Woman in Black - Theme of Fear (Essay)

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Women in Black – Theme Essay How is the theme of fear and tension presented in ‘The Woman in Black’? The main theme throughout the book is the fear of mysterious ghostly intrigue which is helped by pathetic fallacy of the weather throughout the book to create the atmosphere. When Kipps, the young London solicitor first visits Eel Marsh House, the sun is bright and the “tall, gaunt house” which “gleamed steelily in the light”, stood “like some lighthouse or beacon”. However, when the “thick, damp sea-mist…enveloped” the house the “suddenness..Unnerved and disorientated” Kipps, setting the air of mystery. Arthur Kipps has been sent to Eel Marsh House to sort out Mrs. Drablow’s papers and estate after her death. He is unaware of the tragedy that has taken place there and is frustrated and irritated by the silence and refusal of anybody to answer any questions regarding Mrs. Drablow, extending the mystery. Mr. Daily whom he meets on the train hints at the bleakness of the place. When Kipps jokes about “telling strange tales of lonely houses”, he gave Kipps a look that made hum shudder at “the openness of his gaze”, this foreshadowing along with the “Alarm” and “Suspicion” of the landlord of the Griffin Arms when Kipps told him about his mission. The silence continues the next day at the funeral which Kipps attended with Jerome, the local solicitor, he also avoided answering Kipps questions and at the mention of the lady in black, Jerome “looked frozen pale his throat moving as if he was unable to utter” and when Kipps pointed her out during the service, he almost fainted. The tension is built up by this incident and that of the school children solemnly watching the funeral. Why? Is the unanswered question which recurs again when Jerome won’t accompany him to Eel Marsh House. Again this happened at lunch when the farmer ignored his question to talk to a friend.

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