Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Comparing characters in the stories Turned and A Lorn milkmaid

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In this project I will be analysing two short stories Turned and A Lorn Milkmaid. I will specifically be focusing on the Women in both stories, discussing their personalities, their problems and how they deal with them. At first I will analyse the Women from both stories separately, I will then discuss all of my analysis and see if any of the women are similar

We start with the women in the story Turned.

The first of the two women I will analyse is Mrs Marroner. She is married to a very rich man. She is a very intelligent woman with a PH.D, She considers herself very superior, and is very reserved; she prides herself on her ability to control her emotions with her strong Boston - bred attitude.

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The second Woman is Gerta. She is a Swedish and is employed by the Marroner’s as a maid. Although poorly educated and young, Gerta is extremely patient and with careful tuition takes to new ideas and learns quickly.

Now that we have a basic outline of the female characters, the story line can now be explained in brief.

The Marroner’s are living comfortably with their maid Gerta. Mrs Marroner is anxious to teach Gerta the ways of the world. Mrs Maroner is a very cold person but has decided to try and use her knowledge and saint like patience to educate Gerta. Gerta is an eighteen year old Swedish housemaid, who a least in Mrs Marroner’s eyes is very na├»ve. Mr Marroner has to go away on business suddenly, Greta and Mrs Marroner are left alone to look after one another. Mr Marroner is delayed by a few months, Mrs Marroner notices that Gerta is looking unwell, at first she suspects home sickness, then illness which are both denied by Gerta. Eventually Mrs Marroner suspects something which Gerta can’t deny � pregnancy. Mrs Marroner is annoyed when she thinks of all the painstaking work she did with Gerta, teaching her to be more refined with men. However, with the combination of her feeling sorry for the poor “child” and Gerta begging at her feet for forgiveness, Mrs Marroner decides to let Gerta stay until she has had the baby, then get them both back to Sweden somehow. A few weeks’ later two letters arrive, Gerta is out and so Mrs Marroner takes them in. The letters are both identical one for Mrs Marroner and one for Gerta, they are both from Mr Marroner. At first Mrs Marroner doesn’t think much of it, Mr Marroner has sent postcards and things like that for Gerta in the past. She left Gerta’s letter on the table and took her own into her room. It started “My poor child”, Mrs Marroner thought this was very strange, as she read on it gave details of Gerta’s pregnancy, and that Mr Marroner was the father. He enclosed a fifty dollar bill and told her if Mrs Marroner finds out be sure to leave your address at his office. Mrs Marroner was outraged she waited for Gerta to get home and told Gerta to open her letter, and read it. Gerta is reluctant but does as she was told. Her letter starts “My dear wife”. It is obvious that Mr Marroner has mixed up the letters and put them in the wrong envelopes. Gerta is sent away to pack by Mrs Marroner, as she packs Mrs Marroner then has a long cry (much against he principles), She then has a cold shower and trys to think. Mrs Marroner regrets sending Gerta away she knows Mr Marroner took advantage of her; she goes up to Gertas room to find her sleeping, Mrs Marroner goes back down stairs.

When Mr Marroner gets home he finds the house deserted, no note or anything. He suspects his wife knows he goes into work the next day. Mrs Marroner’s solicitor presents him with a letter, it just read “we have gone, I will look after Gerta, goodbye”. Mr Marroner stays on his own in the house until curiosity causes him to hire a group of private detectives to find his wife. They eventually track her down to a guesthouse, which she is running under her maiden name. When Mr Marroner goes to see her, she is sitting in the front room with Gerta and her baby. She simply says, “What have you to say to us?” And that’s where the story ends.

Let us examine the women in this story


Not much to say really, a young Swedish girl. Mr Marroner takes advantage of her innocence and gets her pregnant. She is helped by the much more interesting…

…Mrs Marroner.

