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Woman In Black

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Introduction

Susan hill uses various techniques to create tension in the first few chapters. One of the most obvious ones is that she frequently refers to the weather in her story, which, like it usually does in gothic genre stories, reflects the mood of the main character at the time. This is shown at the beginning where the weather is described "We had had rain, thin, chilling rain and a mist that lay low above the house," which implies that something should be happening soon. The weather at the start of the horror story is much worse, and it begins with an exaggerated, but surprisingly effective description of a London 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 ...read more.

Middle

She basically builds up the tension by giving the fog human characteristics (personification) in this sentence 'yellow fog, a filthy, evil-smelling fog.' She often uses the weather to build up the atmosphere/tension like above, but not because of the main events, they entice the reader, although they don't actually lead up to anything they still keep the reader interested, for instance "the train had stopped, and the only sound to be heard was the moan of the wind" sounds like it will lead to something very sinister, whereas in actuality it turns out that the train had to wait for another to pass. Basically, the weather is used to set the tone of the story and to provide teasing hints which build up the tension. ...read more.

Conclusion

Another one of Susan Hill's masterful techniques is the choosing of the narrator. Rather than taking an entirely neutral person, who exists outside of the plot, or by placing you very firmly inside the main character as a first person perspective, she chooses to make the main character the narrator, however he is looking back over his experience, so he alone knows what will happen at the end, but he also expresses the feelings of the main character perfectly, because that is who he is. For example "It would be easy to look back and believe that all that day I had had a sense of foreboding about my journey to come, that some sixth sense, some telepathic intuition that may lie dormant and submerged in most men, had stirred and become alert in me." In this quote, the narrator is clearly looking back, and hints at events to come. ...read more.

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