Willy Russell was born in Liverpool in 1947.
He became a hairdresser on leaving school,
undertook a variety of jobs,
also writing songs for local folk clubs.,songs and sketches for local radio programmes.
At 20 years of age, he returned to college and became a teacher in Toxteth, after which he began to become interested in writing drama.
Parallel to Rita’s own journey to culture.
CLASH OF CULTURES
When Frank meets Rita
Victorian : built during the Victorian Era (Queen Victoria, 1837-1901)
print : copy in this instance
TS Elliot : Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965) a major English poet and critic.
Charles Dickens (1812-1870) : famous English Novelist (Oliver Twist, David Coperfield…)
to reveal : to show
slug : lampée, rasade argot=slang
a gulp : une gorgée
slurred : prononcé indistinctement.
A man who shifts a lot of booze : a man who drinks a lot of alcohol argot
to shift : to move (here, to drink)
booze : argot pour bière et alcool
Open University : a university offering distance learning courses backed by TV and radio programs as well as summer school and personal tuition. No formal academic degree is required for entry to its courses.
Henry James (1814-1916), major American novelist and playwright-
prospect : here, idea
done : cooked
to the point of abuse : for too long
to abuse : to treat badly
a pint : a measure of beer (approx. 1/2 liter)
to pop off : to go away quickly familiar
wanna : want to, ought to
to dump : to let something fall carelessly
sod : person argot
admission paper : entry form
to turn s.o. on : exciter le désir de quelqu’un
I’ll bet he did : je te parie qu’il l’a fait
to bet : parier
Men Only : sex magazine
dead : here extremely
to take s.o.= to accept s.o.
proper= real, conventional
to embrace= here to include
to rummage : to search about. Farfouiller
Brownie : jeannettes (scouts)
to pack s.th. up : to stop (argot)
dubious : doubtful
to challenge : défier
Dylan Thomas : Welsh Poet
Roger McGough : contemporary Liverpool poet and musician
to go out on the ale : to go out to get boozed, to get pissed (very drunk)
idle : aimless
to have a job : here, to have difficulty
Howards End, Novel by E.M. Forster (1910) He was a religious sceptic (born 1879 died in 1970)
end rear : le derrière
filthy : indecent
ta : thank you
to pack sth in : to give up sth
soft : silly, stupid
Cheers : Tchin Tchin
to enrol : to register
eventually : faux amis (finalement)
cos : because argot.
fuckin’ rubbish : absolutely worthless
I’m really fucked : I’m exhausted
It doesn’t half : it really does
fuss : faire du chichi
stuck-up : snob
effin’ and bleeding : swearing
facking : interjection le plus souvent
grouse : perdrix, plat de bourgeois
round our way : in our neighbourhood
swivel chair : fauteuil pivotant
how am I scoring : comment je m’en tire ?
Ten out of ten : six sur six
We are at the very beginning of the play. The two characters meet.
Frank is in his study and talks to his partner, telling her how frustrated he is with his job. He gives clear signs of alcohol addiction.
Suddenly, the door opens on a very aggressive Rita who immediately warns her teacher that he shouldn’t delay repairing his door knob.
There is a whole passage of testing on behalf of Rita and amusement on behalf of Frank. They both end up being quite friendly and happy to have such a student and such a tutor.
E-R : Passage2 : p. 20 l.1 – p 23 l.31
answer questions of exercise 7A (regarding your enrollment at ECGA) and enter this information in the weblog (ex. 8B) p. 75
EDUCATING RITA 2
Frank Interviews Rita
Chance : opportunity
to talk at s.o. : to speak to s.o.without listening to the replies
a- d’y’mind : do you mind, do you object
b- to be bothered : to be worried
please note the difference of style between a- and b they have two different lexical registers. One is very informal and even colloquial while the other one is extremely academic and formal.
to nod : acquiescer (contraire de to shake head cf. ER1 19:14)
A sip : une gorgée
assonance : a rhyme where only vowels rhyme (ex. sharper/garter)
the reason why she asks this question is much clearer in the movie.
half-spluttering : s’étouffant à moitié
Yeats : William Bulter Yeats (1865-1939), major Irish poet
lodge : here shop, Yeats Wine Lodge was a chain of wine bars in the north of England specialized in cheap Australian white wine (suffering from the whites, too much wine in yeats) now a normal wine stores chain.
