When is the woman in black book set
T his is a ghost story, so we start with the storyteller. Literary critics rarely use this last term, preferring to talk of the "narrator". But when it comes to hauntings this traditional description is fitting. Arthur Kipps is giving us a tale that he is condemned by his own memories to tell. When the novella opens, he is a man in late middle age, surrounded by adult stepchildren at Christmas. Naturally they begin to tell ghost stories: Christmas is the time for this, when the year is darkest and family or friends are gathered together to be entertained.SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: The Woman in Black - Susan Hill
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The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story
Throughout the whole book, Arthur talks in his very British way about everything, avoiding the fact that he's going through some really rough stuff.
There are no expletives, no choppy sentences, no exclamations of despair—just stiff upper lip, even when he's facing down a ghost. We can also see this in the way that he handles his new family when they bring up ghost stories: he deflects like a pro. Instead of explaining to them his horrid past, he excuses himself and goes for a walk.
Just like a man. A British man. If there's one way to characterize this book, it's to say that it's a good old-fashioned ghost story, complete with the death of a reclusive old lady, a big creepy mansion, and a ghost that keeps appearing at the most spine-tingling moments. On top of that, it's told in old-school British gothic fashion, with a focus on the environment's ability to inspire dread and fear.
From a damp, eerie old house to the things that go bump in the night, The Woman in Black gives every fright fest film a run for its money, and without shedding a drop of blood. In addition to scare factor, The Woman in Black takes the reader on a trip back to the past. Though the time period is a little hazy, the old-timey language, steam trains, and pony and trap rides let us know right away that we're not in the 21st century, or even in when the book was written.
Instead, the story seems like it's set in the 19th or early 20th century, which helpfully adds to the spooky factor because things were totally more creepy and ghostly in the past, right? The whole story has the feel of a 19th-century, Turn of the Screw era tale. And that's exactly what it is. Every good ghost story is at least a little mysterious, as the characters try to figure out what's happening—and why it's happening to them.
The Woman in Black is no different. Arthur arrives in Crythin Gifford innocent of the village's dire events, and ignorant of the very fact that ghosts even exist. Over the course of the book, he starts to piece things together in true detective style, gleaning hints from the townspeople and the massive stack of papers he finds in Eel Marsh House.
And the secrets he unravels are not happy ones. The Woman in Black is a story about Arthur Kipps' encounter with, well, a woman in black, so in that sense it's pretty straightforward. But think about how weirdly bland the title is.
This benign title almost seems to mirror Arthur's own experience with Eel Marsh House and its ghostly inhabitant. At first, when he sees the woman in black at the funeral, he writes her off as just that—a woman who happens to be wearing black. It's rather a matter-of-fact observation And boy does this subtitle make us ask questions.
Does including this subtitle take away from the apparent realism of Arthur's experience? Are we supposed to think it's just one more spooky tale to tell around the fire?
Is it a self-conscious nod to its Gothic ancestors? Is it a way of poking holes in Arthur's facade of rationality? Talk about a messed-up ending. Arthur never did anything to the woman in black, he didn't even know her when she was alive, but she kills his entire family anyway and on purpose. And check out that creepy ending:. I looked directly at her and she at me. There was no mistake. My eyes were not deceiving me. It was she, the woman in black with the wasted face, the ghost of Jennet Humfrye.
For a second, I simply stared in incredulity and astonishment, then in cold fear. Even when all the creepy happenings are over and the main character has returned to normal life supposedly , there's still an unexpected pull toward the real horror. You can almost hear the screechy violin music building up as Arthur looks at the woman in black and then has to watch the terrible accident with his beloved Stella and baby boy.
In a way, this ending serves the same purpose as that last scene in a horror movie where a hand shoots out of a grave. Think it's over? Think you've put the evil to rest? Think again. The whole story of The Woman in Black is set in some indeterminate historical setting. Though it seems like historical fiction because of the pony and trap and the steam train, we never get a clear sense of the date.
This could be a deliberate choice because of the pull between the past and the present that is pervasive throughout the book.
Arthur is just a modern young man when he comes to Crythin Gifford, doing fancy modern things like using telephones and expecting cars to come pick him up. How silly of him! On the flip side, the woman in black represents the past—she's all about the pony and trap times and rotting away in a big old house in outdated funeral attire.
