Structure

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Beginning

Deborah Moggach’s short story “How I Learnt to be a Real Countrywoman” begins in medias res, with Ruthie talking about an event that happened last Christmas: “We were sitting in the kitchen, opening Christmas cards” (ll. 1-4). The first tension point is created almost immediately, when Ruthie and her husband learn about the local council’s plan to build a ring road through the wood near the couple’s house (ll. 11-12). Ru…

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Middle

In the rising action, an important tension point is reached when Ruthie comes across a piece of information that provides her with a mission: “And then, on Boxing Day, I had a brainwave.” (l. 106). Her husband reads an article about the local council spending a good deal of money to build underpasses meant to save “a colony of Great Crested Newts.” (l. 116). Ruthie comes up with the idea of saving the wood and preventing the ring road from being built there. However, she hides this idea from her husband and feels excited at the prospect of her futu…

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Ending

The story’s ending is quite straightforward and anticlimactic: Ruthie simply explains that her plan was a success: “They didn't build the ring road past us; they're building it through the riding stables. This is because our wood has been designated a site of Outstanding Scientific Interest.” (ll. 304-306)

The falling action indicates that the entire story, until this point, was a flashback to the previous year’s events: “It's August Bank Holiday today and people have come from all over, it's been really interesting.” (ll. 311-312). With the wood being declared a safe place for rare plants a…

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