Loads : des tonnes
admission papers : formulaires d’inscriptions
to scratch s.th out : rayer une mention
Rita Mae Brown : one of the founders of the gay and the women’s movement. She wrote Rubyfruit Jungle, a novel about a proud young girl which became a best seller in the mid 70s
D’y’wanna lend it ? Incorrect form for « Would you like to borrow it ? »
blurb : pitch, 4ème de couverture
Frank Harris : English author (1856-1931) who became famous after his death with the publication of My life and Love (an account of his sexual relationship with famous people, full of gossips)
quality : here frankness
to get something : to understand sth
copper : policeman (cop)
it’s a totally reversed situation where the student, who doesn’t know a thing, tells her professor « he hasn’t got it= hasn’t understood »
- Alfred Prufrock : character in a poem by T.S. Eliot : the love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock
- Arthur Rank (1888-1972) : founder of an entertainment company, Rank Organisation
I’ve not half got a lot to learn : j’ai à apprendre, et pas qu’un peu…
to bleach : décolorer les cheveux, les éclaircir
drier : hair drier, blow drier
stubble : paille, chaume
wig : false hair
pensioners : retraités
hearin’ aid cord= hearing aid wire
ear lobe : lobe de l’oreille
liability : danger public ici (responsabilité, fardeau d’habitude)
there’s a fad on : une mode pour (argotique) : it’s trendy
Farrah Fawcett Majors used to be the very popular star of the mythical series Charlie’s Angels.
ITV : TV commerciale en Grande-Bretagne, considérée comme populaire et low class, contrairement à la BBC, sans pub à l’époque et pour les intellectuels.
A Flora man : personnage issu d’une pub pour de la margarine cherchant à rendre les hommes plus attentifs à ce qu’ils mangeaient. C’est le type idéal dans la quarantaine qui cherche à aider sa femme et ses enfants en contribuant aux taches ménagères.
Pebble : caillou, gravier (pour se moquer du pain naturel avec des céréales)
lightenin’ = éclaircir
know : you know
committed : determined.
You say something TO SOMEONE
You tell SOMEONE SOMETHING
A TEXT DOESN’T TELL ABOUT ANYTHING, A TEXT DEALS WITH SOMETHING
the number of references to talking conveys the impression of a constant babble.
This passage deals with the encounter between two almost opposite worlds. The blasé university professor and the very eager hairdresser who is fed up with her life and customers who believe that a simple haircut could make them look like the celebrities of their time.
The humour in this passage is particularly obvious when they discuss Rita’s name, the references to popular culture and Frank’s name. Their references indeed come from the popular ITV for Rita and the BBC for Frank.
However, when we compare this passage with the filmed version, we are better able to grasp the reason why Rita asks as the first literary question to Frank, « what is an assonance ? ». In the film indeed, she has met students who were criticising Frank for not being able to explain what an assonance is.
>HOMEWORK : FOR JANUARY 19TH : Read, summarize and note vocabulary of the scene 2. If possible, answer as well the questions below :
- 21 lines 1 to 25
- General comprehension : Situate the passage (Who,what, where, when, why, how) ;
this passage is situated at the beginning of the play. It takes place in the first scene right after Franke and Rita has initial encounter.
both characters are the only ones appearing in display as the other characters are only referred to.
They are in Frank’s study which will be the only place where they meet throughout the play.
Rita talks about her job and she says she can’t swear when she’s at work because she deals with her customers who are uneducated people who pretend to be of a higher social stop then they really are or simply because they assume this is how people of higher status would behave .
She tells Frank she talks a lot (there is a recurrence of the terms related to talking right before this passage). There are some comic elements when Frank mentions about the poet Yeats and she thinks he’s refering to a wine lodge. There’s a cultural shock. Rita is less cultivated (educated) than Frank.
Other questions about this passage :
- why is Frank puzzled about Rita’s name and what do you think of her explanation ?
- How do you interpret the way names are mentioned in this passage?
- Do you remember the scene in the movie ? Was it similar ?
- What types of artistic references are made in this passage ?
VOCABULARY in this scene:
I take the piss an’ that : I make fun of things
go away : allez, arrête de me faire marcher
soft : silly
to be out of step : not to conform to what other people expect
to moan : to complain
to come off s.th : to stop taking
to be on sth : prendre des médicaments
to fiddle : to play aimlessly
mental : mad, crazy
thick : stupid
dead narked : very angry
to piss off : to go away.
