You are on page 1of 19



‘The Ruined Maid’ by Thomas Hardy

Learning objectives:

AO1: respond to texts critically and imaginatively, select and evaluate
textual detail to illustrate and support interpretations.


AO2: explain how language, structure and form contribute to writers’
presentation of ideas, themes and settings.

Pre-reading activity
1. What do you think ‘ruined maid’ might imply or mean? Think about
when the word ‘maid’ might have been used.
2. Use a dictionary and write down the definition of the word ‘ameliorate’?
Copyright © 2010 TES English

uk 2 .tes. Take it in turns to present your version of the quote to the other groups. experiment with different ways of speaking the dialogue from the line. Learn the dialogue from the line you have been allocated and.’ said she.’ said she.’ said she. together.” “‘We never do work when we’re ruined. As a class.  Form new groups with people who are working on the same quotation as you. “‘O didn’t you know I’d been ruined?’ said she.” “‘Some polish is gained with one’s ruin. discuss which versions and interpretations seemed to work best.” “‘My dear – a raw country girl.’ said she.POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE What did the she say?  In groups of three. What is the tone of voice or what emotion or feeling are they expressing as they speak?  Below are six quotations from the poem. take three minutes to make a list of words to describe how someone might speak a line of dialogue. read them a few times. You ain’t ruined. On your own.” Copyright © 2010 TES English www.  Work in groups of six and allocate one quote to each member of the group. One’s pretty lively when ruined.’ said she.” “‘Yes: that’s how we dress when we’re ruined.AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE .” “‘True. Cannot quite expect such as you be.

ht ml Copyright © 2010 TES English www. England. his hometown has had a major influence on the . Investigate Victorian England  Visit the following website to find out information about life for women during the Victorian what are your ideas and impressions? What do you think the poem is going to be about? Think.AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE .channel4. What does the tone of the poem seem to be? ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ Social and historical context  Thomas Hardy was born in 1840 in Dorset. about the title of the poem.POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE 3 Predictions  Based solely on these six quotations from the poem. again. Focus on the following topics in accordance to your surname: Surnames A-F: ‘Women’ and ‘On the pedestal’ Surnames G-L: ‘Hypocrisy and double standards’ and ‘Prostitution’ Surnames M-R: ‘Off Limits’ and ‘Enlightened View’ Surnames S-Z: ‘Redeemability’ and ‘Infection and Violence’ http://www. ideas and dialectal features in his poetry and novels.

tes.POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE 4 Women: ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ On the pedestal: ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ Hypocrisy and double standards: ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ Prostitution: ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ Copyright © 2010 TES English .AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE .co.

uk .POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE 5 Off Limits: ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ Enlightened View: ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ Redeemibility (focus on Dickens and the ‘fallen woman’): ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ Infection and Violence: ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ Copyright © 2010 TES English www.tes.AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE .co.

co.tes. Character B misses his / her old life and but hides this fact by praising him / her. (physically and clothing). Character A is jealous and resentful of is jealous and resentful of Character A. Character A feels sorry for Character B and dismissive. Life for character B seems to have changed for the better. You can mix and match and trial different versions as detailed below. Character B feels sorry for herself. Character A appears to praise and be ways. You are two old friends / neighbours who have bumped into one another whilst out in town one day. praise. Character A still lives in the country (where life and work is hard) and is just visiting town. Character B is embarrassed to have happy for Character B but there is come across someone from his / her old mockery between the lines. their general lifestyle. . Character B flaunts her success. The dialogue should include comments on:  such a surprise / chance meeting. Character A is genuinely happy for Character B mocks Character A’s country Character B. rehearse your scripts for a performance. Life for Character A has not changed. come across someone from his / her old life – but tries to hide this by being flippant Character A feels sorry for herself. When you have a final draft.  life now compared to life before – where they live(d). it is false life.POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE 6 Talk the talk  Work in pairs to devise and write a short script. their work.  how they have changed – in speech. Character B’s success. Character A is embarrassed by the Character B is embarrassed to have changes seen in Character B. etc – or not. Character A feels sorry for Character B. Character B feels sorry for Character A. appearance. personality.AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE . Copyright © 2010 TES English www. Character B has moved to the town and has a new job.

"docks" (second stanza.tes. line 6) are weeds . Hardy uses irony and satire. Hardy presents a conversation between two women. Writers who use satire want the reader to acknowledge such wrongs in society. the role and treatment of women during the Victorian era reveals itself as a major theme within the poem. line 9) is a farmyard .co. they were seen as being tainted or soiled. She has moved away and has changed in many ways. What are your first impressions? Make a note of your ideas.  In ‘The Ruined Maid’.AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE . One of the women is called ‘Melia. and if they deviated away from that . women were not treated equally to men. line 19) are migraines. In the poem. Copyright © 2010 TES English www.  ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ Translator ."megrims" (fifth stanza. As they talk.POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE 7 First impressions  Read the poem. At the time."barton" (third stanza.  Irony: This is a device writers use to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning. What type of poem is this?  This poem is a form dramatic dialogue.  Satire: Satire aims to show the reader the absurdity of human follies and vices. They were forced to project an image of morality.

co.tes. Melia’s life in the town as a ’ruined maid’ .POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE 8 Poetry detective  How has ‘Melia changed? Work in pairs to make a note of examples from the poem in the table below.AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE . etc) daily life Copyright © 2010 TES English www. Changes in: ‘Melia’s life in the country appearance attitude and personality voice (dialect.

POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE 9 THE GREAT SOCIAL EVIL  Examine the content of this cartoon. What does this suggest about the way a woman can achieve success? What are the differences between the prostitute and the maid? What is the general view of prostitution? ‘Gay’ referred to prostitution Consider the advantages and disadvantages of being: A maid A prostitute ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ Copyright © 2010 TES English www. Feed back your ideas to your teacher and the rest of the GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE .uk . In groups of three. discuss the questions alongside and any other ideas your group feels are important.

Is it possible to be virtuous and also have luxuries in today’s society? Why or why not? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE 10 1. Why isn’t it possible to have the advantages of both a maid and prostitute during the Victorian Era? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ 3.AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE .uk .tes. Do other countries across the world have similar attitudes to the position of women? Which countries have this attitude and why is it that way? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ Copyright © 2010 TES English www. What is Hardy saying about the position of women? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ 2.

co. How has ‘Melia gained prosperity? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ 2. What is the reaction of the old friend? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ Copyright © 2010 TES English www.POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE 11 Let’s take a closer look Answer the following questions by providing quotes and analysis. How / why is that ironic? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ 3. Think PEE! Stanzas 1-2 1.AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE .tes. Why is it ironic that Amelia is fit for ‘high company’? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ 2. What is the rhyme scheme? How does that contribute to the tone? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ Stanzas 3-4 .

POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE 12 3.” She answers in an almost a matter-of-fact tone. ‘Melia always has the last line. Do you think there was a reason for this? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ 3. why do you think Amelia slips back into her Dorset dialect when she says: ‘You ain’t ruined. Each time.’.co. At the end of each stanza. Overall. Look carefully at what ‘Melia’s friend says in the final .tes.’ said she. the last line ends with the refrain: “‘…ruined. Why do you think Hardy has decided to use the Dorset dialect? What is the effect? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ Stanzas 5-6 1. Considering that Amelia has become more ‘sophisticated’ in the eyes of her friend. Why is that ironic? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ Copyright © 2010 TES English www. What is satirical about her dialogue? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ 2. what is the serious point or the message of the poem? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ 4.AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE .

___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ Chatterbox  THINK  What is your overall impression of the poem?  Do you think Hardy is a feminist? Do you think that Hardy really feels that the young maid’s life is ruined?  Is the new maid’s life better than her old life? ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________  PAIR Take 3 minutes to discuss your opinions with your partner and justify your ideas.AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE .tes.POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE 13 . Why do you think Hardy decided to use the name Amelia? Look back at the definition of ‘ameliorate’ and determine what Hardy’s message could have ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________  SHARE Feed back your ideas to your teacher and the rest of the class. Add any further issues you have uncovered. Copyright © 2010 TES English www.

co.POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE Theme tree In groups of three. draw a theme tree to capture all your ideas. Copyright © 2010 TES English www.AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE 14 .

AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE . evaluating writers’ different ways of expressing meaning and achieving effects Copyright © 2010 TES English www.tes. meaning imagery tone Structur e and Form language Comparing poems - AO3: Make comparisons and explain links between texts.POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE 15 My Itchy Toes Smell Loads  Complete the table below with what you consider to be the most important quotes and poetic devices within each .

Planning an essay Copyright © 2010 TES English www.tes.AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE .co. ‘The ruined maid’ ‘les grands seigneurs’ Sample exam question  Compare the ways women are represented in ‘The Ruined Maid’ and ‘Les Grand Seigneurs’.uk .POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE 16  Use the Venn diagram to find the differences and similarities between the two poems.

co.5 points of comparison. Don’t just . remember to analyse structural and poetic devices for their effect and meaning.tes. create an essay plan or spider diagram for your essay question.AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE .POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE 17  Using MITSL as a guide. ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ The Ruined Maid Copyright © 2010 TES English www. You must include 3 . When you write your essay. Number each point in the order you would write about them in your exam.

– ‘You used to call home-life a hag-ridden dream.’ said she. such as you be. without shoes or socks.tes.POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE 18 ‘O ’Melia. And “thik oon”. And you’d sigh. but now 10 Your talking quite fits ’ee for high compa-ny!’ – ‘Some polish is gained with one’s ruin. 5 Tired of digging potatoes. but at present you seem To know not of megrims or melancho-ly!’ – ‘True. and spudding up docks. Thomas Hardy Copyright © 2010 TES English www.’ said she. 20 – ‘I wish I had feathers. and “t’other”.uk .AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE . And now you’ve gay bracelets and bright feathers three!’ – ‘Yes: that’s how we dress when we’re ruined. One’s pretty lively when ruined. my dear. – ‘Your hands were like paws then. – ‘You left us in tatters. your face blue and bleak But now I’m bewitched by your delicate cheek. And your little gloves fit as on any la-dy!’ – 15 ‘We never do work when we’re ruined.’ said she. Cannot quite expect And a delicate face.’ said she. – ‘At home in the barton you said “thee” and “thou”. and could strut about Town!’ – ‘My dear – a raw country girl. a fine sweeping gown. and you’d sock.’ said she. You ain’t ruined. and “theäs oon”. such prosperi-ty?’ – ‘O didn’t you know I’d been ruined?’ said she. this does everything crown! Who could have supposed I should meet you in Town? And whence such fair garments.

uk 19 Every effort has been made to contact copyright holders of material reproduced in this If Interactive resources and design by David Riley . we will be pleased to rectify any errors / omissions. Copyright © 2010 TES English www.AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE .POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE Acknowledgments and thanks Written by Chantel Mathias and Amanda Fiegel Introduction and copy by Karen Bishop Audio file scripts and recordings by Barrie McDermid .co.

Related Interests