Mrs Marroner is definitely the most interesting woman in the play. She is educated, has the patience of a saint and despite her upbringings has a warm heart. Lets look at how she handles the key situation in the story, when she finds out what her husband has done. After she sends Gerta away to pack, she goes to her own room and lets all her emotions out by having a big cry. Then she has a cold shower and a warm bath, to clean her body and mind so she can think. She reaches the conclusion that Mr Marroner took advantage of Gerta. She therefor leaves the house and takes Gerta with her, so she can help raise the baby. That takes a lot of courage and shows what type of women Mrs Marroner is.

We now move on to the story A Lorn Milkmaid.

As this story is in a different style to Turned, I’m going to set my analysis out differently. Rather than write a compacted version of the whole story, I’m going to look at a specific scene in the story, for each woman and analyse her reactions etc.

We start with Rhoda

Rhoda is a middle aged dairy worker; she lives in a cottage with her son. Rhoda used to be in a relationship with the owner of the dairy she works at, Farmer Lodge. The farmer ended the relationship a few years ago, he now intends to marry another woman who is considerably younger than him.

The scene we are going to analyse for Rhoda is one in which Mrs lodge comes to visit Rhoda’s cottage. Mrs Lodge is not at all like Rhoda imagined, she has brought with her some useful articles including a new pair of boots for Rhoda’s son. Mrs Lodge is dressed in fairly ordinary clothes as opposed to the rich silk dresses; Rhoda had mentally fitted her with. Rhoda’s son is absent and so Rhoda answers the door. Mrs Lodge bids Rhoda good day. Rhoda cautiously returns the compliment. After various points of conversation, Mrs Lodge shows Rhoda her arm and says. “One night when I was sound asleep, dreaming I was away in some strange place, a pain suddenly shot in my arm there, and was so keen as to have awakened me”. Rhoda looked at the arm; it had bruising on it. Rhoda thought back to her own dream the night before, how she seized the arm of Farmer Lodge’s new wife. Rhoda asked Mrs Lodge how she did it, Mrs Lodge did not know but she thought it would soon disappear. Having delivered the boots Mrs Lodge left, but Rhoda could not stop thinking of her dream.

We can see from this particular this scene that Rhoda is a very insecure person, possibly slightly aggressive particularly towards Mrs Lodge. We know that Rhoda has always been jealous of the farmer’s new wife, it is always on her mind even when she is sleeping, she is dreaming of attacking Mrs Lodge. However, when she actually meets Mrs Lodge she finds her to be a kind woman rather than the ogre she visualised in her dream. However, when Mrs Lodge asks Rhoda if she knows what may be wrong with her arm, Rhoda does not tell her about the dream. This is a further example of Rhoda’s deep hatred for Mrs Lodge.

We will now look at a scene in which we can analyse Mrs Lodge.

This scene is set some years later the mark on Mrs Lodge’s arm is still there, it has also grown into a much bigger scar, which has practically engulfed her whole arm. Mrs Lodge has been told by a spiritualist that the only way she can rid herself of this ailment is to touch the body of a man who has been hanged. After careful thought Mrs Lodge decides to take the spiritualist’s advice. When the Farmer Lodge is away on business, Mrs Lodge gains access to a prison in order to touch a hanged corpse.

Mrs Lodge is in a grey mood; she notices how quickly the man must have been thrown into the cheap coffin because his coat was still sticking out. Looking very sombrely, she walks over to the coffin.

Mrs Lodge is a very gentle woman, she is prepared to go to any length to please other people. It was immaterial to her how her arm looked; however Farmer Lodge refused to touch her until the arm was better. When Mrs Lodge went to the prison she was so considerate as to notice how a common criminal had been placed in his coffin. As she approached the man, she was truly distressed about his execution. This is the ultimate example of Mrs Lodge’s kind nature.


It is clear that the women in these two stories have very little in common. However they all have their own qualities and faults. Gerta the maid from the story Turned has her innocence, however she also has her poor level of education. Mrs Marroner from the same story has her high level of education, but also has her tendency to jump to the wrong conclusions. Rhoda from the story A Lorn Milkmaid has her vulnerability, however she also has the ability to hate another person to the point of obsession. Mrs Lodge has a quality, which is also a weakness her basic kindness allows people to take advantage of her.

I would say the one thing that these two stories in common is the sentiment that no one is perfect.

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