Gothic Symbolism In Susan Hill's The Woman In Black

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Susan Hill’s ‘The Woman in Black’ is a popular ghost story where the scene is set in the typical gothic atmosphere, with unexplainable happenings taking place in an isolated location. The author creates tension by using the gothic imagery like dark, mysterious settings, weird characters and places with strange names. The title of the novel itself is symbolic, as black clothes are representative of the gothic genre. As the author herself indicates, one of the main ‘ingredients’ of a full length ghost story in the traditional English style, is the central character - in this case the narrator of the story, Arthur Kipps – who is portrayed as “a sceptic or plain disbeliever and scoffer but who is gradually converted by what he or she sees and experiences of ghostly presences.” The atmosphere is set using several gothic clichés such as the churchyard, the funeral, the remote and mysterious Eel Marsh House, the ruins of an ancient chapel and the walls of an old burial ground, cold and damp weather, the mist, or the mysterious Woman in Black with her pale, wasted face, dressed all in black clothes. Many of these gothic elements are often described using various figures of speech.…show more content…
But it was not a story to be told for casual entertainment, around the fireside upon Christmas Eve.” The reader’s attention is captivated by contrasts between a good meal and a glass of wine, the calm, comfortable room in the inn, the “sensation of slipping down, down into the welcoming arms of sleep, surrounded by warmth and softness, happy and secure as a small child in the nursery” , and the growing tension caused by the strange, reluctant reaction of people when they find out why Kipps came to Crythin Gifford. They all go quiet and refuse to talk about the mysterious Eel
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