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How Does The Writer Create Atmosphere In The Novel

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Debi Hopkins 11A1 Miss Skeldon How Does The Writer Create Atmosphere In The Novel "The Woman In Black" and the Short Story "The Signalman"? "The Woman In Black" and "The Signalman" are both of the same genre horror/ghost stories. This genre is ideal to create a distinct atmosphere for the reader to be drawn into. The atmosphere the author creates for the reader is done so by mainly 2 things. Firstly, the characters, descriptions of supernatural presence, disbelief of the character or narrator and their uncertainty or confusion of conflict. Secondly, the setting, the type of setting chosen is very important and the way in which the author describes it also. When we pick up either of these stories we come to expect certain features from this genre. Both ghost stories have a derelict and isolated setting, very common in a ghost story. Also, many points are set in dark and enclosed spaces, where there is an inability to see clearly. Descriptions are used a lot, especially descriptions of darkness, strangeness and coldness. In both stories, there is a "supernatural presence" that is for the most part unexplained, but is something the narrator can both see and hear. There may be a sense of evil, or the manifestation us one of unrest. It is up to the reader to work out the story surrounding the unnatural presence-sometimes at the same time as the narrator if things are withheld from us. ...read more.


It is not what the signalman has heard that the narrator questions, but merely why he's not being told, how can he possibly help? This leaves the narrator troubled, thus creating an atmosphere of confusion for the reader, as we don't know whom to believe. We are then led into an almost happy atmosphere "lovely evening, and I walked out to enjoy it." Then the story is continued and we are taken back into the ghost atmosphere "I saw the appearance of a man," is repeated as said before. We then find out the signalman has been killed "his face is quite composed," there becomes a solemn atmosphere; we know the signalman has not been damaged but killed. It becomes strange to us as a reader, as we become confused as to where the story begins and ends. What is reality here? We are left with a mystery! The actual story of "The Woman in Black" is a fairly short and straightforward one, but what Susan Hill wants to do is create a sinister and unnerving feel to the story: we tend to see everything through Arthur's eyes, which helps to build up a feeling of tension as we (and he) await the inevitable sinister happenings. It's all to do with mood and atmosphere; the atmosphere mainly created in this book is that of evil. ...read more.


Whenever her ghost is seen, a child dies but in this instant Kipps` wife also dies. In the final chapter, The Woman in Black, Kipps suffers his last tragedy, the death of his wife and child. They lifted Stella gently from the cart. Her body was broken, her neck and legs fractured, though she was still conscious. Our baby son had been thrown clear, clear against another tree. He lay crumpled on the grass below it, dead. This is an unexpected climax at the end of the novel. The novel "The Woman In Black" and the short story "The Signalman", as well as both being of the same genre, they also have other similarities. They both include a spectre within the story and this is what the stories are based around. "The Signalman" introduces not only ghostliness but also death and mourning, this is similar to "The Woman In Black" when the child dies and Arthur Kipps hears horrifying cries. They both have terrible reactions when a death is involved. The Signalman feels he is in some way drawn into the main event, as does Arthur Kipps in the novel. The Signalman has to experience a death, which is torturous to him, but he cannot stop it, as does Arthur in "The Woman In Black". As for the atmosphere in both these stories, the emphasis on the descriptions of darkness, of the setting and of the characters emotions and this helps the reader to feel what is going on. ...read more.

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