18 the ruined maid

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AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE - POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE ‘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. _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ Copyright © 2010 TES English www.tes.co.uk 1

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Page 1: 18 the Ruined Maid

AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE - POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE

‘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.

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2. Use a dictionary and write down the definition of the word ‘ameliorate’?

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Copyright © 2010 TES English www.tes.co.uk

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AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE - POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE

What did the she say? In groups of three, take three minutes to make a list of words to describe

how someone might speak a line of dialogue . What is the tone of voice or

what emotion or feeling are they expressing as they speak?

Below are six quotations from the poem. On your own, read them a few

times.

Work in groups of six and allocate one quote to each member of the group.

Learn the dialogue from the line you have been allocated and, together,

experiment with different ways of speaking the dialogue from the line.

Form new groups with people who are working on the same quotation as

you. Take it in turns to present your version of the quote to the other groups.

As a class, discuss which versions and interpretations seemed to work best.

“‘O didn’t you know I’d been ruined?’ said she.”

“‘Yes: that’s how we dress when we’re ruined,’ said she.”

“‘Some polish is gained with one’s ruin,’ said she.”

“‘We never do work when we’re ruined,’ said she.”

“‘True. One’s pretty lively when ruined,’ said she.”

“‘My dear – a raw country girl, such as you be,

Cannot quite expect that. You ain’t ruined,’ said she.”

Predictions

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Page 3: 18 the Ruined Maid

AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE - POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE

Based solely on these six quotations from the poem, what are your ideas

and impressions? What do you think the poem is going to be about? Think,

again, about the title of the poem. What does the tone of the poem seem to

be?

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Social and historical context

Thomas Hardy was born in 1840 in Dorset, England; his hometown has had

a major influence on the themes, ideas and dialectal features in his poetry and

novels.

Investigate Victorian England

Visit the following website to find out information about life for women during

the Victorian Era. 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.channel4.com/history/microsites/H/history/guide19/part10.html

Copyright © 2010 TES English www.tes.co.uk

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AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE - POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE

Women:

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On the pedestal:

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Hypocrisy and double standards:

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Prostitution:

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Copyright © 2010 TES English www.tes.co.uk

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Page 5: 18 the Ruined Maid

AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE - POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE

Off Limits:

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Enlightened View:

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Redeemibility (focus on Dickens and the ‘fallen woman’):

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Infection and Violence:

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Copyright © 2010 TES English www.tes.co.uk

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Page 6: 18 the Ruined Maid

AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE - POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE

Talk the talk Work in pairs to devise and write a short script. You are two old friends /

neighbours who have bumped into one another whilst out in town one day.

Character A still lives in the country (where life and work is hard) and is just

visiting town. Character B has moved to the town and has a new job. Life for

Character A has not changed. Life for character B seems to have changed

for the better. The dialogue should include comments on:

such a surprise / chance meeting;

life now compared to life before – where they live(d), their work, their

general lifestyle;

how they have changed – in speech, appearance, (physically and

clothing), personality, actions, etc – or not.

When you have a final draft, rehearse your scripts for a performance. You

can mix and match and trial different versions as detailed below.

Character A is genuinely happy for

Character B.

Character B mocks Character A’s

country ways.

Character A appears to praise and be

happy for Character B but there is

mockery between the lines, it is false

praise.

Character B is embarrassed to have

come across someone from his / her old

life.

Character A is embarrassed by the

changes seen in Character B.

Character B is embarrassed to have

come across someone from his / her old

life – but tries to hide this by being

flippant and dismissive.

Character A feels sorry for herself. Character B feels sorry for herself.

Character A feels sorry for Character B. Character B feels sorry for Character A.

Character A feels sorry for Character B

but hides this fact by praising him / her.

Character B misses his / her old life and

is jealous and resentful of Character A.

Character A is jealous and resentful of

Character B’s success.

Character B flaunts her success.

Copyright © 2010 TES English www.tes.co.uk

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AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE - POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE

First impressions Read the poem. What are your first impressions? Make a note of your

ideas.

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Translator

- "docks" (second stanza, line 6) are weeds

- "barton" (third stanza, line 9) is a farmyard

- "megrims" (fifth stanza, line 19) are migraines.

What type of poem is this?

This poem is a form dramatic dialogue. In the poem, Hardy presents a

conversation between two women. One of the women is called ‘Melia. She

has moved away and has changed in many ways. As they talk, the role and

treatment of women during the Victorian era reveals itself as a major theme

within the poem. At the time, women were not treated equally to men. They

were forced to project an image of morality, and if they deviated away from

that image, they were seen as being tainted or soiled.

In ‘The Ruined Maid’, Hardy uses irony and satire.

Irony: This is a device writers use to express something different from

and often opposite to their literal meaning.

