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Character Studies in the Ruby in the Smoke

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In the novel Ruby in the Smoke, Phillip Pullman has created sleazy, nasty villains and wholesome, trustworthy, kind-hearted heroes and heroines. This character study looks at the behaviour of these important heroes and heroines in vital events in the novel. It also includes details about their appearance, personality and lifestyles. 1. Sally Lockhart Set in 1872, the Ruby in the Smoke involves sixteen year old Sally Lockhart. Sally is uncommonly pretty at the time; the quotation at the start of Chapter 1 shows us this: 'She was slender and pale, and dressed in mourning, with a black bonnet under which she tucked in a straying twist of blonde hair that the wind had teased loose. She had unusually dark brown eyes for one so fair.' Sally Lockhart is a serious middle-class orphan whose late 'father' taught her a variety of useful things; accounting, Hindustani, marksmanship, finance and shooting: 'As a result, her knowledge of English literature, French, History, Art and Music was non-existent.' Sally's lack of insight in these quarters caused trouble with her guardian Mrs Rees and so her stay there ended. Sally Lockhart shows sensitivity throughout the novel: 'What are you scowling for?' he said at one point ... 'I wasn't scowling,' she said, sounding petulant and childish' Sally's sensitiveness also links in with her willingness to let Frederick Garland take charge, this quotation helps us visualise this: 'She was in danger ..., and was glad of his company.' ...read more.


This shows that Mrs Holland has no conscience to threaten and blackmail, she is only interested in her personal gain. However, Mrs Holland is dexterous at her trade, she proves that she is manipulative. We can also sense that Mrs Holland is disliked by others: ' "You spider. You calculating old bitch." ' Mrs Holland has earned herself plenty of enemies. In contrast to the selfless and caring heroes, she proves to be greedy and unkind to others throughout the novel. Heartless is an excellent description Mrs Holland's character, this is proved by the following quotation: 'It's the girl ... I'll have her and I'll tear her open, I will ... and I'll have her life.' Mrs Holland is cold hearted, she wishes evil to others and she makes it clear that nothing will stop her from achieving her ambitions. Particularly towards the latter stages Mrs Holland overreacts: 'She thrust Sally aside and scrambled up on to the parapet. She tottered wildly ...' Mrs Holland is unable to remain calm. However, her knowledge of her surroundings was excellent: 'She will find me and drag me out ... She knows everythink. Everythink and everyone.' ' "Sorry, ma'am," ... feeling ashamed of himself and not knowing why.' Mrs Holland shows her authority over others. She has the ability to frighten people and make them work for her in a high standard. In a nutshell, Mrs Holland is a mean, heartless, greedy villain with authority and planning abilities. ...read more.


To consummate, Trembler was a helpful, faithful, unorganised and easy going character. 6. Adelaide Adelaide plays a key part towards the earlier and the latter stages of this novel. Her appearance is shown in the following quotation; ' ... a child whose only feature seemed to be, ..., a pair of enormous dark eyes.' Adelaide is weak and uneducated. The following quotations help us visualise this idea: 'Mr Berry was holding her around the neck with one hand ...' ' ... and so should, by law, be in school.' Adelaide hasn't been a brave contributor to Sally's quest. However, she has been incredibly useful, in an earlier chapter she informed Jim (who in turn acquainted Sally) about Matthew Bedwell. This was of significant use. Adelaide's main characteristic is that she is scared of Mrs Holland. This quotation shows us this: 'Only I mustn't tell Mrs Holland, else she will kill me.' Adelaide is troubled, she is being abused, bullied and frightened by Mrs Holland. Adelaide, unlike Frederick and Jim, lacks determination. This showed in a key part of the novel: ' "Get up here. We got to climb over the wall ..." ' ' "I can't," ... ' This undermined characteristic often caused trouble to other characters. Despite this their like and affection towards her is unhurt: ' " ... there's a good girl.' Adelaide returns this affection with respect, this quotation shows this: ' "Morning miss," ' Adelaide is a kind and caring character, she is soft hearted. To recapitulate, Adelaide is weak, bullied and undetermined but however she proves to be courteous and resourceful. ?? ?? ?? ?? Ravi Ramesh 8.2 1 ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

*** 3 stars

A very detailed account of the novel's characters.
Comments are supported by well chosen quotes.
Be careful of repeating words - alternatives should be found to show a wide vocabulary.
Shows knowledge and understanding of the book.
A few typos and lapses in expression make the meaning unclear in places.

Marked by teacher Katie Dixon 10/05/2013

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