Estate : HLM
Formby : residential suburb of Liverpool
filing cabinet : secrétaire
to make a bargain : passer un marché, un accord
suspicion : soupçon
it’s not your fault : ce n’est pas ta faute
the draw : la loterie
appalling : affreux, atroce
actually : really
to get by : se débrouiller, s’en tirer
Guiness : bière irlandaise, boisson populaire
Wilde : Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), dramaturge, poète et écrivain irlandais mort dans la misère (en raison de son homosexualité) après avoir connu la gloire
you’re gonna bleedin’ well teach me : tu n’as pas le choix !
Piss artist : s.o. who’s often drunk
to get s.th done : to have sth done
geriatric hippie : old hippie
geriatrics : la gériatrique.
EDUCATING RITA PART 4 (SCENES 3 AND 4)
to flounce: bouger vite et impatiemment.
he doesn’t half get on my tits: he really gets on my nerves
dirty sod: insult (sale con)
booze: alcohol, beer more often than not
Harold Robins: American novelist (born 1916). He wrote A stone for Danny Fisher, a novel about a boxer in New York.
hard luck: bad luck
to fail something: rater quelque chose.
to devour: dévorer
pulp fiction: cheap popular literature (“romans de gare”)
to be well read: to have a good literary education
Sons and Lovers: Novel by D.H. Lawrence published in 1913. The author was a British novelist.
Noel Coward (1899-1973): popular English actor
Somerset Maugham (pronounce Mome) (1974-1965) famous English novelist. He wrote Of Human Bondage which is mentioned below and Rita’s remark refers to some erotic sado-masochist activities,
like: you understand.
posher: plus chic, ici plus intello.
How d’y’tell: how can you tell, how do you establish the distinction.
to work sth out: to find an answer
merely: just, simply
to be discerning: avoir du discernement
upset: emotionally disturbed
junk: useless stuff
a clearin’ out: un coup de ménage (gather old things to throw them away to make space)
a bit of slap and tickle: a bit of fun
lads: boys. slang.
Peer Gynt: pronounce Günt, a play by Ibsen (1866). Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) was a famous Norwegian playwright
It’s got me licked: It’s too difficult for me (slang)
to be on about something: to talk about something.
to figure s.th out: to work out sth.
to resolve: Résoudre
Staging: method of presenting a play on stage (mise en scène)
reference book: a book used to look up information
dead narked: really annoyed (slang)
to encapsulate: résumer dans une formule succincte
second-rate: inferior quality
to mark: mettre une note, corriger
accepted authority: quelqu’un qui fait autorité dans un domaine
thick: ici stupid, normalement épais.
to settledown to: here, to begin to give her full attention to something
round by us: in our neighbourhood
keg: a small barrel
keg beer: brown beer (usually bad quality)
Daily Mirror/the Sun: tabloid papers.
unions: trade unions, syndicats.
to break away: changer d’habitude
hold on: wait for a moment
to intend: avoir l’intention de
to beam: avoir un sourire rayonnant
SCENE 2 The first lesson
In this scene, the introduction relates to the previous scene when Rita had not been able to get into Frank’s study…so this time she brought oil ! It’s a subliminal message to Frank about her firm intentions to study…and maybe a hint about his lazy attitude to details.
They discuss the poor quality of Rita’s essay, the meaning of criticism and education in general.
- Rita explains why she doesn’t like to sit
- They move on talking about the decoration of the room
- Then Rita points that Frank hasn’t drunk and wonders whether it’s due to her.
- They turn to discussing « proper » students and Rita’s dream of school and being different but not being able to express it (p. 31 around lines 23-30)
- Literature doesn’t have to pay attention to the poor
- Frank attempts to give a class to Rita (what does criticism mean, what an essay should be about…) but he keeps being interrupted by Rita who wants to know more about his relationship with Julie. He even suggests to take notes.
- this passage is full of humor :
Rita’s way of talking
Jane Austen/Tracy Austin
Divorce for the good of literature
- the way Frank also flirts with Rita and finally « puts his foot down »…which doesn’t all that much impress Rita.
