Rita feels trapped by what he thinks are choices, however, saying that they aren’t real choices.Frank invites her to a dinner party Julia is hosting, but Rita doesn’t attend.She announces that she’s there for tutoring because she’ll be entering school once again. He tells her he’ll be headed to the pub, and then begins to speak with Rita. She points out a nude painting and jokes with Frank, who seems fascinated by her.
She calls herself Rita after the author of her favorite book, .
She admits that her husband isn’t happy about her desire to improve herself and that she feels like she doesn’t want to be part of the ignorant masses anymore.
He wants her to produce real criticism, but this is difficult for her to do.
She read a Forster book that Frank mentioned but couldn’t get into it because Forster mentioned that he hated poor people. Rita asks Frank if he is married, and he says that he was once.
As they continue their lessons, Franks world-weariness begins to show, and he is more down than up. In Act III, we see Rita rushing in late because of a talkative customer.
He says that he wouldn’t hide so much from his girlfriend if she were more like Rita. Frank doesn’t care, but he mentions that her latest essay is rather short and that he has questions.She tells him that Denny, her husband, doesn’t like for her to do the essays at home.They talk about culture, and Rita insists that the working class has no culture.The play opens with Rita, a hairdresser and working class woman from Liverpool.She goes to the office of Frank, a washed-up academic with a drinking problem.Somewhere, she started to wonder if there was more to life.She writes an essay on her favorite book, but Frank criticizes it saying that it was too subjective.Frank is initially the 'dominant male' with more knowledge and experience than Rita; he is the well-educated and confident lecturer to whom Rita comes to for help to become educated.By the end of the play the roles are reversed, with Rita as the dominant educated character, with every option available to her, whereas Frank, who has turned to drink, is barely able to hold down his job.As Rita progresses, Russell uses a range of dramatic techniques and tensions between the two characters to explore themes of the personal, class, relationships, gender, dependence, superiority and education.This produces an effective and dramatic piece with clear character and plot development.