The fact that we can't quite pinpoint the setting also makes the whole story a little more unsettling, and maybe makes us think about how the story's themes might play out in our own time. Sam Daily gives a charming description of Crythin Gifford to Arthur as they sit on the train together:. And that's about it. Crythin Gifford is a dreary, bleak town filled with secrets, somewhere on the coast of England.
The surrounding wilderness all but swallows up the town—and literally swallows some things, like the pony and trap. Humans and human buildings are overshadowed by the sheer force of nature, and by the sheer force of the past. Come on. Eel Marsh House, the large, forbidding house where Alice Drablow lived out the last of her days, is obviously haunted. It's big, unoccupied, filled with mysterious papers, and cut off from the mainland. That's kind of a recipe for heart-pounding unfortunate encounters.
Then, as it was so bright that it hurt my eyes to go on staring at it, I looked up ahead and saw, as if rising out of the water itself, a tall, gaunt house of gray stone with a slate roof, that now gleamed steelily in the light. Check out how the house is described: it does actions, like "rising" and "gleaming"; and it even looks "gaunt," exactly like a person. These descriptive words give the house a presence and a personality.
Like nature, and like the past itself, the house appears to have a malevolent kind of presence. You know, like a vengeful ghost. The novel opens in Monk Piece, although we hardly get to spend any time there at all. It's the place where Arthur Kipps—now all grown up—currently resides with his new family, and it's about as opposite Eel Marsh House and Crythin Gifford as you can imagine.
In fact, it's a "tiny hamlet Arthur lives a pleasant, safe family life in this pleasant, safe village and in the warm, busy cottage. He's clearly come a long way since his journey to Eel Marsh House both metaphorically and literally… and he'd like to keep it that way. Moreover, that the intensity of her grief and distress together with her pent-up hatred and desire for revenge permeated the air all around. That's a lot of words to say that this is one seriously cheesed-off lady—or ghost.
But if you can get through all the parts where Arthur waxes poetic about a tree or hill or whatever, there's a fascinating and deeply troubling mystery to solve. Who is this woman in black? Why is Arthur still so terrified decades later? Even better, this story doesn't take supernatural elements and tame and romanticize them ahem.
The supernatural forces in this story are just as powerful and terrifying as they should be. My spirits have for many years now been excessively affected by the ways of the weather, and I confess that, had it not been for the air of cheerfulness and bustle that prevailed in the rest of the house, I should have been quite cast down in gloom and lethargy, unable to enjoy the flavor of life as I should like and irritated by my own susceptibility.
Arthur may be telling us a ghost story, and he may be telling us about a tragic event that changed his life, but that doesn't mean he's going to let go of his syntax and vocabulary. He's a man of many words, and the writing reflects his education and intelligence. We're not saying it's not good. We're just saying that you should be prepared for pages and pages of paragraphs about the scenery. In this book, nature isn't just a backdrop—it's a force of, well, nature. Man is small and almost inconsequential in comparison to the natural force of the tide, the dangerous marshes, and even the calm and beautiful setting of Monk's Piece.
And Arthur will not zip it about the power of nature:. I had never been quite so alone, nor felt quite so small and insignificant in a vast landscape before, and I fell into a not unpleasant brooding, philosophical frame of mind, struck by the absolute indifference of water and sky to my presence.
He says "indifference"; we say that it almost seems like nature is out to get him. The causeway cuts him off from the town when the tide is high; the wind wakes him up in the middle of the night and makes the whole house whistle; and the boggy marsh nearly kills him when he goes to rescue Spider.
This is also true to gothic literature's tendency to go into the sublime , which is the feeling of terror and awe that you get when you encounter nature in its human-crushing form, like a super scary thunderstorm or a powerful waterfall. Think Wuthering Heights and all those broken hearts wandering through the desolate moors. Arthur may have smarts, a modern job and a rational attitude, but he's no match for the brutality and beauty of nature.