To glance at : to take a quick look at
to get round to sth : to do something only after any other matter has been taken care of
sort of : somehow
phoney : not genuine
mess : state of confusion or disorder
to fit : to look right or suitable
to acquire : to gain, to get
patina : green glossy surface formed on copper, patine
to sniff : renifler
lawn : gazon
proper : real
Y’what : colloquial for I beg your pardon
public school : école privée (as opposed to grammar school, école publique)
boarding school : école avec internat
tuck-shop : school shop which sells sweets and cakes
matron : woman housekeeper and nurse in a school
Jones minor : the younger boy called Jones
Jones major : the older boy called Jones,
t==>These two character types which often appear in children’s stories about life in boarding schools.
Ring bound file : ring-binder
to be off one’s cake : to be mad
Isabel Archer : heroine of Henry James’ novel The portrait of a Lady
to slum it : to behave and live in a way below your social position
dead : very
affected : not natural (affecté)
spike : here, long sharp point
to rip up : déchirer
staffroom : teachers’ room
to stand a chance : to have a chance
whimps : weak characters
mate : friend
to admit : to acknowledge
to be into s.th : être intéressé par qqch
feller : fellow, boyfriend, partner
to go along with sth : to agree with sth, to accept sth
reluctant : unwilling
to own up to confess
lark : here game
to upset s.o. : to trouble, to disturb s.o.
state : condition
Jane Austin : English novelist
Tracy Austin : famous tennis player in the 80s
to chuck : to throw
crap : rubbish
to approach : to handle
to support : to use facts to confirm s.th
F.R. Leavis : Frank Raymond Leavis (1895-1978) influencial critic
louse : useless person
astounded : completely surprised or shocked
he couldn’t care less : he didn’t give a damn
Sympathetic : compatissant
brevity : shortness
to split up : to get divorced
nosey : curieux
to treat s.o. to s.th : to give s.o. sth
to point sth out : to draw the attention
output : result of work
to deal with s.th : to be about sth
for the good of : for the benefit of
a load of good stuff : plein de bonnes choses
puzzled : perplexe
to take the piss : se mettre en rogne
out of print : no longer published
to happen to have : to have by chance
to do oneself in : to commit suicide
to simmer : to cook slowly without boiling (frémir)
if y’were mine : if you were my husband
to stop out : to stay away from home
vote of confidence : expression of support
there’s less to me than meets the eye : opposite of the usual expression (there’s more…) : to have hidden qualities
staggering : astonishing
Miss : way of addressing a lady teacher
sod off : go away
barely : only, just, hardly
schooling : education
to put one’s foot down : to speak and act firmly
to connect : relier, combiner
amp : ampere
plug : prise
To live on your own : vivre seul.
Homework : scenes 3-4 ER +GRAMMAR UNIT 8.1 P. 144
PART 4 (SCENES 3-4)
Scene 3 : “Not all books are literature”
In this scene, Rita seems to have taken more assurance both in her attitude, her discussion regarding what to read and in her own understanding of the role of a student: “Don’t worry, I wont get upset, I’m here to learn…”
She first strongly expresses her feelings about EM Forster (who had already been mentioned several times in the play. You may want to check and make references). Then, when pointed out that referring to a pulp fiction author isn’t appropriate in a literary essay, she explains she can’t really make a difference between all these authors.
Frank however is delighted she has at least referred to Jane Austen, and to learn that she also read Somerset Maugham which gives way to a funny qui pro quo regarding the word Bondage.
She’s about to give up pulp fiction altogether when Frank says it’ won’t be necessary and she again makes a funny comparison “it’s all right to go out an’ have a bit of slap and tickle with the lads as long as you don’t go home an’ tell your mum.”
Remember to interpret black outs and lights up as another day.
Rita now connects
Rita is again sulking at Forster but Frank first to talk about the ridiculously short, though accurate line of essay about Peer Gynt. After explaining the reasons for such brevity and although she’s meant to now take the time to develop her essay, Rita goes on developing the fraud in trying to talk about popular culture. She gives a vivid rendition of what lower middle class society was faced with in the 80s and some has still some resonance in today’s Europe: “inevitable vandalism and violence an’ houses burnt out an’ wrecked by the people they were built for” she compares her social background to group of drug addicts who don’t want one of them to break free and her husband Denny is one of them. She’s then given a clue about Forster based on her own way to connect things and suddenly the whole novel makes sense to her. The scene ends with Rita who proudly gave a perfectly logical answer to the essay question about Peer Gynt.
EXERCISE ON SCENES 3 AND 4
- What’s wrong with Forster according to Rita ?
- How do you interpret « Y’dirty sod » addressing her tutor ?
