Woman in Black- plot

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Chapter one- Christmas Eve


  • Peaceful fireside Christmas eve at Monks Piece- home is described
  • Arthur steps outside- describe house setting & reminisce
  • Several years ago- discovered it & felt compelled to buy it
  • Mr Bentley is introduced
  • Arthurs wife & step family are introduced- establish a happy domestic scene & springboard from which to tell the main story
  • Arthur is invited by Edmund to contribute a ghost story
  • He declines- but resolves to write down his story
  • Arthur recalls line from Shakespeare's Hamlet- where Marcellus speaks to Horatio & Barnado after seeing the ghost of Hamlets father
  • Comforted by verse- returns to house to join in with christmas activites
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Chapter one- Christmas Eve


  • SH- prepares reader for traditional ghost story
  • Supernatural experiences are evoked
  • Opening paragraph- Hill describes idylic family christmas
  • Outside- Kipps- descriptions of seasonal settings- learn about his state of mind
  • "My spirits have for many years now been excessively affected by the ways of the weather." (pg10)
  • He is prone to gloom & lethargy- unable to enjoy life- connected to past
  • SH- paints a clear picture of Arthurs background- widower etc
  • Particular affinity with Edmund- closest to his sons age


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Chapter one- Christmas Eve

  • Telling ghost storys- at first atmostphere is jolly & good humoured- exploiting the conventions of ghost stories in a ridiculous manner (adds credibility to SH's)
  • A- becomes increasingly remote & starts to panic
  • Leaves the room when invited to join- mirrors actions of Landlord in later chapters- hints at idea of conspiracy of silence
  • Contemplates telling story
  • "...a true story, a story of horror & evil & fear & confusion, horror & tragedy." (pg21)
  • SH's use of language- three adjective phrases- build tension & excitement (rhythm)
  • Decides to tell story- not to entertain but to exorcise
  • Comforted by Hamlet quote- describes how the sacred season of Christmas, ghosts & malovent spirits dare not walk the earth
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Chapter one- Christmas Eve


  • Boys setting scene for ghost stories- stimulates Kipps to purge his ghost
  • Family is high spirited & excited- SH- deliberate light hearted atmostphere
  • Shows- humans deal with fear & phenomenma they can't explain- ridicule & exaggerate
  • As a young man- kipps didn't believe in ghosts
  • He is the only one with a story
  • This episode paves the way for the remainder of the novel- happy domestic scene shadows the terrible tale of the woman in black
  • Foreshadowing later events
  • "I was the one who had been haunted and who had suffered- not the only one, no, but surely, I thought, the only one left alive." 
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