- Join over 1.2 million students every month
- Accelerate your learning by 29%
- Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
GCSE: Susan Hill
Meet our team of inspirational teachers
- Marked by Teachers essays 2
How does Susan Hill use Gothic techniques to create tension and horror in the chapter In the Nursery in The Woman in Black?5 star(s)
Incorporating both elements helps to achieve the ultimate aim of Gothic literature- to terrify the reader. Susan Hill evokes the fearful, sinister atmosphere using the surroundings and the weather- pathetic fallacy. This can be seen when the narrator, Arthur Kipps, states that: '...all was a uniform grey, with thick cloud lying low over the marsh and a drizzle.' Therefore, the marsh could be a metaphor for the protagonist's mind; Kipps is uncertain and confused, his mind is clouded over. This has a negative effect on the mind of the reader; knowing that Kipps is unsure makes the reader insecure.
- Word count: 2384
"I'm the King of the Castle" - with close references to the text discuss the relevance of the novel's title.3 star(s)
However, I believe that it illustrates a natural instinct amongst humans. And, as a dominating theme of this novel is human instinct, we can see that there is a relevance to the title. The human instincts that are illustrated are, the desire to have their own home and space, where they are free to do what they like, and also to acquire territory. If you take a look at almost any history text book, you will see that wars dominate. The whole of human history is riddled with wars. Wars have become landmarks in the history of civilised human society.
- Word count: 1164
Choose two parts of The Woman in Black which you think are frightening. How does Susan Hill make them frightening to the reader?
The words 'battered' 'roaring' and 'open' emphasise Kipps' vulnerability and exposure to the elements. The sound of these words is harsh and frightening andKipps feels 'like a small boy again.' His fear increases as he hears the ghostly cry of a child in danger. He goes out onto the landing, a 'tremendous blast of wind' rocks the house and the lights went out. This reminds me of a gothic horror movie as in those days they wouldn't have had electricity but paraffin lamps and for them all to go out together has got to be more than a coincidence.
- Word count: 1008
In the third scene Mr. Arthur Kipps is on the train to Crythin Gifford he notices that the train is much less state-of-the-art then the previous trains. Susan Hill started off the ghost like feeling with the journey to Crythin Gifford and the cold, damp and unreliable train. When Susan Hill describes the carriage that Arthur Kipps was sitting in she describes it as if he was 'trapped in (a) cold tomb.' This begins to give the idea of death it also gives the reader the impression that something bad is going to happen in the chapters to follow.
- Word count: 1616
He has to tell himself that it is "stupid to be scared of a rotten bird". Later on, when Hooper puts the stuffed crow on his bed, he is "faint with fear" and wishes for his own death - even though he knows immediately that it is not real. This is just one example of the way Hooper exploits Kingshaw's fears during the novel. When he brings Kingshaw to the Red Room to show him the moths, it seems he just wants to show off.
- Word count: 1260
Both parents do not understand their children well and are distant from them. The evilness in children is shown in the book. It is mainly present in Hooper. His bullying has a big effect on Kingshaw and the evil in it leads Kingshaw eventually to suicide. The suicide by Kingshaw was inevitable as it was the only way out for Kingshaw at the end. Edmund Hooper's evilness can not be fully explained but one might say it is because of his mother being dead and the lack of the attention proper parents normally give. There was no proper influence as Mr.
- Word count: 613
and 'Then she waved her parasol with its foamy edges and quickened her step'. The novel does not say who Marian was waving to, and the fact that she quickened her step, most probably was, because she wanted to get away from where she was, fearing being seen. Marian's mother asks her if she saw anyone in Norwich earlier that day and Marian replies by saying 'Not a cat.'Pg 49 and Leo supports her...forgetting the hour he had spent in the cathedral alone.
- Word count: 1139
Creation of suspense is a characteristic feature of narrative in the gothic tradition.Susan Hill's 'The Woman in Black' is the ultimate ghost story which relies on the use of suspense
Hill's calculated timing of events is also crucial in creating the mood of anxiety. The first hint of atmosphere building up was when Mr Kidd meets Mr Bentley for the job of sorting out Mrs Drablow's papers. From the start of the dialogue between Arthur Kidd and Mr Bentley it is obvious that the latter is intent on seeing how much Mr Kidd knows about Eel Marsh House. There are many short questions, avoiding the reader's attention. Then Mr. Kidd asks "Children?", this demonstrates how Susan Hill spans the question out to draw the reader's attention, and it is clear Mr Bentley most probably knows the answer but is reluctant to tell it.
