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The Ruined Maid Analysis

Author: poem of Thomas Hardy Type: poem Views: 164

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"O 'Melia, my dear, this does everything crown!

Who could have supposed I should meet you in Town?

And whence such fair garments, such prosperi-ty?"--

"O didn't you know I'd been ruined?" said she.

--"You left us in tatters, without shoes or socks,

Tired of digging potatoes, and spudding up docks;

And now you've gay bracelets and bright feathers three!"--

"Yes: that's how we dress when we're ruined," said she.

--"At home in the barton you said 'thee' and 'thou,'

And 'thik oon,' and 'theäs oon,' and 't'other'; but now

Your talking quite fits 'ee for high compa-ny!"--

"Some polish is gained with one's ruin," said she.

--"Your hands were like paws then, your face blue and bleak

But now I'm bewitched by your delicate cheek,

And your little gloves fit as on any la-dy!"--

"We never do work when we're ruined," said she.

--"You used to call home-life a hag-ridden dream,

And you'd sigh, and you'd sock; but at present you seem

To know not of megrims or melancho-ly!"--

"True. One's pretty lively when ruined," said she.  

"--I wish I had feathers, a fine sweeping gown,

And a delicate face, and could strut about Town!"--

"My dear--a raw country girl, such as you be,

Cannot quite expect that. You ain't ruined," said she.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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Hardy leaves this poem open to interpretation, but many lines suggest that 'Melia was a prostitute, rather than the wife of a rich man. The use of 'ruined' shows the loss of virginity, however if it was through marriage this was not necessarily considered a sinful thing at the time, but more a natural way of continuing the family name and having children.Therefore this suggests that she is instead a prostitute. Through the musical lilt and nursery rhyme tone of the poem Hardy is trying to inject happiness into a description of a woman who is actually in an awful position. Through this he creates the irony and naivety of the young farm girl, who admired 'Melia despite the fact that beneath her elegant exterior she was fundamentally unhappy and unable to escape her lifestyle.

| Posted on 2015-09-24 | by a guest

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I think the poem is about a nameless girl and Melia. The nameless girl got shocked because she just see a girl that always been a farm girl in a prosperity way.

| Posted on 2014-08-22 | by a guest

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This poem is about an unexpected encounter between two ladies of old accquintance:Amelia and a nameless lady. In the first three lines of the first stanza, the nameless lady is astonished as to seeing Amelia in town and in a fine garment that portrays her prosperity. Amelia replied her saying "O didn't you know I'd been ruined?" "Ruined" in this context represent a girl/lady in the society who has lost has moral value and standing(although women were not given much thought). Amelia was telling the girl that she's now a "ruined" person I.e a prostitute/a mistress to wealthy men but her accquaintance is oblivious to it.

| Posted on 2014-07-02 | by a guest

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we are studying this poem in english. i hope this helps with anyone\'s analysis.
this poem is a form of dramatic dialogue. in the poem, hardy presents a conversation between two old aquaintances, one of whom is named Amelia. as they talk, the role and treatment of women during the victorian era reveals itself as a major theme in the poem. hardy is making a social comment. women were unequal to men, and were forced to project an image of morality. if they shunned this they were seen as tainted or \'ruined\'.
another few main themes in the poem are: irony, satire, dialect. you may also want to consider her name, which could relate to the word \'ameliorate\', meaning \'to improve\'.
the poem is mainly the nameless person admiring amelia\'s new lifestyle. she does not know that, by calling herself ruined, amelia is a prostitue. when annotating this, you may want to comment on the ballad-like style, the rhyme scheme (aa bb cc bb dd bb...), the comparisons between her two lives and also where she slips back into her old dialect at the end with the \"aint\".

| Posted on 2012-04-30 | by a guest

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she got ruined mentally and phisically so its daggerin tiiime

| Posted on 2012-03-23 | by a guest

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this is a beautiful poem; it relates to sucieties social conventions about urnan woman.

