Consider and explore how far Susan Hill encourages us to feel Sympathy for The Woman In Black
This chilling ghost story, written by one of Britain’s outstanding writers, Susan Hill, was first published in 1989. It took just 6 weeks over the summer for Hill to produce this masterpiece. The Woman in Black maintains the reader’s attention the whole way through the book, keeping them hooked onto every word. Hill has written it in a very clever way, making the reader feel the greatest sympathy for The Woman in certain parts of the novel, but in other parts she makes the reader feel the complete contrast. Hill demonstrates this at the start of the book, when we feel sympathy for The Woman when Arthur sees her at her sister’s funeral. We feel sympathy ‘that a women who was perhaps only a short time from her own death, should drag herself to the funeral of another’. This makes the reader feel sad for The Woman. Another reason the reader does not dislike The Woman is that even though she obviously feels hurt by her sister; she still makes the effort to go to her funeral. The reader also feels great sympathy at Mrs. Drablow’s funeral when Arthur realises that The Woman is suffering from ‘some terrible wasting disease’. ‘Only the thinnest layer of flesh was tautly stretched and strained over [The Woman’s’] bones’. We also feel sympathy that she is ‘quite possibly no more than thirty’, as a woman of her age would tend to care more about her beauty. The disease is also incurable which makes us again feel sympathy. The fact that her child was born illegitimately, meant that she had to give him up when he was very young, also makes the reader feel compassion for The Woman. Jennet was not even allowed to visit her beloved son and was forced to live ‘hundreds of miles away’. This obviously deeply upset her as ‘she threatened violently’ when she was told she could not see Nathanial. We also feel that it must have pained her that it was her own sister that was keeping her...
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