We began the lesson by reviewing the work done in the previous lesson and reading our last post. We noted that Radhika had set a high standard of quality for her notes taken.

We had to come up with a statement to add to the ‘About Us’ section of the blog.

We were given a comparison grid for the 15 poems in the AQA Character and Voice cluster in the literature anthology.





To start, we sat down together and compiled ideas for the last poem that we studied ‘The Ruined Maid’. Miss Ryan sat down with us to do this and we completed the 6 rows of the grid together.

Miss Ryan began by performing an effective reading of the poem to remind us of the main ideas.

 This is what we found: ‘The Ruined Maid’

Ideas and Feelings: Two women reunite after a long period of time. They both used to be poor, country women, but one (Melia) has become a prostitute.

  • Jealousy/Resentment.
  • Poverty.
  • Honesty.
  • Pride.
  • Contrasts.


  • 6 stanzas consisting of 4 lines each.
  • Two rhyming couplets per stanza.
  • Form – Ballad.
  • Melia always says the last line of each stanza – she has the final word.
  • It shows DIALOGUE (two speakers) between the two characters. Contrasting with ‘The River God’ and ‘Medusa’ which are both MONOLOGUES (one speaker)


  • The last word on the 3rd line of each stanza has a dash. We felt that this could show many things. Perhaps it is highlighting the phonetic pronunciation. It also could show the lack of education of the poor, unnamed girl.
  • ‘Thy’, ‘O’, ‘Barton’ (barn), reveal the 19th century context.
  • The country girl is shown as surprised and friendly. The use of exclamation marks and rhyme help this tone.
  • It is light-hearted.
  • When read aloud, it has a humorous tone.
  • Melia is shown as rebelious/unusual for a woman (especially in those days) to be so proud of being a prostitute.

Poetic Techniques:

  • Rhyming Couplets.
  • Metaphor – line 12 ‘Some polish is gained with one’s ruin’
  • Simile – line 13 ‘Your hands were like paws then’
  • Metaphor – line 13 ‘Your face blue and bleak’
  • Personification – line 14 ‘I’m bewitched by your delicate cheek’.
  • Mostly written in iambic pentameter – adds to the song like tone.

Miss Ryan is planning a revision activity for those of us who have forgotten about poetic techniques.

Key words:

Rhyming couplet – two consecutive lines that rhyme.

Metaphor – to directly compare one thing to another.

Simile – to make a comparison using the words ‘like’ or ‘as’.

Personification – to attribute human characteristics or actions to an object.

Iambic Pentameter – a line of poetry with 10/11 syllables, 5 of which would be stressed (emphasised) when spoken aloud. It replicates natural rhythms of speech: ‘I’m going to buy a can of Fanta’ or ‘Can we have lasagne for dinner mum?’


  • Women’s voices.
  • Poverty.
  • Power.
  • Ruin/Decay

Personal Opinions:

  • ‘Goodness’ and a moral code don’t always pay off with material wealth.
  • We are made to feel almost jealous of a prostitute.
  • Melia is strangely proud of her career.
  • A contrast between the rich and poor.
  • An insight into the lives of working class women in Victorian times.

When we combine all of our opinions, we come up with the best answer. We learn more when we listen to each other.

We thought we could complete the grid in 6-7 minutes, but it actually took about 15 minutes to compile the information on ‘The Ruined Maid’. We were given time to complete the grid for 2 more poems.

Miss Ryan read ‘Ozymandias’ aloud to help us remember, as we hadn’t read it for about a year. Some notes on the form in ‘Ozymandias’:

  • It is a sonnet: 14 lines, Iambic Pentameter, alternating rhyming .
  • However, there are several aspects that make it an irregular sonnet: the use of enjambment,  irregular rhyme scheme, no rhyming couplet.
  • We felt that the breaks in regular structure mirrored the break in Ozymandias’ power. The fact that only his feet are left could represent his lowest point. The idea of CONTRASTS is also apparent in ‘The Ruined Maid’
  • It links with the decay that we see in ‘The Ruined Maid’ and ‘The Clown Punk’.

Throughout the lesson we made a note of pupil contributions. Here is the tally of the most regular contributors:

Nishita – 8

Radhika – 5 (But she shouted out twice – needs development Radhika!)

Savena – 5

Josh – 4

Vishal – 3

Jack – 3

Karum – 2

Asma – 2

Chandni – 2

Everybody else contributed once, but they had to be targeted to give their opinions. We are looking for these students to have a more active role in contributions next lesson!

Like Ozymandias’ power and the The Ruined Maid’s morals, our time at school is coming to an end. With around 24 lessons left until the exams, we can only achieve if we engage  in what we are doing and listen to each other.