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The Woman in Black | Sample Exam Response

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

Sample Exam GCSE Response Question

Hill writes that setting is ‘so important’ in a ghost story.
How does Hill present the setting of Eel Marsh House and why do you think it is important?

(30 marks)

Introduction: This essay focuses on how Hill creates an effective setting for a ghost story and why this type of setting is important in the novel. Hill’s setting links with themes such as fear and isolation in The Woman in Black. The isolated setting of Eel Marsh House contributes to the feelings of loneliness and fear that Arthur experiences. The setting also helps to create tension and a ghostly atmosphere.

The setting is an important element of the book and is closely related to the development of plot more than a simple backdrop. A feature of the gothic ghost story is the isolated and unfriendly settings. The strange and eerie settings and the unsettling atmosphere add to the mood of suspense. The presence of the large and isolated Eel Marsh House has an influence on the action in terms of mood and atmosphere. Some critics suggest Eel Marsh House is almost a character in itself.

The form of this novel relates to the genre: The Woman in Black has all the conventional ingredients of a ghost story. The large, isolated old house is a common feature in ghost stories and Hill contrasts this setting with other settings to create a mysterious and foreboding location for her plot. In the first chapter, Hill prepares her readers for a traditional ghost story and this introduction is set 30 years after the main events. Structurally, this episode paves the way for the remainder of the novel. Chapter One consists of Arthur and his family around the fireside at his home. This happy and homely setting contrasts with Arthur’s isolation later on in...

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