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Woman In Black The Funeral Of Mrs Drablow

995 words - 4 pages

Susan Hill’s novella ‘The Woman in Black’ tells the story of a young London solicitor, Arthur Kipps, sent to a small northern town to settle the affairs of an old woman, Alice Drablow, who has recently died. When Kipps arrives in Crythin Grifford he finds that the locals are unfriendly; they shun him and refuse to talk of Mrs Drablow. However, after repeated sightings of a frighteningly ill woman dressed all in black, his descent into true heart-pounding horror begins as he tries to figure out the story behind the mysterious apparitions. At the funeral of Mrs Drablow, Arthur Kipps catches his first sight of the Woman in Black.
Hill uses onomatopoeia to create mood and atmosphere; Kipps ...view middle of the document...

Hill employs creepy descriptions to create mood, Kipps describes the woman as “She was quite possibly no more than thirty” and “there was still some faint trace on her features, some lingering hint of a not inconsiderable former beauty.” She's not even your typical ghost who wanders through a big old house, weeping and trying to find its way to a better place. Hill’s ghost is angry and filled with vengeance and will not let anyone stand in her way.
In the funeral passage Hill uses contrasts between light and relative warmth in the churchyard to throw the darkness and lack of warmth of Jennet Humfrye into even sharper relief, “limpid sunshine, comparative warmth and brightness” contrasting with the fog throughout the novel for example at Eel Marsh House. Also here, the use of ‘Limpid’ suggests Kipps’ view of the woman is now very clear, even if she is “some yards back, beside another headstone” which adds to our impression that the woman he sees is real. It is important here, to draw emphasis to Hill taking influence from Henry James’ ‘The Turn of the Screw’ also a gothic novel set in the Victorian era. The imagery of ‘The Woman in Black’ is reminiscent of the ‘The Turn of the Screw’ and the gothic genre as a whole, Hill similarly to James relates the amount of light present in various scenes to the strength of the supernatural or ghostly forces apparently at work.
Hill also repeatedly represents Humfrye as ‘skeletal’ through her language “Skin…. and flesh tautly stretched and strained….bones …eyes sunken back into her head…ravages of the flesh.” The skull is popularly used as a symbol of death, Hill’s description recalls an image similar to that of images of the dead from medieval and renaissance art, from the C19th such as Edvard Munch’s paintings, The Scream; The Scream is the popular name given to each of...

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