The Woman in Black

Gothic Conventions in 'The Woman in Black' 11th Grade

‘The Woman in Black’ by Susan Hill is often described as a ‘ghost story’ and it’s eerie and considerably terrifying narrative falls well within gothic tradition. In this essay I will explore the gothic conventions used and the effectiveness with which they are portrayed through the employment of language, form and structure.

In this passage, Hill explores the complexity of human fear, in particular, that apparent in the protagonist, which is subsequent to the overwhelming sense of ambiguity that Hill creates and sustains throughout. From the beginning of the extract, Arthur excessively questions his surroundings, second-guessing himself with questions such as ‘How could there be?’ The repetition of rhetorical questions such as this one immediately establishes an uncertain tone and distinct tension, both of which are extremely prevalent conventions within the gothic genre. In doing this, Hill effectively evokes a response of panic from the reader, mirroring that of the protagonist, as Hill exploits the instinctive human fear that stems from any degree of ambiguity in a situation. Here, the use of first person narrative is significant in that it enables the reader to be empathetic of Arthur, heightening the emotional response....

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