A London Particular
The Second chapter of Susan Hills chilling novel, The Woman In Black, is host to some of the conventional gothic aspects found in such ghost stories. The focus of this essay is the first eight paragraphs of the second chapter. Story telling lies at the heart of this novel and there is definite mix within the story of new and old ghost stories which would allow Susan Hill to select what she would have thought to be essential components of a successful ghost narrative. ‘A London Particular’ imparts a strong sense of place, mood, season and of the elements to the point that our main character, Arthur Kipps, is very effected by the various scenarios; whether it be sunny in the open or dark and cloudy. These senses mean the traditional ‘haunting’ fundamentals; an isolated house, narrow empty streets at night (lonely churchyards and convents later on), are heavily relied upon. Past the lonely house of chapter one, ‘A London Particular’ begins on a normal Monday afternoon in November. Arthur Kipps is making a routine journey to work through London; something he has done every day for a very long time. However, within the first sentence, a crucial ghost story element forms. The fog. The fog is powerfully atmospheric, beautiful and sinister all at the same time as it rolls across the usually busy streets of London. The other intimidating fact is that London is usually a civilized, safe place. With the appearance of the fog, it makes London a much more insecure place. These are the earliest sign of a ghostly nature in the book as the fog mystifies and ‘empties’ the busy avenues by obscuring everyone’s sight, hence creating a mood of uneasiness and mystery as one never knows who’s out there and where. I believe that the beginning of the second paragraph in chapter two is one of the most effective passages at creating a spooky and ghostly setting on the roads of London. It reads like a typical gothic scene maker, creating a very unwelcoming and deserted...
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