Choice of words
The language used by Deborah Moggach in the short story “How I Learnt to be a Real Countrywoman” is descriptive. The story is mostly written in the past tense, as the events presented by Ruthie are part of a flashback to the previous year. The end of the story is, however, written in the present tense, as it presents current events.
The style of language is mostly informal, using simple sentences: “The last one was a brown envelope. Edwin opened it.” (ll. 4-5). Contractions are often used, mainly to give the narrative voice an authentic feel and to make the characters more approachable: “That evening I didn't watch TV” (l. 178). Formal words, such as “bemoaned” (l. 150), “toiled” (l. 72), or “brutish and philistine” (l. 64), are mostly used when Ruthie refers to Edwin and to his old-fashioned traits. She often presents him ironically, which is also obvious in the expression “Real Values” (l. 153), written in capital letters to mock Edwin’s idealistic opinions.
There are a few words in Latin in the story, such as “potamogeton densus and riccia flutans” (l. 267), which are the scientific names for plants. They are used to demonstrate Ruthie’s scientific way of connecting to the plants she buys, and her systematic transformation of the woods.
When it comes to the choice of words, the story initially differentiates between life in the city and life in the country, yet presents them as similar in the end. When she talks about the city life, Ruthie uses word...