The short story “How I Learnt to be a Real Countrywoman” by Deborah Moggach follows a non-traditional plot structure. The events are not presented chronologically, as most of the story is a flashback to events that happened the previous year. Furthermore, the story does not have a traditional exposition or a climax.
The main characters are Ruthie and her husband, Edwin, an English couple living in the countryside. While Edwin is romantic and a nature enthusiast, Ruthie is more of a city girl and dislikes life in the countryside.
The main setting of the story is Somerset, a county in South West England. The most important location is Beckham Wood, which lies across the field from Ruthie and Edwin’s cottage. The wood becomes a central point in the story because of Ruthie’s efforts to save it. The social setting focuses on life in the countryside versus the city, and the ways in which people adjust to it differently.
The story is told by Ruthie, who is also the first-person narrator. All the events are told from her perspective, and we see other characters, such as her husband, through her eyes.
The language is mostly informal, which makes the narrator’s voice sound like natural speech, becoming more authentic. The choice of words also evokes the countryside atmosphere, and suggests the ways in which characters relate to the setting.
A full analysis of the short story can be found in the following pages.