- What’s wrong with Harold Robbins’ references in Rita’s essay ?
- What’s pulp fiction ?
- Explain the lines 15 to 18 p. 43
- Relate this scene to the end of the movie and justify the assertion that this is an important passage of the play.
- Is there a working class culture according to the playwright ? Discuss and justify your answer with passages from the scen
- Is Rita intelligent ? Give us some example in the scene.
Wearisome: pénible, pesant
Checkhof: Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860-1904): Russian playwright and short story writer. One of his play is presently on stage in Geneva (Ivanov at St Gervais)
to leave something out: laisser trainer quelque chose
sod the books: au diable les bouquins
to get on with: to proceed
to fiddle with: to play with something nervously :
to smooth: caresser
selfish: someone concerned only with him/herself
for the time being: pour l’instant
for the sake of him: because of him, for him exclusively
y’soft get: you stupid
there’s no point (in): there’s no reason to
to have it off with s.o: to have sex with s.o.
I would not put it past you: I would consider you capable of doing such a (bad) thing
to shack up with s.o.: vivre à la colle
to cry over spilt milk: to regret something when it’s too late
to provide s.o. with s.th: to give someone something
to rock the coffin (usually to rock the boat): to stop violently an otherwise smooth journey.
Everton, Liverpool: Liverpool top soccer teams
the dole: colloquial term for State subsidies for the unemployed
Stork: brand of Margarine
to give s.th. a miss: not to do sth
pots of: lots of
I’ve got to: I must
to display: to reveal
signs: here, evidence
bill: here, the list of actors in a theatre programme
To perch: to sit on the edge
Constantin: a character in The Seagull (La Mouette)
blurb: brief information
I dunno: I don’t know
to rape: violer
what an awful pity: what a pity: quel dommage
course: of course
The Importance of Bein’ Thingy: she makes fun of Oscar Wilde’s play (1895) The Importance of Being Earnest.
aghast: amazed, terrified
gorra: got to
acknowledgement: confirmation, reconnaître quelque chose
to spoil s.th for s.o.: gâcher le plaisir de quelqu’un en lui racontant la fin par exemple.
ER Scene 5
- Situate the scene in the play. What happened before ? Compare the way Rita keeps getting into the study and discuss Frank’s reproaches to her on lines 2 to 7 p. 51.
In the previous scene, Rita had attempted to write an essay about Per Gynt and she finally managed to answer the question Frank had asked her.
She keeps making dramatic, she always storms
in the scene 1, she had difficulties coming into the room, then explores the room.
In the scene 2, she oils the door, Then tells him about « her books »
in scene 3, she storms into the room and explains why she hates Forster.
In scene 4, she declares that she hates Forster
V1 : Frank is right, every time, she invents something else not to get to her desk and asks him personal questions instead of getting to work. I know some students at ECGA who do the exact same thing, it’s a « technique » to waste time.
V2 : It’s Rita’s temper to be exhuberant and to try to discuss everything around her studies, avoiding to do what « proper students do ». She’s a hairdresser and she’s used to chat like that all the time.
V3 : He’s totally unfounded to reproach her with anything. She does her best, fighting not only to acquire her knowledge but against her own social environment (starting with Denny).
- What would you add to the introduction to the notes for act 1 scene 5 ?
- What do you know about Denny and Julia so far. Read the « What do you think section and answer the two points regarding your sympathy for either of them and the possible similarities between them.
Since the beginning of the play, we can predict the end of their relationships. Denny doesn’t like Rita to take her classes and Julia resents the fact that her partner doesn’t come home straight away. Indeed, both like their spouses. They are both frustrated and extremely patient with their partners. Rita is a new person, but Frank just took advantage of his prestige as a poet and professor with his student. They both know they are at the end of their relationship and they don’t really pay attention to their partners feelings.
- Write the 5-6 key phrases in the scene that emphasize the importance of her studies for Rita.
52 : 7-9
These terms are extremely violent and reflect the VITAL importance of studying for Rita.
- What does Russel try to point out through his reference to choice p. 53 l. 7 and following.
There are choices which are guided by the consumer society and luring lower classes into believing they have a choice.
- Explain what Rita means p. 56 l. 6
personal…but that’s what Rita does in fact.
- Can one « spoil » a play by telling the end prior to attending it in a theatre ?
