My response to Hill’s presentation of the woman in black fluctuates throughout the novel. Initially I was frightened of her, however as more information was revealed about her life I began to feel more sympathetic. My response changes as Hill presents her in many different ways through; her physical description, movement, how others react towards her, the setting and weather and through the narrative technique.
The woman in black is physically described as ghostly and associated with death. When the reader is first introduced to the antagonist she is described as being “dressed in the deepest black”. She comes across as a cold and unwelcoming character, as the strong sounding alliteration of “d” and the consonants “b” make the reader believe she is dark and sinister. Furthermore, the woman in black is depicted to be a “former beauty” yet she is “suffering from some terrible wasting disease.” The verb “suffering” makes the reader feel sympathy towards her because she used to be beautiful and now this “terrible” disease has taken this away from her. The “bonnet-type hat” is described as covering “her head”. The significance of the “bonnet” is that it is an old fashioned accessory and indicates she is from the past which confirms that she is an apparition. The confirmation of her being an apparition is reflected in the pessimism of her movement.
The woman in black’s movement is also depicted as ghostly. When Kipps questions whether or not to approach the woman in black, she “slipped quickly away”; this implies she did not want to be seen. The verb “slipped” conveys her ghostly nature as it is a swift, surreptitious movement. Also, during Mrs Drablow’s funeral, Kipps catches eye of her, she “stood several rows behind quite alone.” This suggests her otherness as she is not interacting with other people and comes across as a “rum’un”. The adverb “alone” reinforces Jennet’s ghostliness as she is isolating