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The following notes are a starting point for you to look at some of the issues that are raised in Russell's play.You should remember that they are not intended to be set in concrete. How do you think each character would answer that question - what is a 'real' life? Rita wants to be educated because she says 'I wanna know'.The change is now inevitable when she decides 'that's why I'm staying'By the end of the first act we see that Rita has burned her boats - she will give up everything that Frank finds so refreshing about her - her spontaneity and her enthusiasm - and become an academic scholar - just like him.
She is now a 'real' student, but not, in Frank's eyes, the 'real' woman she was.
A/S requires you to have your own opinions and to know that there is more than one way of looking at a text. Why do you think he has become a disillusioned, tired alcoholic now? Rita is very literal - takes things at face value, but has lots of 'native wit' - she knows more about real life than Frank does. She knows she isn't 'educated' yet and dimly realises what 'education' is, but her perceptions are stereotypical (see p 182 where we see her idea about public school) although her knowledge of uneducated people is very sharp. 173 and 174, also p 177)Look at her speech on p 183 about how 'you've got to be' and when she decides on 'a change in yourself' This is really sharp insight - an 'educated' person would say this, maybe using different language -so she IS 'educated' , just not formally yet - that's an important point to make.
Feel free to make your own mind up about the play and what it says to you. He seems to be cut off from 'real' life, unlike Rita, who is a very practical woman. Knows how people work, especially her own type of people. Her language is crude and 'uneducated' but what she says is exceptionally intelligent.
Franks 'game' of university education is just that - a game.
It has little to do with 'real' life, but ironically it is the way many people qualify for a place in life.