| Posted on 2012-03-03 | by a guest

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\"Bright feathers three\"- wearing three feathers was a sign of prostitution.

| Posted on 2012-02-20 | by a guest

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Is the \"Ruined Maid\" a prostitute, a high class mistress, or the wife of a well-to-do gentleman? Hardy does not give us the answer as we are brought to a more significant conclusion, they are one in the same thing. Hardy focuses on the surface differences between the before maid and the ruined after maid from the perspective of a friend, associate, or relative in her previous provincial existence. The word \"ruined\" signifies loss (of innocence) through a compromise of values, the most likely of which is the holy value of virginity. However, her materialistic, big city lifestyle is also a compromise of values, as is her compromise of language, cheery disposition, and appearance. Her gait is a \"strut,\" drawing similarities to prostitutes, but her language is ironically low--ain\'t--compared to her respectful provincial upbringing. All we are certain of is Hardy\'s satirical play suggesting the moral bankruptcy of urban women and their materialistic lifestyle.

| Posted on 2012-02-06 | by a guest

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This is a dialogue between Melia, a former farm girl turned prostitute and and unnamed farm girl. The unnamed farm girl marvels at Melia\'s changed life, but doesn\'t seem to fully understand Melia\'s profession. Melia doesn\'t hesitate to inform the unnamed girl that she is a prostitute and \'ruined\' but she still seems to wish that she were more like Melia.

| Posted on 2011-05-22 | by a guest

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I think the poem refers to Melia, a former maid who quit her grubby lifestyle only to become a protitute. She runs into an old friend by chance in town, and her friend continuously describes just how much Melia has changed.

| Posted on 2011-04-25 | by a guest

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I think that this poem ends with another one of hardy\'s \"i\'ll leave it to you\" conclusions. It seems that the ruined maid could have been married off yet she doesn\'t mention it so it could just aswell be that she became a prositute. I think Hardy has left it to the reader to decide judging by the impression that the reader gets from this poem.

| Posted on 2010-10-31 | by a guest

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Actually this is about a farm girl going into town and meeting a former farm girl who has obviously changed. The one that is finely dressed was seduced by the lord at the manor where she worked and was married off happily. Unfortunatley, getting off with the lord destroyed her reputation.

| Posted on 2010-10-28 | by a guest

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This poem is actually about a maid who became separated from her old master by her own choosing to run away into the city and get married and as a result lose her virginity. Maid meaning a woman who still has her virginity intact and ruined meaning one who has lost her virginity. The bonus to her becoming \'ruined\' being that she has all of the new worldly possessions. The disadvantage being that she is not locked into a man and this new city lifestyle.

| Posted on 2010-10-19 | by a guest

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The poem consists of two old aqaintances unexpecidely encountering one another in the city/town. years have past and many changes have happend to one of the women (Ameila) whilst the other remains the same. The other constantly draws comparisons between the old country Ameila and the new town Ameila. Amelia willingly and confidently admits that the changes one can see in her, have occured becuase she is a ruined woman. She shows no remorse in her answer but instead appears prideful, that she has escaped a life of poverty and unhappiness and has gained herself a life, even if it is extremely materialistic, it is still better than what she had before. It is really interesting poem and quite revolutionary of Hardy to write so explicity on the fall of woman without portraying her as sinful. Its fantasitc and a nice change to other Victorian Literature concerned with the fallen woman.

| Posted on 2010-03-31 | by a guest

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Actually, the poem consists of dialog between two sisters. The sister who went to the city doesn't think highly of herself, the whole concept of the poem is the "ruined" sister explaining to the other sister that "you may envy me, but you don't want this." What's she is referring to is how she has been ruined. She has been ruined because she became a prostitute in the city, she gave up her virginity, a precious gift, for a better life, a life in prostitution to get by in the city.

| Posted on 2010-01-25 | by a guest

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This poem is a maid speaking to her old master. She is now well off, but refering to herself as "ruined."
Thats all I got on this one.

| Posted on 2009-11-29 | by a guest

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