Rita grows with knowledge and changes as a result of moving into the world of education and middle-class society.

Rita sees education as a means to an end that enables her to break free from her societal restrictions as a female. It allows her to have choice and not conform to the normal working class life. Education frees Rita from her dissatisfying life which prevents her from changing, growing and moving into another world. ‘You know what I learn…about art an’ literature, it feeds me inside.’

Stage directions allow us to see this growth and change in Rita. We first see Rita struggling to open the door to Frank’s office, a barrier to her new stage of experience and moving into the world. We continue to see Rita burst through the door in Act One and wandering around the room showing her enthusiasm and curiosity towards education.

Before Rita goes to summer school, we find her still struggling with her confidence and transition into the world of education. It is demonstrated in her essays, especially of Peer Gynt, where she believes one simple sentence, ‘Do it on the radio’, can answer the given question. The gap between Rita and Frank also demonstrates the amount of growth and change required for her transition into the world. Russell uses humour to demonstrate this gap where both Rita and Frank find it difficult to understand one another especially with Rita’s colloquial language ‘oh sod it’, ‘off me cake’.

When Rita returns from summer school Frank is quite surprised at Rita’s confidence and progression. Rita not only has become more confident but she has bought new second hand clothes, a symbol of her growth into the world. We are able to see this change in Rita as she fought her old-self at summer school when approached by a professor in regards to Ferlinghetti. Instead of Rita persisting to say ‘Only when its served with Parmesan cheese’ she holds back and replies with ‘Actually I’m not too familiar with American poets’.

This is a clear indication that Rita has changed her ways to move into the world of education and her new life. Rita’s confidence in herself is demonstrated as she tells Frank how often she stood up during lectures and asked questions constantly. Further growth in Rita is seen when she quotes Blake, to Frank’s surprise, and it is evident that Rita has come so far.

As Rita discovers she now has choice and has achieved this through education, she feels she has ‘found a better song’ to sing. Frank argues the fact Rita has not found a better song she has simply ‘found a different song’.

With new stages of experience, growth and change are brought about in individuals. It is evident in Educating Rita, that with experiencing a new stage in one’s life, growth and change are brought about, both with positive and negative outcomes.

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