Satire: Satire aims to show the reader the absurdity of human follies

and vices. Writers who use satire want the reader to acknowledge

such wrongs in society.

Copyright © 2010 TES English www.tes.co.uk

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AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE - POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE

Poetry detective How has ‘Melia changed? Work in pairs to make a note of examples from

the poem in the table below.

Changes in:‘Melia’s life in the

countryMelia’s life in the town

as a ’ruined maid’

appearance

attitude and personality

voice (dialect, tone, etc)

daily life

Copyright © 2010 TES English www.tes.co.uk

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AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE - POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE

THE GREAT SOCIAL EVIL

Examine the content of this cartoon. In groups of three, discuss the

questions alongside and any other ideas your group feels are important.

Feed back your ideas to your teacher and the rest of the class.

Consider the advantages and disadvantages of being:

A maid A prostitute

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Copyright © 2010 TES English www.tes.co.uk

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What does this suggest about the way a woman can achieve success?

What is the general view of prostitution?

‘Gay’ referred to prostitution

What are the differences between the prostitute and the maid?

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AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE - POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE

1. What is Hardy saying about the position of women?

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2. Why isn’t it possible to have the advantages of both a maid and

prostitute during the Victorian Era?

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3. Is it possible to be virtuous and also have luxuries in today’s society?

Why or why not?

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4. 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?

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Copyright © 2010 TES English www.tes.co.uk

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AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE - POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE

Let’s take a closer lookAnswer the following questions by providing quotes and analysis. Think PEE!

Stanzas 1-2

1. How has ‘Melia gained prosperity?

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2. How / why is that ironic?

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3. What is the rhyme scheme? How does that contribute to the tone?

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Stanzas 3-4

1. Why is it ironic that Amelia is fit for ‘high company’?

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2. What is the reaction of the old friend?

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Copyright © 2010 TES English www.tes.co.uk

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AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE - POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE

3. Why do you think Hardy has decided to use the Dorset dialect? What

is the effect?

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Stanzas 5-6

1. Look carefully at what ‘Melia’s friend says in the final stanza. What is

satirical about her dialogue?

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2. Considering that Amelia has become more ‘sophisticated’ in the eyes

of her friend, why do you think Amelia slips back into her Dorset dialect

when she says: ‘You ain’t ruined,’. Do you think there was a reason for

this?

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3. Overall, what is the serious point or the message of the poem?

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4. At the end of each stanza, ‘Melia always has the last line. Each time,

the last line ends with the refrain: “‘…ruined,’ said she.” She answers

in an almost a matter-of-fact tone. Why is that ironic?

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Copyright © 2010 TES English www.tes.co.uk

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AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE - POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE

5. 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 been.

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Chatterbox

T H I N K

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?

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P A I R

Take 3 minutes to discuss your opinions with your partner and justify your

ideas. Add any further issues you have uncovered.

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S H A R E

Feed back your ideas to your teacher and the rest of the class.

Copyright © 2010 TES English www.tes.co.uk

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AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE - POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE

Theme treeIn groups of three, draw a theme tree to capture all your ideas.

Copyright © 2010 TES English www.tes.co.uk

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AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE - POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE

My Itchy Toes Smell Loads Complete the table below with what you consider to be the

most important quotes and poetic devices within each

category.

meaning

imagery

tone

Structure and Form

language

Copyright © 2010 TES English www.tes.co.uk

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AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE - POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE

Comparing poems- AO3: Make comparisons and explain links between texts, evaluating

writers’ different ways of expressing meaning and achieving effects

Use the Venn diagram to find the differences and similarities between

the two poems.

Sample exam question Compare the ways women are represented in ‘The Ruined Maid’ and

‘Les Grand Seigneurs’.

Copyright © 2010 TES English www.tes.co.uk

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‘The ruined maid’ ‘les grands seigneurs’

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AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE - POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE

Planning an essay Using MITSL as a guide, create an essay plan or spider diagram for your

essay question. You must include 3 - 5 points of comparison. Number each

point in the order you would write about them in your exam. When you write

your essay, remember to analyse structural and poetic devices for their

effect and meaning. Don’t just list.

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Copyright © 2010 TES English www.tes.co.uk

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AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE - POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE

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The Ruined Maid

5

10

15

20

‘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.

Copyright © 2010 TES English www.tes.co.uk

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AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE - POETRY ANTHOLOGY: CHARACTER AND VOICE

Thomas Hardy

Acknowledgments and thanksWritten by Chantel Mathias and Amanda Fiegel

Introduction and copy by Karen Bishop

Audio file scripts and recordings by Barrie McDermid - www.podcastrevision.co.uk

Interactive resources and design by David Riley - www.triptico.co.uk

Every effort has been made to contact copyright holders of material reproduced in this collection.  If

notified, we will be pleased to rectify any errors / omissions.

Copyright © 2010 TES English www.tes.co.uk

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