- Word count: 743
The word "choke" personifies the fog and makes it appear as a murderer. Adjectives appeal to the senses of smell, sight and taste and verbs help to convey the fog is evil. Personification is also used in the description of the fog. "Fog was outdoors, hanging over the river, creeping in and out of alleyways and passages, swirling thickly between the bare trees of all the parks and gardens of the city and indoors, too, seething through cracks and crannies like sour breath, gaining a sly entrance at every opening of a door" The use of personification makes the fog
- Word count: 568
The captivating and picturesque village of Cam, dwelling deep with in the beautiful Cotswold's scenery.
An ancient oak, decayed and discoloured, older than time it's self, quivers in continuous gusts of wind, forcing snow to cascade downward, shattering in every direction. Animal's burrows and hideaways, consumed in snow, only left untouched from the white beauty, if surrounded by dank swathes of mud. Concealed under a blanket of immaculate, untouched snow, lays an awe-inspiring virtue of nature, stretched high and seen by all. Nature restored to its true beauty. Grass free from it's cold confinement. Thick swarms of ivy, aggressive in it's growth, an untamed elegance.
- Word count: 925
From the outset, it is what goes unsaid, that grips the reader with both excitement and anxiety. We are held in suspense by Arthur Kipps, the self-described 'even-tempered' man, who, in the very first scene, curiously loses his temper at a Christmas Eve family gathering. The reader is simply told that "'it was not a story to be told for casual entertainment, around the fireside upon Christmas Eve". This inexplicable outburst raises the question of what it is that could have made this seemingly calm gentleman behave in such an unsporting manner - after an innocent rendition of fictional ghost stories by his stepchildren.
- Word count: 1192
The national cross-country championship is tomorrow. I lay in my bed frantic and sleepless because of the everlasting anxious thoughts of the race. I use my remaining time awake to plan my race strategy.
What began as a hobby has grown into the most powerful force that directs my life. I am obsessed. But why cross-country, you may ask me? Isn't this a bit of an over-reaction? Thinking it through, going into the sport naturally talented, I realised that I enjoy running immensely. The national cross-country championship is tomorrow. I lay in my bed frantic and sleepless because of the everlasting anxious thoughts of the race. I use my remaining time awake to plan my race strategy. Everyone is strolling towards the start line. It is pouring down with rain.
- Word count: 1573
Woman in Black Question What features of language does hill use when describing the "London Fog" and how effective is it
In chapter 2 kipps describes the effect the weather has on him "my spirits for many years now been excessively affected by the ways of the weather, and I confess that" Susan hill uses more than 500 words to describe the fog, but at the time she doesn't seem to be going anywhere with it but as you read on in the story you realise that all the describing in the earlier chapters is building the basis for the story to unfold, The mist is paramount to the plot, by the time we get to the end of the book,
- Word count: 603
Susan Hill also uses first person narrative which tells the reader there is something wrong. I also think Spider the dog causes suspense especially when the events happen in the house. 'I realised that Spider was up and standing at the door, every hair of her body was on end, her ears were pricked, her tail erect, the whole of her tense, as if ready to spring' (107) here you can see the reaction of Spider as she stands frightened of whatever there was in the house and in other places too e.g.
- Word count: 1184
The despot's wit took him nearer to his opportunity. He offered the small key to "open one of the cases" so that Kingshaw could touch them but Kingshaw was very overwhelmed by his fear that he replied Hooper with a straight "No." four times. That only led himself deeper into the tyrant's trap. Not only did Kingshaw's answers betrayed himself, he also started "moving backwards" and "only wanted to get out of the room". This incident in the room only brought Hooper to confirm his suspicion of Kingshaw having a fear for dead things.
- Word count: 1255
What technique does Susan Hill use to create tension in I'm the King of the Castle. Refer closely to the two incidents in the novel to illustrate your answer.
This is only possible because the narrator is not a character in the novel and is allowed to be anywhere, anytime. A limitation of this technique is that the omniscient narrator is in control of what the readers are exposed to and this may in turn produce a biased thinking against a certain character in the novel. This is proven when this narrator tells very little about what Hooper truly thinks and feels towards people, especially Kingshaw. Since the readers have no clue about what he is going to do next, this adds the twists and element of surprises in the plot.
