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 it also makes it clear what time it is. It is all to establish mainly that he is isolated and alone. Arthur’s perspective begins to change towards the end of the first paragraph and he becomes more conscious about what is around him ‘Once or twice, I glanced over my shoulder…’ Susan Hill uses repetition to emphasise that the water is coming in hence Arthur will get cut off by the tide, ‘quite silent, quiet slow’. Here precise detail is used to help the reader’s imagination. ‘I have never been quite so alone, nor felt quite so small in a vast landscape before…’ Susan Hill helps the readers to imagine where Arthur is, a vast landscape with this tiny figure, and it puts into perspective just how alone he is.
The atmosphere changes in the third paragraph, as the tension is built when Arthur realises that he can no longer see, due to the fog and darkness of the evening closing in. Susan Hill gets the atmosphere through the description, and emphasis on the fact that Arthur has gone from the known, his home London, to the unknown, Crythin Gifford. This is shown when Arthur explains about the fog of Crythin Gifford is different to the fog he has experienced in London ‘It smelled and tasted different from the yellow filthy fog of London…’ The fog also shows that he can not see properly, therefore all senses have to be on alert. Arthur is determined to stick to the path, which is one of his attributes, he is determined ‘I walked slowly on, determined to stick to my path…’ However the narrative changes when Arthur realises that he can’t see hence if he can’t see he will end up in the marshes.
In the next paragraph Susan Hill opens with a short sentence, ‘That walk back was a nightmare’ it’s a statement, making it prominent. Susan Hill also uses a metaphor ‘step by slow step’ this metaphor explains the uncertainty which builds up the tension. She then explains that the water is rising when explaining this she uses a lot of descriptive words, adjectives, this is to give the reader a descriptive image of what it happening. Then, the noise of horses is heard, Arthur’s hopes are built up ‘…I heard a sound that lifted my heart…’ This heightens optimism, though in the beginning of the sixth paragraph the optimism plunges down, and it was ‘the mist played tricks with sound as well as sight’. However the noises can still be heard though Arthur doesn’t know where it is coming from normally it would be coming behind him, though he still doesn’t know where, this gives a sense of panic. The words that Susan Hill used to describe the noises that could be heard are onomatopoeias ‘draining, sucking, and churning’. These are words that echo the meaning and help the reader imagine what sound it is. The description of the noise also builds up the tension. In the last paragraph there is a lot of build up with description of what Arthur could hear this is to build up his panic. His panic is much more definite ‘absolute’. She uses a loose sentence structure, this is to show that, it somewhat echoes the panicky feelings of Arthur. Arthur has feelings of being obliterated by the ‘quicksand’ he is convinced he heard the death; he is convinced that this is really happening. Towards the end of the paragraph he realises that it was just a ghost. The building up of the atmosphere works well in this paragraph from the isolation on Arthur to the mist venting feelings on him.
The last passage is in the chapter ‘In the Nursery’. In the first paragraph the sentence that stands out the most is description of the door ‘…-that door was now standing open. Wide open.’ The reason as to why this sentence stands is because it’s a short sentence with no verb, it is an incomplete sentence this gives a dramatic effect. Repetition is also used tells the reader of Arthur’s bewilderment. It gives a sense of questioning, why is it open? This is because the door was originally locked. This heightens the tension. In the second paragraph Susan Hill emphasises that the room is dark by putting a pause making the darkness in the room more prominent ‘beyond it lay a room, in complete darkness….’ Description is much more definite in the second paragraph to heighten the tension, and to also give the reader a more definite picture of the surroundings. Onomatopoeia is used to describe the dogs’ noises ‘sniffing and snuffling’ which is to let the reader imagine what the noise sounds like. In the next paragraph Arthur mentions the chair rocking in a one word sentence ‘Rocking’ this is to make it plain and simple and dramatic.
Kipps then relates the rocking chair to his childhood days, care, and warmth. He associates the noise of the rocking chair against the floor as a sound of security, a protected feeling. ‘It was the sound of the wooden runners of my nurse’s rocking chair, when she has sat beside me very night while I went to sleep…’ There is a precise description, of the bed and the fireplace, which helps the reader visualize every. ‘As I watched, stared until I could stare no harder, it rocked gently…’ the question Arthur is asking himself ‘why is it rocking?’ He is asking himself as well as the reader. ‘…someone has just got out of it’ However Arthur is the only one in the house. There is a sense of unease as the windows are all closed so no one can get out. Susan Hill makes the readers ask themselves questions why? Who could it be? She keeps the reader in suspense.
Susan Hill Believes that a good ghost story depends on the ‘atmosphere’ and ‘a sense of place’. There are many points which a good ghost story should have unfamiliarity, a mystery, description and much more. However I personally believe that without a believable characters and storyline there is no basis of having atmosphere or a sense of place. So overall, yes a ghost story does depend on ‘atmosphere’ and ‘a sense of place’ but it must contain a believable story line with characters.