The following sample essay on The Woman In Black Essay discusses it in detail, offering basic facts and pros and cons associated with it. To read the essay’s introduction, body and conclusion, scroll down.
When reading both ghost stories, ‘The Woman in Black,’ and ‘The Signalman,’ the text which I enjoyed and prefered was the ‘Woman in Black. ‘ Susan Hill, the author of this novel creates a menacing and baleful atmosphere that can be rather unsettling for any reader. She also creates a presence of evil throughout the story, as it is portrayed through setting, characters, plot and descriptive language.
Susan Hill sets the first scene in the first chapter with the description of the pleasant festive meal, which had taken place on Christmas Eve at Monk’s Piece.
Arthur Kipps the narrator was fearful of his memories intermingling with the festivities, as his family were rather keen for him to tell a ghost story, ” I was trying to suppress my mounting unease, to hold back the rising flood of memory.
” Unfortunately no one in his family knew what he had been through earlier in his life, when he came to terms with the Woman in Black. The beginnings of both texts are completely different. When first reading, ‘The Signalman,’ it appears that the signalman is in a remote location as it is in a cutting where a train passes through.
The Signalman works alone, making his post a solitary one. ” His post was in a solitary and dismal place as ever I saw.
” ” So little sunlight ever found its way to this spot, that it had an earthy deadly smell; and so much cold wind rushed through it, that it struck chill to me, as if I had left the natural world. ” This last quote tells me that this place is not natural and that the narrator has entered an entirely different world. Both these two texts are written in the 1st person but Dickens uses his narrator in the Signalman to tell the story in the perfect tense.
In, ‘The Signalman,’ the narrator is not actually haunted by ghost so he cannot describe his emotions and feelings whereas in the ‘Woman in Black’ the narrator, Arthur Kipps, experiences the hauntings of the Woman in Black so, is clearly able to express his feelings and emotions about his hauntings. When Susan Hill develops the narrator’s feelings, she uses long passages of description that is rather effective. She sets the scene and anxiety and foreboding has begun. Something sinister has happened to Kipps and we know that in chapter 2, “A London Particular.
The story of Kipps is about to unfold. He relates being called to attend an interview with Mr. Bentley and although it was many years ago he can remember the smallest details of that day travelling up to London. Susan Hill also uses different place names and weather conditions to create an atmosphere of evil, for example, the nine lives cause-way, the mist and the fog. In, ‘The Signalman,’ Charles Dickens does not use much description, ” He was a dark sallow man, with a dark beard and rather heavy eyebrows.
But it is more than we know of the visitor who, along with the signalman, remains nameless and he seems to have no apparent reason for his visit to the signalman and shows no earlier or previous relationship him. Charles Dickens leaves many things unknown. Firstly we know little about the signalman’s past but what we do know doesn’t seem to add up to this present situation. We know he is well-educated man but is strange as a signalman is a rather lowly post. We know that he ran wild in his youth, but we know not of the circumstances.
However, both these narrators have something in common as they both look back on incidents. The haunting in, ‘The Signalman,’ conveys irony and sadness for the signalman rather than trying to frighten the reader. Charles Dickens does this particularly well and if the text is read well you can sympathise with the signalman and what the ghost is doing to him. The author does this well in my opinion. In the nursery in, ‘The Woman in Black,’ the woman in black has just got off the chair and passes Arthur Kipps. Susan Hill writes this to disturb and daunt you with the adjectives that she uses.
The sound and images created in your head are meant to terrify you. Susan Hill builds up the atmosphere well and really does haunt you well because it is a more detailed account. In, ‘The Signalman,’ we know nothing about the ghost, we don’t know if it is a past victim of a train crash or any other murder or if it is there as a guardian for the signalman or just to warn the signalman of an upcoming accident. The irony of it is, is that the spectre finally forecasts the signalman’s own death. Charles Dickens varies the pace of this short ghost story and I found this to be rather difficult to apprehend.
To conclude I feel that, ‘The Signalman,’ meets all criteria needed for a good ghost story. Its not, ‘hair raising’ stuff but there is a physiological doubt in the readers mind on whether the signalman is going mental or what is happening is true. I think that for the time that it was written it would have been very disturbing literature to read. But today’s standard it doesn’t have the same appeal that other novels have. Though I am sure it will go down in history as a classic. In, ‘The Woman in Black,’ Susan Hill builds suspense throughout the story line.
The suspense is created mainly by hints and clues given by characters, and sightings of the ghost building up to a climax. For example, when Kips sees the Woman in black in the graveyard and also when at Mrs Drablow’s funeral. At the end of the novel there is another climax, an unexpected one, the death of Kipps’ wife and child. The narrator describes a peaceful, happy Sunday afternoon in summer. He describes a festive holiday air, stalls selling ice creams, small boats being rowed and a band playing. Arthur Kipps then goes on to tell of his child and wife enjoying a ride in the pony and trap.
It was a happy scene depicting good when suddenly Kipps sees the ghost of Jennet Humfrye-everything changed-good changed to evil. The story sadly finishes with Stella and the baby dying instantly. Whenever her ghost is seen, a child dies but in this instant Kipps wife also dies. The character Jennet Humpfrye comes across as a very bitter woman as she cannot forgive her sister, Alice Drablow for the death of her son Nathaniel. She sees her sister as someone who robbed her of happiness and motherhood and would never allow her to forget it. Thus, she therefore took her revenge on those living locally by haunting them.
Susan Hill has used the theme of evil in the novel as if there was another character. The evil makes the book effective. It is believeable as well because Arthur Kipps was a calm, rational man who underwent a great change due to the evil he encountered. The ending of the story is very dramatic and makes the reader feel that Kipps really doesn’t want to say anymore and will be glad to put the past to rest. ” They asked for my story. Ihave told it – Enough. ” This was why I preferred, ‘The Woman in Black,’ as it enticed you into the novel.