The society we live in distorts our own unique desires and goals. When in a workplace or community it puts more pressure and expectation on individuals’ goals, warping them until a point where one identifies what they truly want and breaks the mould and expectations of society to do this. Examining texts such as ‘Educating Rita’ and ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ in addition to my own personal experience will bring forth an understanding of how society affects growing up and transition into new phases of life into a larger world.
The text ‘Educating Rita’ is set Britain in the 1970’s, where a woman’s role was to have a family and look after it by staying at home and in the kitchen. The feminist movement started to occur along with the introduction of the contraception pill. Society began trying to broaden the middle class and the general education of the population by having such educating programs such as ‘Open University’. Rita goes to Open University to get an education.
When she tries to move forward towards what she desires she is always brought back by her family’s and societies expectation, which is them stressing to her that being lower class is enough to be content with. But desire to make her life better encourages her to emerge with an education. Initially Frank’s office is a barrier which is shown through the metaphor and motif of the door. The door is stuck and finally ‘swings open revealing Rita’. In the first scence she is exclaiming her stress. “I’m comin’ in, aren’t I? It’s that stupid bleedin’ handle on the door. You wanna get it fixed! The rhetorical question encourages reflection how frustrating and hard it is to enter shown through the exclamation mark. Rita is seen ‘standing in the doorway, holding a small can of oil’ because of her desire to be educated and help her transition into being educated. The oil for the door has the same meaning as education for Rita, the oil helps open the door and education assists Rita becoming educated. In act two Rita seems to have no trouble fitting in with her educated peers; she is now secured a position as a student which is shown when she ‘bursts through the door”.
The word ‘bursts’ here has connotations of confidence and her eagerness to learn. She is breaking her social context whereas in scene one she was questioning herself. Rita always purchases new dresses to cheer her up, but now realises she is not content with it. She stresses to Frank that “It’s like me isn’t it? Buying new dresses all the time, isn’t it? ” The rhetorical questions and repetition enhance reflection on her learning and aim to move out of the stereotype. ‘In new second hand clothes’ this is symbolic of the ease she has in the middle class and shows juxtaposition of new second hand clothes.
This has highlighted how she has changed and matured into the middle class and doesn’t require materialistic needs like a dress to satisfy her depression. Rita in’ Educating Rita’ mirrors the same growth and change as Andrea in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’. It is a 2006 film in times where individuals are controlled by the capitalist world and times where pleasing your boss was the only ambition. Andrea is easily manipulated to suit her social context and expectations of her boss. This is shown through the change in her values overtime highlighting her new appreciation for fashion which is negatively affecting her relationships with her friends.
Andrea then grows enough to come to realisation that she is controlled by the materialistic needs of fashion influences by the industry. This is shown thought her confused and miserable facial expression emphasises by the close camera shot and how Andrea throws the phone into the fountain. The close shot highlights the facial expression of deep thought and encourages the viewers to reflect on Andrea’s thoughts and her throwing her phone away The phone is a symbol of Miranda’s power over Andrea but when she throws it into the fountain it emphasis Miranda’s loss of control.
This is comparable to Rita’s emerging want for an education and to fit in with her educated peer at an attempt to have a better life. She begins at ‘Runway’ fashion magazine with humorous fashion when a colleague makes a rhetorical joke asking if she has to go to ‘some hideous skirt convention’. Here she begins her occupation as a joke echoed in her routine and representing the starting point of her physical transformation. Her new transformation is noticeable through changes in costume. She goes from wearing jeans and a plain top to wearing Gucci and Prada! This visually emphasises her rapid change into the fashion industry.
This is much alike Rita purchases new clothes to fulfil her unhappiness and problems. Andrea uses clothes as he fulfilment when her relationship start to crumble and becomes manipulated into conform to her context of the fashion industry. My own experience was being caught doing graffiti. I was young teenager in year 7 associating with year 8’s. I was seeking social acceptance in my new school and by engaging in graffiti writing I was able to gain appreciation. After doing it for the first time and being caught by a teacher I could see it was the wrong decision; violence and other illegal activities all stem from graffiti writing.
This is largely similar to the ‘Devil Wear Prada’ and ‘Educating Rita. Andrea, in the ‘Devil Wears Prada’ like me, experimented with conforming to a certain area of society for acceptance. But when are actions are made evident by another it is easily seen that certain decisions were wrong. It is also comparable to ‘Educating Rita’ as graffiti writers are perceived in society as of a lower-class just like Rita, I was stereotyped and it is hard to break a stereotype many teachers still stereotype me now, 5 years on!
Though realization, growth and change can occur, corresponding to how Rita comes to desire and acquire a better education as means of growth and change ion her life. All individuals can have a change in perspective so as to thrive towards a positive growth in their life, a decision; a realisation just has to come first. Social pressures can overpower Andre’s, Rita’s and my ability to make our own decisions but as we mature expectations are unsuccessful.
The theme of growth and change is unmistakable in the supplementary texts’ though how the women are trying to break the mould of society’s expectations in different ways much alike to my change and growth through experience. Rita is growing throughout the PLAY eventually breaking the mould. While on the other hand, Andrea comes to a quick change when Miranda reveals that she chooses occupation over her true relationships comparable to my sudden transformation. Both texts and my experience come to the identical conclusion when expectations are overcome to the better life chosen.