The two main characters in the short story “How I Learnt to be a Real Countrywoman” by Deborah Moggach are Ruthie and her husband, Edwin. They live with their three small children. Edwin’s mother and another mother at the children’s school are also mentioned.
When the story takes place, the two spouses spend their first Christmas in the Somerset countryside, where they have moved after Edwin lost his job in London.
Ruthie and Edwin are opposites: while Ruthie enjoys life in the city, social interaction, and material things, Edwin is drawn to nature and has a calling for life in the country. As Ruthie follows him to the countryside, we get to see how she adjusts to a new environment and finally manages to find a sense of belonging, even if it is through unconventional means.
Since Edwin takes on the role of the male provider, and does not often spend time with the children, Ruthie is the one who takes care of them. There are hints that she invests a lot of time taking care of them. Both characters develop throughout the story. Edwin becomes more honest with his wife, and Ruthie finds a sense of purpose through her actions to save Beckham Wood.
You can read a full characterization of Ruthie and Edwin in the following pages.