Friday, January 21, 2005

Educating Rita...

We had a great time discussing Educating Rita in my Higher Ed in Film and Fiction class the other night. NONE of my students had seen the film...well, it is 1983...and I hadn't seen it myself in 20 years. It is still fresh and funny...and delves into some great issues in higher education.

One of my students consulted his wireless Palm during the film itself, to refresh his memory of Peer Gynt and Howard's End, and made an eloquent case for how these particular pieces of literature played off character developments in Educating Rita at the moment they were introduced. Nice touch, especially doing the Palm thing while the film is rolling!

Gotta read the Willy Russell play wife gave me a copy of that.

On to Kingsley Amis's Lucky Jim on Tuesday night!

Here is the handout...schmushed the questions up close to save space here!

Film: Educating Rita (1983) Michael Caine as Frank, the professor, and Julie Walters as Rita, his student.

1 What does the title mean? Discuss.
2 Describe the two main characters, as well as Rita’s family, and Frank’s colleagues.
3 Is Frank typical of many professors?

4 What are Rita’s views of education? What about her husband, Denny?
5 What are Frank’s views of education?
6 What did Frank teach Rita, if anything?
7 What did Rita teach Frank, if anything?
8 Would Frank’s behavior be tolerated at Purdue?
9 Comment on Rita’s assignments and Frank’s advice on revision:

Her essay on Ibsen’s Peer Gynt.
Her essay on Macbeth.

10 Comment on Rita’s desire to go to Frank’s party, and the outcome.
11 What does Rita mean when she says she is a “half caste” and “in between”?
12 Is the “song” Rita sings at the beginning or the one at the end a better one?
13 Why does Frank not want to teach her a) in the beginning, and b) at the end? What are his reasons?
14 Are the changes brought about by education always good? Why does Frank bring up Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein at the end?
15 Comment upon Rita’s roommate Trish.
16 Take 5 minutes and write what you think would happen to Frank and Rita in the 5 years after the ending of the film. Share with the class.

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