Poems are written for a variety of purposes. For instance, some are meant to purely entertain readers while others attempt to teach a lesson or convey a theme. Thomas Hardy uses his poem “The Ruined Maid” to highlight the importance of people’s backgrounds. He uses content and form in the poem to reflect on this theme by writing about an impoverished girl who gains wealth from prostitution and runs into an old friend while in town. In the poem, Hardy utilizes informal word choice, descriptive word choice, and a dramatic dialogue structure to prove that even though people can drastically change their lives, their roots remain a part of them.
In the poem, Hardy uses informal word choice to show contrast in the way Melia spoke …show more content…
For instance, each stanza begins with the country girl’s dialogue and ends with Melia’s. In most of the stanzas, the country girl describes Melia’s past, compares it to Melia’s present lifestyle, and then Melia herself gives a small account of her present. Two examples of this are found in the second and fourth stanzas, where Hardy writes, “‘You left us in tatters / ...And now you've gay bracelets and bright feathers three!’ — / ‘Yes: that's how we dress when we're ruined,’ said she” (5, 7-8) and “‘Your hands were like paws then, your face blue and bleak / But now I’m bewitched by your delicate cheek / ...‘We never do work when we're ruined,’ said she” (13-14, 16). Throughout these stanzas, the author conveys that Melia is trying to move on from her past by focusing on her present actions. In particular, he writes her dialogue in the present tense with words like “dress” and “do” to show that she does not wish to acknowledge her background. Yet in every stanza, the country girl brings up Melia’s past before mentioning how Melia has changed. This structure indicates that even though Melia is now different, she cannot forget her past because she is constantly reminded of it, and she cannot be who she is now without recognizing her history.
Even though poems may seem inconsequential, writers like Thomas Hardy use them to present significant themes and lessons to readers. In “The Ruined Maid,” Hardy chooses informal and specific words along with a dramatic dialogue structure to prove that Melia’s background remains a part of her despite the change in her lifestyle. If people heed Hardy’s lesson and accept their pasts, they could gain an improved definition of who they are as