The Ruined Maid Analysis

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Security and success go hand in hand. In certain circumstances, the need for security can drive humans to engage in poor decisions. The opportunity for a successful life can push a person’s personal boundaries in the search for security. This is the case in Thomas Hardy’s “The Ruined Maid.” ‘Melia leaves her poor farm life when presented with the invoking riches of a prosperous life. In this Victorian Era, ‘Melia had to lose her purity for wealth, regardless of the judgement she received. She meets a friend from her old life who praises her, admitting jealousy for ‘Melia’s newfound fortune, unaware of the gloomy situation. “The Ruined Maid” uses imaginative word choice, shifting tone, and dialogue to portray the penalty of wanting everything,…show more content…
Compared to ‘Melia, the other woman radiates gleefulness toward the rich woman who ironically loses her own happiness. The other woman exclaims, “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?” (1-3). The “country girl” has an upbeat, yet oblivious tone. She complements ‘Melia in a praiseful way, but does not truly understand what dark tasks ‘Melia has to perform to earn her elegant life. This creates uneasiness because ‘Melia constantly hints to her tainted life, but the other woman can not bother to see past the illusion. ‘Melia states, “True. One’s pretty lively when ruined,” (20). ‘Melia uses a monotone voice throughout the poem. Her tone symbolizes that even though she seems to have a good life, her spirit no longer exists. Losing her purity and dignity has caused her to lose her happiness in a new world full of luxury. The shifting tone throughout the poem shows that a wealthy life does not always lead to happiness, but true happiness comes from having a free spirit, which cannot be…show more content…
Hardy uses distinct dialogue between the women, showing their different social rankings. The “country girl” states, “At home in the barton you said thee’ and thou,’ / And thik oon, and theäs oon,’ and t’other’; but now” (9-10). The other woman’s distinctive dialect and usage of slang shows the difference between their education. ‘Melia would never think of using those specific words ever again, while the “country girl” reminds her where she came from. The usage of dialogue allows an insightful look into what has become of the women. Even though ‘Melia’s status has changed, her true self still shows through when she says, “My dear— a raw country girl, such as you be, / Cannot quite expect that. You ain’t ruined,” (23-24). ‘Melia in some way accepts her old life. The opportunity of a better life intrigued her curiosity and molded her into a prosperous woman. However, that curiosity killed her spirit and the dialogue shows that. Toward the end she unveils the meager illusion and shows that she still has a foot in her old life, but keeps the other in high society. Her wealth ultimately causes her unhappiness and fear of living between two ruined lives. The dialogue of the poem portrays a situation where the facade of wealth and glamour do not always hold up to its expectations. Hardy’s use of literary devices in “The Ruined Maid” presents the consequence of doing anything
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