Chapter II.docx - Chapter II Susan Hill 57 One modern...

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57Chapter IISusan Hill One modern writer who has been influenced or inclined by gothic trends inliterature is Susan Hill. She has expressed an interest in the traditional English ghoststory, which relies on suspense and atmosphere to create its effect, akin to the classicghost stories by Montague Rhodes James and Daphne du Maurier. Gothic elements arepossibly most impressively illustrated in Hill‘s choice of dark, enigmatic settings, againstwhich background struggles between good and evil are lucidly enacted. Hill presentsideas of the gothic as somehow being a safety valve for the powerful emotions feltparticularly vividly during childhood. According to Susan, the dark things have theirorigin somewhere in herself and her own past but she feels that the Pandora‘s boxesshould be best left unopened.Susan Hill, an English novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, andchildren‘s writer was born on February 5, 1942 in Scarborough, Yorkshire, England, anda faded resort town similar to the settings of some of her novels. Her father worked in carand aircraft factories. She is the author of award-winning literary fiction, Gothicentertainments and light-hearted chronicles of country life. Pleasant and wicked emergelarge in her sombre work and she has used writing as catharsis, mainly after sufferingpersonal tragedy. She acknowledges her mother as she took young Susan to almost everyproduction of the Scarborough Repertory which nurtured her love of the theatre. Susancommunicated that she perhaps didn‘t comprehend a great deal, but loved the sights andsmells of the theatre experience.As a young teenager, Susan attended many productions at the experimentaltheatre-in-the-round, the Stephen Joseph Theatre, until her family moved fromScarborough to Coventry in 1958 when she was sixteen years old. She has written a gooddeal about her early years in Scarborough in the book Family which gave an account ofthe birth and death of her premature daughter and the completion of her family with the
arrival of her third child. She describes Scarborough as a seaside town of bracing air . . .elegant Regency buildings and . . . societyin her memoir, Family (qtd. inFreeman). Also in Family she writes, I have always believed very strongly in theinfluences of places upon people, and how these places make them what they are(qtd.in Freeman).The impact of her Scarborough childhood on her writing is most evident in herearly works, such as A Bit of Singing and Dancing (1973) and A Change for the Better(1969), both of which are soap opera-like slices of genteel life in restricted seaside towns,riddled with societal expectations and guesthouses. All the books she wrote before shewas 30 involve middle-aged or older characters and are tinged with regret for lostyouthful opportunities and sour, roasting marriages. Hadley Freeman in an articleCotswold Chameleon(2003) in The Guardian mentions Susan‘s assertion that, When

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