Explore the ways in which Hill creates sympathy for Arthur as the hero of the Woman in Black Key to the success of TWiB is Hill’s expertise in encouraging the reader to identify with the main character, Arthur Kipps. She achieves this by stimulating feelings of sympathy towards Arthur. Some of the ways in which she does this are by using a variety of different methods such as a range of structural devices, detailed descriptions of the setting, the central theme of fear and the change in Arthur’s character. Perhaps the most effective way in which Hill creates sympathy is by vividly describing feelings of anxiety, terror and emotional distress. The first hint of this comes within the first chapter when Arthur is being pressed by his step sons to tell a ghost story. “I was trying to supress my mounting unease, to hold back the rising flood of memory,” this quote implies that Arthur struggles to contain negative feelings and the memory of bad experiences. The reader is left with a lasting understanding of the anxiety which Arthur is experiencing, and this creates sympathy for him. The terror which Arthur experiences at intervals throughout the story is demonstrated by when he says “my fear reached a new height, until for a minute I thought I would die of it.”
This shows that Arthur’s fears have exceeded anything he has ever experienced before, therefore arousing sympathy in the reader. Hill also evokes sympathy in the reader by making Arthur suffer a series of unfortunate and terrifying events. Being petrified while alone at Eel Marsh House and listening to the eerie noises in the middle of the night; the haunting event when the previously locked door to the nursery was open and found to be clean, neat and tidy as shown when he says “I looked at the bed, made up and all complete with sheets and pillows, blankets and counterpane”. Further examples of the shocking events he experiences include recurrences of the pony and trap sinking in the marsh when the driver, the Nanny (Rose Judd) and child Nathaniel were killed; having to rescue Spider the dog from drowning, an event which nearly costs Arthur his life; and finally the climax, the death of his child and the fatal injury to his wife.
It is difficult for the reader to feel much affection for the protagonist in Wolff’s memoir. Do you agree? This Boy’s Life, set in America in the 1950’s, is a compelling memoir by Tobias Wolff, whom recreates the frustrations and cruelties faced throughout his adolescence, as he fights for identity and self-respect. During this period of time, America underwent major changes in the political ...
In the final scene Arthur vividly describes how “the sickening crack and thud as the pony and its cart collided with one of the huge tree trunks.” These events, all described graphically, combine to create a feeling of sympathy for Arthur and all he has experienced. It is noticeable that the level of suffering he has had to endure increases throughout the story, ranging from mild haunting at Mrs Drablow’s funeral, when he glimpses the woman in black, through to severe haunting events in the nursery and in the marsh, to the tragic final scene. This rising level of suffering brings the reader’s sympathy towards Arthur to a peak in the final act, when his child is killed and his wife fatally injured. This is compounded by the reader’s knowledge of Arthur, who is portrayed as a decent and hardworking man who did not deserve to be tormented in this way. The primary structural device is the use of the first person throughout the story. As Arthur is speaking to the reader directly it is evident that the author’s intention is to steer the reader towards seeing things from his perspective.
It creates a more intimate relationship between Arthur and the reader and makes the reader trust Arthur’s reactions hence evoking empathy within the reader and sympathy towards Arthur. The ‘one to one’ account creates an affinity with Arthur, as if the story has been written for the reader alone. An example of this is when Arthur says “Yes, I had a story, a true story, a story of haunting and evil, fear and confusion, horror and tragedy”. This is efficient in creating sympathy as it makes the reader feel closer to Arthur, like they are getting a first-hand account of events in Arthur’s life. Hill also employs retrospective narrative, whereby the story is told by the main character looking back on events which occurred earlier in his life. The retrospective narrative commences at the very end of the first chapter when Arthur went outside to calm himself after the anxiety caused by his family’s attempts to get him to tell his ghost story. After this he returns to the house and resolves to write his story down “After this holiday, when the family had all departed, and Esmé and I were alone, I would begin to write my story”.
Sherlock Holmes Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh on 22 May 1859 to Mary Foley and Charles Doyle. He had a good education and studied medicine at Edinburgh University, graduating at 22 years old. He paid his way, working as a clerk for Dr Joseph Bell, who later became the model for Sherlock Holmes. The first story 'A Study in Scarlet' was published in 'Beeton's Christmas Annuals' in ...
Although the remainder of the story is told chronologically, Hill interrupts the narrative with comment on the younger Kipps’ experiences with comment from the older, more experienced Arthur looking back on the events. “For I see that then I was still all in a state of innocence, but that innocence, once lost, is lost forever.” This builds sympathy by creating a sense of foreboding within the reader by hinting that the events to come have a negative effect on Arthur’s state of innocence. Combining retrospective narrative with the series of terrifying events as discussed earlier, is an extremely effective way of building a sympathetic relationship between the reader and the main character. Another technique employed by hill is the describing of the setting and environment that Arthur is placed in. These are frequently described in a negative way such as the railway carriage on the final leg of his journey north: “I began to be weary, of journeying, and of the cold and of sitting still while being jarred and jolted about.”
He also describes “rumbling on in the nasty train in silence”. A recurring theme throughout the story is a feeling of loneliness and isolation, as shown in a further description of the train journey: “I tried not to be concerned, but was feeling an unpleasant sensation of being isolated far from any human dwelling and trapped in this cold tomb of a railway carriage”. The “cold tomb” metaphor implies the lifelessness of the carriage, and compares it to a coffin. The reader is encouraged to feel sympathy for Arthur due to the isolation and discomfort he is experiencing. Furthermore, pathetic fallacy is employed periodically in the story to further emphasise Arthur’s mood or the situation he is in. This is frequently a description of poor weather, such as “a yellow fog, a filthy, evil-smelling fog” used to portray the fog as evil, unclean and enveloping. This relates to Arthur’s situation as we find out later in the chapter that Arthur is not well informed about Mrs Drablow and her past.
One of the ways that Doyle builds up suspense throughout the story is by weaving in lots of red herrings into the storyline. The reader believes one thing whilst the story twists at the end and reveals something completely di? erent. As an example, when Miss Stoner’s sister dies and makes reference to a ‘Band” , the reader automatically assumes a ‘band of people’. Even Watson refers to a band of ...
It creates a sense of foreboding by depicting the fog as surrounding Arthur, symbolising how he is unaware of the truth, naïve to the facts about Mrs Drablow and her sister’s child which is explained later. Another way in which Hill effectively creates sympathy for Arthur is through the significant change in his character from the beginning to the end of the novel. As Arthur begins to relay his story in the second chapter he describes his young self as a sensible, logical thinking man, able to make rational decisions with a cheerful personality . A “common sensical young fellow” of “blithe spirit”. These quotations are in sharp contrast to Arthur’s character portrayed in later life.
“I was the one who had been haunted and who had suffered – not the only one, no, but surely, the only one left alive”. He also says that “I was the one, to judge in by my agitation of this evening, was still affected by it deeply, it was from me alone that the ghost must be driven”. This demonstrates a contrast in Arthur’s state of mind between his young self, and the middle-aged man about to write his own ghost story. This increases sympathy for Arthur as the reader learns early in the story of this contrast in his personality. The use of adjectives, description of body, imagery and pathetic fallacy adds depth to the sympathy created around the unfortunate events that Arthur was to endure.