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The Woman in Black | Narrative Viewpoint

mandy_lloyd | Monday December 03, 2012


Guide Navigation

1. Introduction 
2. Narrative Viewpoint
3. Structure
4. Social / Historical Context
5. Language
6. Top Ten Quotations
7. Exam Preparation
8. Using Quotations
9. Sample Exam Response

The narrator (and main character) of the novel is Arthur Kipps. Hill creates a believable fiction of a man telling us the story of a period of his life – his own ghost story.  Her technique is known as first person narrative. The use of the ‘first person’ tells us that the story will be told from Arthur’s perspective. This narrative choice helps Hill to persuade her reader to identify more directly and closely with Kipps and his changes of mood and emotion, in particular, the use of a first-person narrator helps the reader share Kipps’s feelings of fear and denial.

Arthur Kipps is presented as a straightforward character and surprisingly level-headed throughout the increasingly extraordinary drama of the novel’s action.

  • Do you as a reader trust the narrator more because of this?
  • How does Kipps’s calmness contribute to the effect of the more chilling and supernatural events later in the book?

In the novel, Kipps’s narration is of central importance to the presentation of the ghost of the woman in black. When Kipps sees the woman in black for the first time in the graveyard he comments that:

‘[O]nly the thinnest layer of flesh was tautly stretched and strained across her bones, so that it gleamed with a curious, blue-white sheen’ (p57).

By describing the woman as having a blue-white sheen, Hill suggests that she is almost emitting light, therefore providing connotations that she is some kind of supernatural force. Also, because we encounter this character in a graveyard, Hill is using setting typical of the Gothic genre to help her create tension and suspense and to heighten this character’s chilling presence.

Chapter 10 is an excellent example of the power of first-person narrative as Hill works hard to hook the reader with...

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