The Transformation of Frank in Russell's Educating Rita

The Transformation of Frank in Russell's Educating Rita
Frank presents himself as a witty, sometimes ironic and sarcastic teacher, who is obviously dissatisfied with his life and despises his culture. He has been a poet once but failed before himself as he began to write poets, which would be acceptable to literary critics and could be studied by students. Consequently he has a low opinion of himself, also because he?s part of that establishment which he detests so much. Trying to escape from this world and to suppress his frustration, he drinks and puts on a cynical, ironic façade. It is her honesty, spontaneity and uniqueness that give him a sense of purpose or fulfilment in his teaching.
Rita?s appearance and her approach to literature are refreshing. Her reactions to literature are as unspoiled by received literary opinions as his were before. Frank will have to question his own understanding of his work and of himself. Although he refuses to, he will have to change Rita. He is afraid that she will loose her uniqueness. Yet he is unaware of the sacrifices and the difficulties she has to face concerning her background. He doesn?t care for the working class.



Indeed, Rita undergoes a transformation as she becomes educated, but Frank develops as well. As Rita becomes analytical, he dislikes her more and more and reacts to literature in the emotional way that once distinguished her from ?proper? students. He becomes jealous and dependent on her. Being afraid of losing her and taking all the meaning in his life with her, he becomes self-critical and sees his destructive teaching methods. He has tried to find a balance between traditional literary studies and honest, personal responses to literature, but he has made her suppress her emotions and spontaneity. In the end, she thanks him and finds the balance, which he tried to teach her.

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