ER scene 6
to spare (the time) : to find some time for…
to have s.o. worried : to make someone worry
to do s.o. in : être totalement captivé (ici), se faire avoir.
« Out, out, brief candle » is a famous quotation from Shakespeare’s Macbeth tragedy (Act 5, scene 5 : « She should have died hereafter.
There would have been a time for such a word.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing. »
I better get back : I’d better get back, I should get back
s.o. fussy : maniaque, s.o. who pays attention to trivial details.
To come right out : to be a success
guts : literally, the bowels, avoir le cran.
Blood and guts : a violent scene full of blood
to be flawed : to have an imperfection
doom : ruin
pro-ordained : determined in advance
to tread : to walk on
to bring sth on : to cause sth to happen
thread : fil
them /those: refers to students
friggin’ : freaking
golliwog : cf. https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golliwog (poupée de chiffon aux cheveux raides, épais et noirs)
SESSION 8 : Scenes 7 &8 (ACT 1)
To sling : throw carelessly
vino : wine
stage-manager : ironical way to depict his partner. Normalement metteur en scène
to take s.o. on : to accept s.o. as an opponent
to cope : to manage successfully
to be hard on s.o. : to ask too much of s.o.
to turn up : se pointer
that’s up to you : c’est comme tu veux
to thrust : push violently
to jumbel up : to mix up
Shaw : George Bernard Shaw (1895-1950), irish playwright and critic
Shavian : adjectif dérivé de Shaw, désigne ses fans
ages : des siècles
to sip : boire par petite gorgées
off-licence : shop where you can purchase alcohol
sparkling wine : du mousseux
plong : cheap poor quality wine, de la piquette
fancy dress : déguisement
to breeze in : faire entrer un courant d’air frais (métaphore du bonheur et du renouveau
funnies : jokes
court jester : le fou du roi
to be good for a laugh : person or thing whom you can make fun of
to grab : attraper
freak : un monstre
the likes of them : les gens comme eux
half-caste : sang mêlé
juke-box : machine qui jouait des disques dans les années 60
what the frig : what the hell ?
To pack s.th in : to give up s.th
narked : annoyed, angry
to warp : to distort
to betray : trahir
oh sod Macbeth : au diable Macbeth
account : description
unashamedly : sans honte aucune
to indicate : to point out
to suppress : supprimer, réprimer
to abandon : to give up completely
uniqueness : le fait d’être unique
to take s.th in : cromprendre
crap : rubbish
bin : poubelle, corbeille à papiers.
In the scene 7, Frank starts reproaching Rita not to have properly announced nor apologized for not showing up to his Saturday party. He’s partly ironical and makes her understand it was more of a problem for Julia than for himself.
She then explains her many difficulties :
- Dennis and her fought over this as he didn’t want to go…so she was ready to go on her own ;
- she didn’t know what to wear ;
- she took the wrong bus and took for ages to find his address
- she realized that she had bought the wrong wine
- above all, she realized she was going to be out of place.
Finally, she explains how she thought of abandoning her studies and went to the pub with her family. But her presence made her mother realize that their occupation was silly. That’s why Rita returned to Frank’s study.
This scene has a specific importance. Indeed, it’s a turning point in Rita’s life : she’s left her husband and faced with the fact that she will have to change completely to be successful in her studies, she declares that she absolutely wants to change and starts writing a whole new essay on Macbeth.
February 28TH : ACT 2, SCENE 1
Educating Rita Session 9
Act 2 scene 1
to stub out a cigarette : écraser sa cigarette pour l’éteindre
t o twirl : to turn round and round
shawl : châle
summer school : université d’été
stick together : être ensemble/rester amis
gear : clothes
to lash : to beat, to whip, fouetter
Ferlinghetti : Lawrence Ferlinghetti (born 1919). Un des artistes les plus engagés de la Beat generation.
Honest to God : je te jure
what possessed me : what influenced me
to keep s.o. down : to control someone’s enthusiasm
matter of fact : sans émotion aucune
wisdom : comes from wise, sage
to curse : normalement jurer ou jeter une malédiction, ici punir
Eggs : Benedict : poached eggs on a Mornay sauce, florentine : on spinach…cocotte
Trish : diminutif de Patricia
flatmate : colocataire
classy : stylish
unpretentious : sans prétention
hint : suggestion indirecte, allusion.
to peck : ici faire un bisou rapide, normalement picorer.
