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The Woman in Black Review

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The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black is a thriller fiction novel written by Susan Hill in 1983. The novel is based in the Gothic times and is centered on one character Arthur Kipps, a Young Solicitor. Arthur is sent off to Eel Marsh House to attend the funeral of Mrs Drablow (A Client) and then sort out all personal documents and files. This is not any normal house though and Kipps is in for a surprise.

The setting is a very important aspect and sets the scene and mood for any story and in The Woman in Black it is no different. The setting is mainly based in Eel Marsh house, a large, eerie, old house built on a small island which is only accessible at certain times in the day. With the house being so remote and desolate this creates a quiet, alone mood and feeling which also lets us, the readers, know that it is not a normal house. The time/era that the story is based in also helps develop the setting. For example, the technology is not as advanced which also provides opportunity to create suspense. One point in the story that really shows this is when Arthur is in the office and hears the Horse and Carriage occurrence echo in his head. This alone is unnerving enough but then the lights cut out. This could make people think of ghosts or something extremely suspicious, but all that happened was the generator that powered the lights had ran out and needed rewinding. Never the less this is still unnerving and it is all caused because of the era. The time/era also affects the speech of the story, with characters speaking in a much more formal dialogue rather than using slang and such.

As with all good stories there is a main protagonist and a main antagonist. In this story the main protagonist is Arthur Kipps. Arthur is introduced at the very beginning of the story as a skeptic, naive young man who believes that there are no such things as ghosts and that we will always receive a rational explanation.

Arthur is the character who goes through the most changes emotionally and mentally, and when he is first told about Mrs Drablow and Eel Marsh House he expects it to be stress-free, although he is unaware of the secrets concealed within the old, proud house. Arthur's emotions are high on end which is supported by this quote, "My emotions had now become so volatile, and so extreme, my nervous responses so near the surface, so rapid and keen, that I was living in the another dimension, my heart seemed to beat faster, my step to be quicker, everything I saw was brighter, its outlines more sharply, precisely defined". One of the powerful emotion changes was in chapter 5 - Across the Causeway. ". . . and the dreadfulness of her expression began to fill me with fear." Arthur is petrified as anyone would be seeing a shriveled elderly face staring at you with eyes full of hatred and malevolence. Another powerful bout of emotion Arthur showed was when he entered the nursery. "But for the moment at least there was nothing here to frighten or harm me, there was only emptiness, an open door, a neatly made bed and a curious air of sadness, of something lost, missing, so that I myself felt a desolation, a grief in my own heart." Arthur felt a deep feeling of emptiness of having walked in to



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