Woman in Black

First of all, Susan Hill uses personification to describe the fog in London, which creates a foreboding atmosphere. She uses very negative words to describe the fog such as “creeping”, “swirling”, “smeared and stained.” The sibilance in these words link to the idea of evil and foreshadow the awful events that are about to come. The malevolent imagery that Hill uses leads the reader to believe that the fog is evil; this is backed up by quotes such as “a fog that choked”, which makes it sound like the fog is so heavy that it is almost torturous and makes it appear like the fog is a murderer. The pathetic fallacy of the fog and the fact that it is in the month of November, which links to Frankenstein creates a traditionally gothic atmosphere which builds tension for the reader. All of this imagery creates suspense and it is like a red herring because it causes the reader to think that Arthur’s terror is going to occur in London. The fact that Arthur starts his journey on such a dismal day foreshadows the dark future ahead of him and leaves the reader with a level of uncertainty about what’s going to happen.

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Secondly, Hill uses lots of religious imagery linking to hell to describe the setting in London such as “Inferno”, “red-hot pools of light”, “boiling cauldron”, “evil red smoke” “red-eyed and demonic”. The repetition of the word “red” links to the idea of evil and malevolence as this is often the colour that is associated with hell and the devil. The hell references also reflect the personal hell that Arthur is soon about to suffer because of the events that unfurl at Eel Marsh House so in a way the hell references are foreshadowing for what is to come in the novel. Also all of the references to hell cause the reader to think that Arthur would be relieved to get out of London and away from the fog and gloomy atmosphere however this is one way in which Susan Hill makes the story more interested for the reader because they are lead to believe that London is that place of evil.

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