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A Comparison Of Andrew Marvell's To His Coy Mistress And Thomas Hardy's The Ruined Maid

1560 words - 6 pages

A Comparison of Andrew Marvell's To His Coy Mistress and Thomas Hardy's The Ruined Maid

In this essay I will look at the two poems, explore what the poems are
about, look at the language and images used in them by the writers and
then compare the two.

"The ruined maid" by Thomas Hardy is a conversation between two women;
"Melia", the ruined maid herself and another lady, her friend of whom
she used to know when she lived in need. Melia's friend brings up all
different points about Melia that have changed, for example the way
she looks, 'now you've gay bracelets' and acts, 'you'd sigh and you'd
sock' but Melia just says a few simple words in reply.

'To his coy mistress' by Andrew Marvell is a one sided argument and is
about a man trying to persuade his mistress to lose her virginity with
him before her looks and beauty start to go, as she gets older. He
tries to persuade her to have sex with him by using flattery, humour
and frightening, almost blackmailing her by describing different
shocking images.

Hardy writes 'The ruined maid' in an unusual way, one of which is not
usually heard of, he writes it as if it was an actual informal
conversation between two women. He creates this by using various
amounts of punctuation; he uses speech marks throughout the poem, uses
dashes to separate the two different people?s speech, and uses
question marks, explanation marks and further speech marks in all the
appropriate places, which all help to give the effect of the
conversation happening, from the first line to the last and encourages
the reader to think of it more as a dialogue when reading it.

'Your talking quite fits 'ee for high compa-ny!'-

?Some polish is gained with one?s ruin,? said she? is an example of
all those different techniques that Hardy puts to practise, and also
shows us the way that the women speak.

The irony in the poem is hard to ignore. Being ?ruined?, having had
sex out of marriage was frowned upon when Hardy wrote the poem and was
thought of as greatly immoral at the time as a woman?s marital status
was most dependant of this, but Hardy writes the poem as if it
wouldn?t be too bad to be ruined. ?without shoes or socks? to ?you?ve
gay bracelets and bright feathers three? shows that even though she is
ruined Melia has been better off since. And although being ruined was
thought to be a bad thing, Melia responds to the other lady with a
sense of pride, rather then being ashamed which is the way people
would presume she should be like. At the end of the fourth stanza she
says ?we never do work when we?re ruined? almost triumphant about it.
I think this shows that Melia feels better about herself, after being
complimented so much by her friend and her replies make her seem smug,
perhaps showing off. The last lines, ??my dear- a raw country girl,
such as you be, cannot quite expect that. You ain't ruined,? said
she?? again backs this up, that Melia may feel she is better than
...

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