Ruined Maid and To His Coy Mistress
Both the “Ruined Maid” and “To His Coy Mistress” provide us with
disturbing images / pictures of love, sex and relationships as I am
about to explain.
The “Ruined Maid” was written by Thomas Hardy in 1866, during the time
when women didn’t have sex before marriage and they were thrown out of
their village for being “ruined”. The public at that point in history
had a very strict view of sex and marriage. They thought that women in
particular should never have sex before marriage and they should have
everything taken off them for being “ruined”. They were looked upon as
a disgrace to society.
The “Ruined Maid” provides us with disturbing images and pictures of
love and relationships because the poem is about a woman who has
become “ruined” which means that she’s had sex before marriage. She’s
turned the meaning of this into a good thing while most people thought
that it was a bad thing because it meant that the woman had no
self-respect and that they were looked upon as prostitutes in a sense.
The poem starts with Melia and a woman talking about Melia’s life and
how she’s been because the woman hadn’t seen her in a while, only to
her surprise she discovered that Melia had become “ruined”. Melia has
made the term “ruined” good because she now has rich clothing and lots
of expensive jewellery.
As we know from the film version of the poem, Melia was ruined by a
close friend to the family, her cousin. She was raped in a forest and
this is the most disturbing image, because it showed Melia being
seduced by her cousin and then being raped by him in a revolting
manner. She was looked upon as the one that was in the wrong because
she should have done something to try and put amends to it. Also she
was looked at in a different manner because he could have been saying
that it was her fault and that he could have offered her goods on
plate to him. The poem is about poverty and purity, this meant that
women should save sex until marriage because then they’d know that
they’ve found the right person for them.
The actual poem is written in a Ballard style and it’s conversational