Rita's experience at summer school challenges her views of the world. Before hand, Rita believes that summer school is for educated students. This idealistic view is quickly changed when she begins Open University. Willy Russell uses literary devices and cultural references to make the changes in Rita apparent. Rita feels out of place in the University environment and craves to be able to sit on the grass with the other students.
"I love that lawn down there, when its summer do the students sit on it?...who?...The proper students...reading and studying."
Rita is intelligent but uneducated, and she has idealistic views of the way she should act and what students are like. She has stereotypical views in her mind.
"Then I'll get a proper dress, the sort of dress you'd only see on an educated woman"
At the end of act1 there is a crucial turning point in the play.
In act 1 scene 7 Rita starts to buckle down with her school work. Before she first entered Franks office she wanted to talk, now she was ready and willing to read and write about literature.
"Straight to the desk, she sits in the chair and unpacks the note pad and pencil case."
She also, now begins to ask questions,
"What does the word 'sorry' mean if its not an apology?"
When Rita returns from summer school she has a complete image and attitude change.
"Rita bursts through the door. She is dressed in new, second-hand clothes"
Before summer school starts Rita's search for and education had been a solitary one.
"I tried to explain, but he didn't understand"
Denny wanted Rita to have children and get married. He tries to control her.
"He was moanin' all the time, y'know 'come of the pill, lets have a baby'."...