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‘The women in Black‘ and The Signalman

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Wide reading assignment Stories within the genre tend to be made up of similar elements we have looked at the devices used by the writers within the genre to see how a ghost story is constructed. As a class we have looked at two stories, one written by the author Susan hill. The name of the story is 'The women in Black'. This story has been written in the 20th century, the other book we have read is by Charles Dickens's, this story being called 'The Signalman'. Both of these stories have been written for the era of the 19th century. Susan Hill in her story has tried to imitate the language used by Charles Dickens and other writers of the era by using long and complicated sentence structures also the author has used 19th style text. The main reason I feel why Susan Hill has tried to imitate the writing style of that era is due to the fact ghost stories of that time were more realistic as people in the 21st century feel these were colder, dark and a more mysterious time to live in. In the genre of ghost stories there are certain things which are used as a basic structure for the story. These characteristics involve timing, setting and haunting, as well as this in a ghost story the author must build up suspense along with an atmosphere. 'The women in Black' is a lot longer than the signalman which means the story of 'the Woman in Black' can go into more detail, which I think is more effective than 'The Signalman's' 'Straight to the point' haunting. ...read more.


Kipps says that the Woman at the funeral had a 'wasted face' which straightaway makes you think of death. In addition to the isolation of both places there is a sense in both stories that both people who are being haunted are very lonely. In 'The Signalman' the signalman himself is very lonely as he is stuck down a tunnel on his own with no one to talk to. This makes the reader feel that there is a caution to this character and maybe he is just seeing things. In 'The Women in Black' Arthur Kipps is very lonely and agitated at the start of the novel losing all of his composure and awareness. This however is changed when he gets the companionship of a dog named spider. The novel at the start was about how Arthur Kipps was going to solve the mystery of eel Marsh house by himself. This though is not so, as slowly Arthur deteriorates leaving him with a lack of self-esteem. The dog is brought into the story not just as a dog but as a companion for Arthur. The dog is used for two reasons: The dog is a companion and a reality check for Arthur Kipps. Spider being a dog can supposedly sense death a lot better than a human so it he is there to find more clues about 'The Woman in Black' Both of these stories have certain elements about them, which gives the story an uncanny feel to them. 'The Women in Black' has a good start due to the description as you can imagine how the characters and settings would feel and look. ...read more.


This is furthered by the fact that he cant get into the nursery so instead he has to listen to noise making his reality slip away all the more so. In addition to the noises Arthur encounters at Eel Marsh house there is the unfamiliar sense of silence. The silence in the novel is always countered straight after by the act of the ghost or an unexplainable action that is in no way good. So when silence is broken out in the story this straight away puts the reader on edge as they no that some sort of haunting is about to happen. There is one difference between these two stories and that is time length. The story is only spread over a couple of days, but that is all it takes for the narrator to get involved. There is a slight bit of history told by the Signalman, this being the murders, but that is it. Also the story only ever takes place at the signal box. I feel this is due to the fact that it keeps all the tension in the story. 'The Woman in Black' is set over a lot longer period with over a hundred years of history before it. There is a lot of history behind Eel marsh house which Kipps finds clues to throughout the novel. A few clues that are in the plot are; the death with the pony and trap, the nursery room and at the very start of the novel where Kipps sees the children at the playground. All of these scenes are definite suspense builders putting the reader on the edge of his/her seat. ?? ?? ?? ?? Page Ben Jones 5/17/2007 ...read more.

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