1. ‘It’ll probably have a job findin’ my brain’ (Act 1, Scene 1)
Here Rita reveals that she does not have that much confidence in her own ability. When she
first meets Frank she does not feel as though she fits in among his world. She does not feel
worthy of the education that she is aiming to achieve. The language of this quotation reveals
that Rita is working class and also shows that she is self deprecating.
2. Frank: What do you want to know?
Frank: Everything? That’s rather a lot, isn’t it? Where would you like to start?
(Act 1 Scene 1)
In this quote Rita reveals to Frank that she wants to find out ‘everything’. This not only
reveals that Rita wants to entirely transform herself, but also suggests that she may not have
much of an idea of what she wishes her education to give her. This desire to know everything
also unsettles Frank, who does not feel capable of providing Rita with this knowledge.
3. Rita: Sometimes I hate them. God what’s it like to be free? (Act 1, Scene1)
In this quote we see how Rita struggles to follow her dream within her society. She feels
trapped by the low expectations of those around her. She is frustrated by their lack of
ambition and her own desires to improve herself.
4. ‘ talk too much, don’t I? I know I talk a lot. I don’t at home. I hardly ever talk when I’m
there. (Act 1, Scene1)’
This is surprising as Rita appears to be very open and chatty with Frank. She has only just met
him, yet she is very sociable and appears comfortable around him. Despite this, she admits
that she does not get the chance to talk at home. This is an early indication to the audience
that Rita does not have a particularly happy life at home.
5. ‘If you want to change, y’ have to do it from the inside don’t y’ (Act 1 Scene 1)
This suggests that Rita is aware that if she is to change herself effectively then it will take a
lot of hard work. She is frustrated by the attitude of the woman who come to her salon. They
believe that a new hairstyle will mean a change to their life. Rita realises that this is
superficial. Real change requires effort.
6. Frank: ‘I think you’re the first breath of air that’s been in this room for years’ (Act 1, Scene
This is a very important quotation. Here we see Frank admit that he admires Rita. He has
clearly become frustrated by his job at the university. This lack of personal and professional
fulfilment has led him to drink to excess. Rita represents ‘a breath of air’. She has entered his
life ready to learn everything he has to offer. The prospect is exciting, but also frightening.
Frank does not feel that he has what it takes to satisfy Rita’s needs.
7. If I’d started takin’ school seriously I would have had to become from me mates, an that’s
not allowed’ (Act 1, Scene 2)
Here we see Rita confess that she did not have a particularly positive experience at school.
For Rita school was a matter of survival. She did not want to stand out by pursuing her
education. For Rita, the priority was to fit in and not stand out.
8. One day y’ own up to yourself an y’ say is this it? Is this the absolute maximum I can
expect from this livin lark? (Act 1, Scene 2)
Here, Rita explains to Frank the reason why she is putting herself through the whole process.
Rita has got to a stage where she is questioning what her life is actually about. She is
questioning whether or not she is truly happy. Rita’s decision to pursue an education is a huge
one. It symbolises her recognition that she is not happy with her life as it is. She realises that
she needs to change something. She needs to change herself.
9. ‘I like her enormously; it’s myself I’m not too fond of’ (Act 1, Scene 2)
This quote reveals that it is not only Rita who is unsure of her place in life. Frank is also
unfulfilled, despite the fact that in many ways he has everything that Rita wants. It would
seem that despite his education and the devotion of his wife, Frank still lacks something in his
life. The problem for Frank is that his void would seem harder to identify and to fill.
10. I’m here to learn. My mind’s full of junk, isn’t it? It needs a good clearin’ out. (Act 1
Here Rita vows that she will listen to Frank. She promises that she will move beyond the
standard of her earlier responses and vows to look at literature critically. This appears to be a
positive step, however it soon leads to the creation of Rita the monster in later scenes.
11. Denny tried to stop me comin’ tonight…He hates me comin’ here. It makes me stronger
comin’ here. That’s why Denny’s frightened of it. (Act 1 Scene 4)
In this scene we see Rita admit that her husband Denny is unhappy about her decision to seek
an education. Denny is content with their life as it is. He does not understand her need to seek
an education and a better life. Denny is threatened by her ideas and by her growing
relationship with Frank. Rita is starting to move away from her life with Denny. She is
beginning to understand that it no longer satisfies her needs and desires.
12. Denny found out I was on the pill again…He burnt all the books. (Act 1 Scene 5)
But I don’t want to be myself. Me? What’s me? Some stupid woman who can give them all a
laugh because she thinks she can learn.
Here Rita describes why she was unable to go to Frank’s house. She realised that she did not
have enough confidence. Despite the progress that she has made in her tutorials, Rita now
realises that she is not educated enough to mix with Frank and his friends. This is an
uncomfortable realisation for Rita as it means that…
13. I’m a freak. I can’t talk to the people I live with anymore. A’n I can’t talk to the likes of
them on Saturday…I’m half caste.