Themes in The Woman in Black

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  • Themes
    • Fear
      • A is initially determined to hide his fear
        • Refuses to accept his own feelings
      • Physiological responses to fear
        • Hill describes the various responses
        • "I sat up paralysed, frozen, in the bed, conscious only of the dog and of the prickling of my own skin".
          • Beginnings of extreme fear
          • Draws out empathy for A
          • We feel afraid with him
      • The woman in black controls people with fear
        • Uses fear to take her revenge
        • "She directed the purest evil and hatred and loathing, with all the force that was available to her"
          • Energy that comes from the ghost is frightening
    • Isolation
      • Athur is alone
        • The only one who physically sees the ghost at EMH
        • No one would be able to help him
          • Unsettling
      • Eel Marsh House
        • At the end of a causeway
          • Cut off during high tides and bad weather
          • "Neither could I see the causeway path [...[ the tide had now covered it over completely"
        • Physical isolation creates a sense of entrapment
          • Makes the eeriness of the house inescapable
      • Mrs D lives alone
        • Her funeral is barely attended
        • "I gather she had no friends - or immediate family"
          • Builds tension and fear
    • Influences of the past
      • The story of A's visit to EMH is a memory
        • Introduces his story in present tense
          • Shows how fear has pursued the narrator
        • His memory will be presented as accurately as possible
      • Jennet is driven mad by her own past
        • "In some violent or dreadful circumstance, a child has died"
        • WIB's revenge has affected the community
        • Ghost takes her revenge repeatedly
          • Affected by her past
      • EMH is a container of memories
        • Mrs D kept pieces of paper in chests and draws
          • Represents an unwillingness to let go of the past
          • "ancient household accounts"


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