Educating Rita

Denny Character Analysis

Rita’s husband, who disapproves of her academic pursuits. Denny believes that Rita should focus on becoming a mother instead of seeking an education. As Rita explains to Frank, Denny dislikes anything he doesn’t understand or seems “different.” When he discovers Rita has been secretly taking birth control, he burns her books and gives her an ultimatum: she can either stop attending Frank’s tutorials, or she can move out. Rita swiftly chooses the latter, leaving Denny behind once and for all.

Denny Quotes in Educating Rita

The Educating Rita quotes below are all either spoken by Denny or refer to Denny. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Social Class and Identity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Methuen edition of Educating Rita published in 2007.
Act One, Scene One Quotes

I’ve been realisin’ for ages that I was…slightly out of step. I’m twenty-six. I should have had a baby by now; everyone expects it—I’m sure my husband thinks I’m infertile. He’s always goin’ on about havin’ babies. We’ve been tryin’ for two years now; but I’m still on the pill! See, I don’t want a baby yet. I wanna find myself first, discover myself. Do you understand that?

He nods.


Yeh. They wouldn’t round our way. I’ve tried to explain to my husband but between you an’ me I think he’s just thick! No, not thick; blind, that’s what he is. He can’t see because he doesn’t want to see. If I try an’ do anything different he gets a gob on him; even if I’m just reading or watchin’ somethin’ different on the telly he gets really narked.

Related Characters: Rita (speaker), Frank, Denny
Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act One, Scene Six Quotes

I’m all right with you, here in this room; but when I saw those people you were with I couldn’t come in. I would have seized up. Because I’m a freak. I can’t talk to the people I live with any more. An’ I can’t talk to the likes of them on Saturday, or them out there, because I can’t learn the language. I’m an alien. I went back to the pub where Denny was, an’ me mother, an’ our Sandra, an’ her mates. I’d decided I wasn’t comin’ here again. I went into the pub an’ they were singin’, all of them singin’ some song they’d learnt from the jukebox. An’ I stood in that pub an’ thought, just what in the name of Christ am I trying to do? Why don’t I just pack it in, stay with them, an’ join in with the singin’?

Related Characters: Rita (speaker), Frank, Denny, Rita’s Mother
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

Well, I did join in with the singin’, I didn’t ask any questions, I just went along with it. But when I looked round, my mother had stopped singin’, an’ she was cryin’. Everyone just said she was pissed an’ we should get her home. So we did, an’ on the way I asked her why. I said, ‘Why are y’ cryin’, Mother?’ She said, ‘Because—because we could sing better songs than those.’ Ten minutes later, Denny had her laughing and singing again, pretending she hadn’t said it. But she had. And that’s why I came back. And that’s why I’m staying.

Related Characters: Rita (speaker), Frank, Denny, Rita’s Mother
Page Number: 50
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Denny Character Timeline in Educating Rita

The timeline below shows where the character Denny appears in Educating Rita. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act One, Scene One
Social Class and Identity Theme Icon
Mentorship Theme Icon
Self-Worth Theme Icon
...my husband thinks I’m infertile.” She tells Frank that her husband (later referred to as Denny) is always talking about having babies, but that she doesn’t want to get pregnant yet.... (full context)
Act One,  Scene Three
Social Class and Identity Theme Icon
...was busy this past week and she can’t work on her writing at home because Denny, her husband, “gets really pissed off” if she does academic work at home.  (full context)
Social Class and Identity Theme Icon
Self-Worth Theme Icon
...she learns about art and literature from Frank sustains her throughout the week, even though Denny tries to stop her from coming to the lessons. “He hates me comin’ here,” she... (full context)
Mentorship Theme Icon
Institutionalized Education vs. Experiential Education Theme Icon
Self-Worth Theme Icon
Hearing Rita move from talking about Peer Gynt to “contentment” to her problems with Denny, Frank quotes Howards End, saying, “Only connect.” Rita scoffs at this, begging Frank not to... (full context)
Act One, Scene Four
Social Class and Identity Theme Icon
Mentorship Theme Icon
Self-Worth Theme Icon
...night, Rita comes to Frank’s office without an essay to hand in. She explains that Denny found her birth control pills, so he burned her essay and a number of Chekhov... (full context)
Act One, Scene Five
Social Class and Identity Theme Icon
Mentorship Theme Icon
...to come?” Rita asks, and Frank assures her that he does, telling her to invite Denny. “What’s wrong?” he asks, sensing a tension. “What shall I wear?” she asks, and then... (full context)
Act One, Scene Six
Social Class and Identity Theme Icon
Self-Worth Theme Icon
In his office, Frank tells Rita that Julia was upset that Rita and Denny never came to the dinner party, since there were places set for them. Rita explains... (full context)
Social Class and Identity Theme Icon
Self-Worth Theme Icon
...I’m an alien.” Feeling this way, she explains, she went to the pub and found Denny and her mother singing jukebox songs and getting drunk.  (full context)
Social Class and Identity Theme Icon
Self-Worth Theme Icon
...by getting an education. She wondered why she won’t just quit and rejoin people like Denny and her mother, spending her time singing in pubs and getting drunk. “And why don’t... (full context)
Act One, Scene Seven
Social Class and Identity Theme Icon
Mentorship Theme Icon
Institutionalized Education vs. Experiential Education Theme Icon
Self-Worth Theme Icon
...is grading papers, Rita enters the office holding a suitcase. Apparently, Rita broke up with Denny, so now she’s moving in with her mother. “He said either I stop comin’ here... (full context)