The Ruined Maid Thomas Hardy Analysis

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During the nineteenth century, women were meant to be pure and submissive. Because ‘Melia is not necessarily the typical woman, she is looked down upon. The “Ruined Maid”, by Thomas Hardy, is a conversation between ‘Melia, who left behind the country for a city life, and a country girl who stayed behind in the country. Hardy implies that ‘Melia is a prostitute; therefore, she is ruined. The country girl, who admires ‘Melia, is obviously unaware that ‘Melia is unhappy and unable to change her lifestyle. Although ‘Melia is able to change her looks, she is unable to truly become a new person and leave the society of the nineteenth century behind. In “The Ruined Maid”, Thomas Hardy uses irony and tone/word choice to show that according to the culture/society, …show more content…
Although ‘Melia seems to be content/happy with her life, the “ruin” is real and when the material things fall away, the society will only view her as a fallen woman. Throughout the poem, Hardy also uses tone/word choice to show how naive ‘Melia is throughout the poem. ‘Melia seems to be content with who she is. Although Hardy presents ‘Melia as the “Ruined Maid” in the title, she still does not seem to see how the women in the nineteenth century were supposed to be. A ‘maid’ is a chaste young woman, and if she is ‘ruined’ she is no longer a pure young woman. ‘Melia’s good name and reputation is ruined. She is looked down upon by society and considered ‘ruined’. Word choice is used again when ‘Melia begins to use slang showing her country roots. The country girl uses a dialect that was considered improper during the Victorian Era. She states, “Tired of digging potatoes, and spudding up docks” (6). The country girl’s dialect shows where she is from, and emphasizes who ‘Melia used to be. ‘Melia explains, “‘My dear- a raw country girl, such as you be, / Cannot quite expect that. You ain’t ruined,’ said she” (23-24). She uses the slang word “ain’t” which shows she holds onto her former life no matter how hard she tries to hide