And he knows it. Yeah, there's a lot of death. But these are specific types of deaths: they're the deaths of innocent people, like Jennet Humfrye's son Nathaniel who dies in an accident along with his nursemaid and the driver of the pony trap, Keckwick Sr. It's no one's fault and the dead themselves are innocent, but Jennet goes insane with grief and begins wreaking havoc on other people's children.
The Woman in Black:
This book was one that was on my wishlist for many years! And when it came to sitting down and reading it , well I will admit I was a little dubious. It starts of describing this young man with a tragic past. It sent a chill down my spine when he first sets eyes on the mysterious woman dressed in black with the I'll looking face.
Without it, readers run the risk of being un-traumatized by this post and what is the fun in that, I ask you?! My favorite horror movie changes daily according to mood. I'm a huge horror fan but most of the movies are disappointing of late. For the most part I thought they worked and love Courtney's post! Fave horror movie today: 28 Days Later.
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
W hen I am emailed by pupils studying The Woman in Black for GCSE and A-level, many refer to it as "gothic", and indeed it forms part of a university course in gothic literature. But although the book has something in common with the pure gothic fiction of the 18th and 19th centuries, it is really only a distant cousin of the genre. It is a ghost story — not a horror story, not a thriller — and not a gothic novel; although the terms are often used very loosely, they are not by any means the same thing. I set out to write a ghost story in the classic 19th-century tradition, a full-length one. The list of ingredients included atmosphere, a ghost, a haunted house and other places, and weather. A footnote to "ghost" was a of a human being; and b with a purpose. There are dozens of little books of "true" ghost stories, usually sorted by geographical location, but almost without exception the ghosts have no purpose and so the stories are ultimately unsatisfying. A headless horseman rides by, a phantom coach clatters down a dark road, a veiled lady drifts up a staircase and through a wall, a pale and misty child's face is glimpsed at a window — and that is all. The ghosts are there and they apparently go through the same motions again and again. It is ultimately uninteresting.
Susan Hill: haunted by the Woman in Black
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The Woman in Black is a horror novel by Susan Hill , written in the style of a traditional Gothic novel. The plot concerns a mysterious spectre that haunts a small English town. A television film based on the story, also called The Woman in Black , was produced in , with a screenplay by Nigel Kneale. In , a theatrical film adaptation of the same name was released, starring Daniel Radcliffe.
The Woman in Black
It is the second adaptation of Susan Hill 's novel of the same name , which was previously filmed in The plot, set in early 20th-century England , follows a young recently widowed lawyer who travels to a remote village where he discovers that the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman is terrorising the locals. A film adaptation of Hill's novel was announced in , with Goldman and Watkins attached to the project.
The Woman in Black Analysis
A young solicitor travels to a remote village where he discovers the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman is terrorizing the locals. In London, solicitor Arthur Kipps still grieves over the death of his beloved wife Stella on the delivery of their son Joseph four years before. His employer gives him a last chance to keep his job, and he is assigned to travel to the remote village of Crythin Gifford to examine the documentation of the Eel Marsh House that belonged to the recently deceased Mrs. Arthur befriends Daily on the train and the man offers a ride to him to the Gifford Arms inn. Arthur has a cold reception and the owner of the inn tells that he did not receive the request of reservation and there is no available room. The next morning, Arthur meets solicitor Jerome who advises him to return to London. However, Arthur goes to the isolated manor and soon he finds that Eel Marsh House is haunted by the vengeful ghost of a woman dressed in black.
A classic ghost story: the chilling tale of a menacing specter haunting a small English town. Arthur Kipps is an up-and-coming London solicitor who is sent to Crythin Gifford—a faraway town in the windswept salt marshes beyond Nine Lives Causeway—to attend the funeral and settle the affairs of a client, Mrs. Alice Drablow of Eel Marsh House.
An internationally acclaimed and haunting ghost story. Arthur Kipps, a young solicitor, has come north from London to attend the funeral and settle the affairs of Mrs. Alice Drablow of Eel Marsh House.
The Woman in Black represents a unique adaptation of its source material and provides a completely different experience than the film or book. The origins of the play date back to in the coastal town of Scarborough where the Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Robin Herford , realised that there was still grant money left to spend. With his boss, Alan Ayckbourn , on extended holiday and Christmas just around the corner, Herford decided to stage a low-budget ghost story in the bar of the theatre.