Is 'The Woman in Black' a successful ghost story? - Susan Hill believes that a ghost story depends on 'atmosphere' and 'a sense of place'. Choose three passages from 'The Woman in Black' to show this.

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Natalie Vive-Kananda 11k

Is ‘The Woman in Black’ a successful ghost story?

Susan Hill believes that a ghost story depends on ‘atmosphere’ and ‘a sense of place’.  Choose three passages from ‘The Woman in Black’ to show this.

        Susan Hill believes that the ghost depends on ‘atmosphere’ and ‘a sense of place’.  However, a believable storyline and characters does help bring out the atmosphere and place.  ‘The Woman in Black’ is about a man, Arthur Kipps.  He is the narrator throughout the novel.  Arthur Kipps tells his most haunting revelation that had happened to him, and how by writing his story as a novel, it was hoping to help exorcise the ghost that still haunts him.  He tells the story of when he was a junior solicitor and, how he was ordered by his firm’s partner to travel up from London to attend a funeral and then sort out the papers of the dead woman.  While in Crythin Gifford he glimpses a young woman with a wasted face, dressed all in black.  He sees her at the back of the church during Mrs Drablow’s funeral, and again later in the graveyard to one side of Eel Marsh House.  He is the only one that appears to see her.  However, soon the lady in black slowly reveals herself to him, as is her purpose.

         The first passage is extracted from the chapter ‘Across the Causeway’.  The first sighting that Arthur Kipps has with the woman in black is in the churchyard after Mrs Drablow’s funeral.  Susan Hill picks the right place to have Arthur Kipps’ first sighting of the woman in black.  She has the setting in a churchyard. When the reader comes across ‘churchyard’ you get the image of fear and decay.  Using this Susan Hill goes into describing the churchyard in detail ‘Ahead, where the wall ended in a heap of dust and rubble, lay the grey water of the estuary’.  Susan Hill makes the image very precise.  She also uses distinct contrast, ‘…across the tall grasses, and wild flowers of white and yellow and pink climbed and bloomed among the broken stones…’  When Susan hill explains what the churchyard would be like in July.  She uses colours pink, white and yellow, however in the next paragraph Susan Hill explains how the churchyard is now, in November, and she is using the colour grey, hence the contrast.  The contrast heightens the atmosphere.  Susan Hill then uses metaphors to help the sense of place and heighten the atmosphere, ‘…snake-necked bird came gliding back towards the ruins, and I saw that its beak was hooked around a fish that writhed…’  This metaphor is trying to explain about death and destruction; it also shows that Arthur Kipps senses are wary, showing that he is very uncomfortable in his surroundings and agitated.  When Arthur Kipps sees the woman in black, Susan Hill pin points mainly on the woman’s facial expressions, and this helps the tension and atmosphere of the fear that Arthur must be feeling. ‘…as a desperate, yearning, malevolence; it was as though she were searching for something she wanted, needed…’  Also, when Arthur Kipps sees the ghost, alliteration is used, this is to emphasise the effective vision in the readers mind.  Repetition is also used when the ghost is seen by Arthur Kipps, this is to show the bewilderment of what he has seen, and it also creates an anxious atmosphere, as this builds up the tension.  ‘…as I stared at her, stared until my eyes ached in their sockets, stared in surprise…’  Susan Hill shows the bewilderment of Arthur Kipps when he describes the lady in black in general. It tells the reader that Arthur is definite that what he is seeing isn’t earthly, it isn’t natural, ‘…pallor not of flesh so much as bone itself.’ When the lady in black is being described about her expression words such as evil, hatred and loathing are used, everything is concentrated.  The sentence structure is formatted in a way that builds up both sense of place and atmosphere.  Susan Hill uses a lot of contrast this helps the reader to understand the narrators feeling of being afraid; this is how the fear is built up.  Contrast is more prominent when words such as dry mouth, dread, horror all these words are to do with fear. However in the next paragraph it begins with a blunt short sentence ’it was the woman that moved’ its shows contrast to the previous paragraph and it also shows how much power, motive power, the woman in black has over the narrator, and is very forceful because it is a simple statement.

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        The next passage is taken from the chapter ‘The Sound of a Pony and Trap’.  At the opening of the passage the atmosphere is established by the descriptions of Arthur Kipps’ isolation, when no one is around or can be seen ‘Outside, all was quiet, so that all I heard was the sound of my own footsteps.... ‘.  ‘Across the sky, a few last gulls went flying’ Susan Hill writes so that no detail is wasted, the reason as to why she describes the gulls is to make it clear and distinct to show that nothing is around and ...

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