The speech – question (do the pathways into new worlds offer problems or possibilities? ) What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from. Good morning Teachers & Year 12. In this speech, I will be focusing on how Willy Russel’s play Educating Rita and Bruce Dawe’s poem “Easy does it,” emphasise the notion that pathways into new worlds offer problems and possibilities. From the outset of the play, the idea of moving into new worlds offering problems and possibilities is clearly evident.
Before we even see Rita, a connection is made regarding the difficulties of moving into a new world, demonstrated through a metaphor, which reveals her difficulties in getting through the door. Rita hopes that the Open University will allow her to forge a better life for herself, as she aims to “discover meself. ” From the opening scene, Russell establishes the differences between Rita and frank, in terms of the language they use and the way they talk and act. Rita’s language is informal and colloquial, whereas frank’s is formal, illustrating the gaps between the lower class and middle class.
However, even from this early scene, Rita expresses her overriding wish – she wants to ‘know everything,’ emphasising the fact that new worlds, indeed, offer possibilities. Rita and frank both want more than the world offers. Frank dislikes his job and his students, and confesses that he is ‘an appalling teacher’. Rita, on the other hand feels trapped in her current life, because of the expectations placed on her by her working – class friends and husband, who believe that she should settle down and start having a family.
However, Rita is not prepared to do this and her quest for an education brings her into conflict with her husband Denny, revealing how the pathways into new worlds may undoubtedly contain problems and drawbacks. Eventually, when Denny makes Rita decide between education and him, she chooses education and makes another significant step ‘into the world’. Rita’s desire to move into the world is seen in other ways. Her desire to move out of the room and join the ‘proper student’ on the lawn, and her attempts to open frank’s window are indicators to her desire to move into the world.
She finally achieves this, and is able not only to converse with the other student, but able to pass her examination. Similarly, in Bruce Dawe’s “easy does it” explores similar themes to Educating Rita. The central concern of the poem is the care that the speaker believes must be taken with his boy as he learns about language and moves into the world. This concern echoes frank’s concern that Rita will lose her “uniqueness” as she makes her way into a new world full of rules and regulation. This demonstrates that sometimes pathways into the world offer possibilities which come at a personal cost.
The speaker in this poem, presumably Bruce Dawe, is a father who is concerned about his son losing his wonderment in the world and in language as he grows older and learns “correct English” I have to be careful with my boy. When he says tree it comes out hazy Very green and friendly and before I’ve got The meaning straight he’s up there laughing in it From the boy’s perspective, language is a living thing and the speaker’s ultimate fear is that by imposing the “stone gaze of grammar” (this is a personification Julie ) he will forever ‘petrify’ the wonder of the language.
This is similar to the presentation of into the world that we encounter in educating Rita. Rita questions everything in the fashion of a curious kid writing on her in case she should lose her fresh perspectives The speaker’s word act as a self- imposed warning, a remainder of the dangers of ‘correct English forever’. Moving into the adult world is full of rewards and satisfaction, but we must be careful not to lose ourselves, to lose our spontaneity and freshness.
It is this loss if spontaneity that Dawe warns against when he talks of turning his boy ‘into a sort of Sunday visitor at the lakeside’ a spectator rather than a participant in the fluidity of language and life. Dawe uses a variety of techniques in his poem, and most of these are employed to highlight the theme of taking care as we move into wider worlds. The poem is a free verse composition, following no regular rhyming or rhythmic patterns (Dawe himself has not been trapped by the ‘stone gaze of grammar’).
The use of first person throughout the poem makes it more personal and highlights Dawe’s concern for his boy, and the consistent use of personal pronouns helps to make the poem sound more conversational. Finally, Dawe’s repetition of the idea “ I have to be careful with my boy keeps this theme uppermost in responders’ minds If you’ve been paying attention to my speech, you will have seen how the concept of ‘ into the world’ is clearly demonstrated, by examining text such as educating rita, and the poem ‘ easy does it’. In different ways, all of these text show people mature and develop as a result of going into the world