Tutorial : cours particulier ou en petit groupe donné par un professeur d’université
bum : le derrière
to struggle : faire un effort violent pour arriver à faire quelque chose
to budge : bouger
to air : brasser de l’air
soil : le sol, la terre
cuttings : bouture (ici)
to have s.th. going for oneself : to have many advantages
whirl : tourbillon d’activités
mortuary : morgue, chambre funéraire.
To cheer s.o. up : égayer qqn
freak : ici fanatique, normalement, monstre, personne anormale
to be related : to be in connection with (also belong to the same family, relative)
to masquerade as : to pretend to be
to cover : to study all aspects of, academically
Songs of Innocence and Experience : Songs of innocence explores the immanent presence of divine love. Songs of experience depicts the power of evil.
In this scene, it’s a new Rita who enters Frank’s office. This time, she has no difficulty opening the door, she « bursts » through it. She’s full of enthusiasm about her summer school where she both worked terribly hard (whipping metaphor) and had a lot of social interactions including with her knowledgeable professors. Frank announces his temporary separation with Julia, while Rita tells him she’s got a classy roommate. The scene ends on the terrible disappointment for Frank that Rita has already studied William Blake.
Frank welcomes Rita back and they discuss their respective summers.
She gives him an expensive pen as a present in order to encourage him to keep writing poetry and nothing else with.
we could say that it proves that Frank doesn’t appreciate much fresh air, yet it probably gives us the hint that she no longer considers Frank’s study « perfect » anymore. We can also establish a parallel with the previous scene where Rita herself was compared to a « breeze » p. 66.
we say that Rita now is so self-assured that she talks to her tutor as an equal and believes she already « has the knowledge » of Blake’s poetry.
March 7TH : ACT 2, SCENES 2-3
The new Rita speaks now with a proper accent which makes Frank angry. He’s also annoyed by Trish’s influence on Rita. Rita’s confidence is shown by her mixing up with students, especially Tiger. Frank admits that Rita’s work is now comparable to the « proper students ».
In the third scene, there’s a reversed situation as Frank is the one entering the office while Rita is sitting there. He’s totally drunk and accounts for his adventures with his students who reported him. He will be sent on a sabbatical because in the academic world, « you need to bugger the bursar » to get the sack (to be dismissed). Rita is now almost superior when she talks to Frank and displays her new independence towards his knowledge : « y’mean there’s nothing of you in it ». In the meantime, Frank starts using Rita’s turn of phrase and says that Rubyfruit Jungle is excellent, which makes her laugh.
a tutting sound: a noise of disapproval
to scribble: gribouiller une note
not a lot of point: not much value
ugly: horrible, laid
Daleks: Robots in a cult TV science fiction series with metallic voices
to revert to: to return to a former condition
to be wary of: to be cautious of, to be afraid of
to come out with: to say s.th. without really thinking about its meaning
they don’t half come out with some rubbish: ils n’y vont pas avec le dos de la cuillère pour dire des idioties
In the first place: d’abord
to put s.o. straight: to explain s.o. why his or her ideas are wrong
to overhear: entendre par hasard quelque chose qui ne nous est pas destiné
to spout: parler pompeusement et en étalant sa science d’un sujet
heated discussion: discussion très vive
to finish s.th. off: liquider qq’un
to ask for it: l’avoir bien cherché
crumble: to break into little pieces
to slum it: to live intentionally below one’s standard of living
match-making: jouer les marieurs, marieuses
to burble on: to talk non stop nonsense
to look out of place: to be at the wrong place
muffled: (son) indistinct
oaths: swear words
to tell s.o. where to get off: dire à qqn le fond de sa pensée
to sack s.o.: virer qqn
to involve: here to make necessary
grand scale: here, extremely frequently
to amount to: to mean
misdemeanour: offense, breach of the rules
to bugger: sodomiser
bursar: Trésorier d’une université
off one’s cake: mad
to do s.th for s.o.’s own good: faire qqch pour le bien de qqn
mealy mouthed: hypocrite
to desacrate: profaner
Wordsworth: William Wordsworth, famous romantic poet (1770-1850)
sober: not drunk
to work: here, can be interpreted
to come out : to emerge, appear
not much of a : not a very good
to gain: to improve
to value: to have a high opinion of
to come up with: atteindre, trouver
to be hung up on: avoir un complexe à propos
March 21st : ACT 2, SCENES 4, 5 and 6