- Word count: 764
His timidity allows him to be easily vulnerable: "He shrank from the impression in the boy's eyes, from his knowingness. He was his mother's son." Joseph hooper is so apprehensive, he is threatened by his own son. We can notice he is also a kind of "desperate" guy by the way he acts towards Miss Kingshaw and by the fact that he wants her recieves her in his house without even knowing her well enough. His insecurity and fear of approximating to Miss Helena Kingshaw resembles his lonesomeness.
- Word count: 1946
His purpose of the house with its ancient history and intimidating look on the outside, and its superiority by having dark wooden oak panelling and many rooms which are placed there for a purpose, only proved that there is no feeling of warmth and homeliness. Warings is also surrounded by the constant presence of death due to the morbid atmosphere in the house as created by the Red Room, the attics that are filled with dead things. Hence, we are able to see the psychological effects that the house has on its occupants.
- Word count: 1327
Also, Kingshaw is known to be claustrophobic and thus this nightmare proved to be very traumatizing towards him. It can be seen from these quotes "beach was very small" and "crowds of them, thousands of boys, as far as he could see, and more kept arriving, sitting down and pushing in, tighter and tighter" which gives an impression of the area surrounding him was becoming smaller and smaller, thereby enclosing him into a tight spot. He can never escape from Hooper and particularly he is imagining how the boys at Hooper's school will outnumber and trap him. The boys surround him, bringing out his claustrophobia, trapping him on the beach and forcing him to watch the horrible Punch and Judy Show.
- Word count: 709
Most books he's written are in the first person and the main character is usually a boy of 12-18. Most characters he's created are shy and timid, which is perhaps a reflection on himself as a boy. The book 'Heroes', is set in Frenchtown based upon French hill in Monument, after WWII. This is reflected by the use of the French-Canadian accent by Mrs. Belander. We also know people in Frenchtown have French influenced names: e.g. Marie LaCroix and Joey Leblanc. In addition in chapter 3 Mrs. Belander asks Francis a question in French and Francis is able to answer.
- Word count: 2624
He grins and laughs a bit and I smirk back at him, puzzled but amused by the laughter. When the bus climbs up the hill where my school is a sense of dread and uncertainty creeps in on me. Upon arriving everyone rushes off the bus. I on the other hand like to sit and wait for a while. A wide walkway, paved with slabs of stone and running between two concreted sports areas, fenced with metal, mimicking the steel bars of prison, leads to a large flight of stairs.
- Word count: 979
Susan Hill, in the introduction to 'The Woman In Black' acknowledges M.R. James' 'Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad' as a source for her modern ghost story. Consider the similarities and differences between these two texts.
James on Susan Hill's 'Woman In Black' is evident not just in the introduction to the novel, but similarities linking the two are common throughout the text. At the beginning of both texts we meet the first similarity between the two, the setting. Both are set in unfamiliar or unknown places, which is the first step to create a small sense of mystery in the story. Moving away from the familiar adds effectiveness to the eerie storylines, the less we know about something, the more scared we can be by it.
- Word count: 1512
Joseph is very old and has a thin face. Joseph was somehow very oppressed about his father's paperwork; and he was ashamed of the 'paraphernalia' of death. He labels his father after his death and his deeds and papers. Joseph is an uncaring parent and he doesn't like to spend time with his son, because he lets him have his freedom and he can do whatever he wants. Edmund is a master of himself, with no one to tell him off.
- Word count: 5186
However, Kingshaw pretends to be unafraid and even acted a brave front to Hooper. Kingshaw's imagination then ran wild and he starts thinking of terrifying things that started to make him even more afraid. When he heard the faint sound of the truck, he started hitting and pounding on the wall of the shed, desperate to get out of the shed. Kingshaw's nightmare was also based on his experience and fears. He feels isolated and frightened despite the fact that many people are surrounding him. His friend Devereux did not respond to him. Similar to Warings, where he was surrounded by people.
- Word count: 971
Box Hill is an area which lies on a layer of exposed chalk, meaning that the importance of chalk here is essential. 1755: We have chosen to study grid square 1755, as it contains Box Hill Country Park and its surrounding area. It is a popular area, which is frequently visited and can be easily accessed by the A24 and by the local train line. The peak of Box Hill, also indicated in the grid square, is a place where people come to see the incredible views of the downs.
- Word count: 5532