At times, people would borrow words and ideas from other works to fit specific situations and purposes. Whether conscious or not, they are using intertextuality. Originally coined and developed by the poststructuralist Julia Kristeva (1986) in 1966, the term intertextuality has been widely accepted and used in the field of modern and postmodern literary criticism. In their Introduction to Text Linguistics, De Beaugrande and Dressler (2002) state that intertextuality “concerns the factors which make the utilization of one text dependent upon knowledge of one or more previously encountered texts”. In other words, it denotes the interconnection that exists within texts, which not only include literature, but embrace all kinds of contexts.
The technique of referring to other works is frequently used in Willy Russell’s Educating Rita and Alan Bennett’s The History Boys. Both set in England, they tell different stories under the same broad theme of education. Educating Rita follows the development of a young working class hairdresser Rita and her relationship with her middle aged professor Frank. Dissatisfied with her current life, Rita signed up a course in English Literature at Open University, in order to discover herself and become civilized. Through almost a year’s course, the two experience profound change under the influence of each other: Frank is highly impressed by Rita’s enthusiasm and unique perception of literature, which leads to his attitudinal