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Arthur reminisces the sound of a rocking chair from his childhood and could feel the same sound coming from this supposedly empty room. Both past and present is flowing together, ―The sound that I had been hearing was the sound that I remembered from far back, from a time before I could clearly remember anything else‖ (WIB146). Arthur craves desperately to wipe out everything relating to Eel Marsh House, but it's not so easy to leave the past behind, ―All that was behind me, it might have happened, I thought, to another person. The doctor had told me to put the whole thing from my mind, and I resolved to try and do so‖ (WIB192). With the Gothic ―the pain of suspense, inaugurated by an object of ‗natural‘ terror, produce[ing] ‗the irresistible desire of satisfying curiosity‘‖ (Cameron 76).Gothic
89 tales are not effective without suspense being a fundamental component. Mysterious and suspenseful atmospheres are usually formed using pathetic fallacy and in this novel the use of wind is greater than any other element of weather: ―during the night the wind rose . . . A tremendous blast of wind hit the house‖ (WIB153). The use of wind symbolises the woman in black, because whenever her presence is near or she‘s about to expose herself the wind increases, but when she disappears it seems to stop, ―the wind had died down‖ (WIB159). Hill has also redrafted this Gothic element in the novel as there are some circumstances that would seem conventional to include pathetic fallacy but do not, such as the first sighting of the woman in black at the funeral of Mrs Drablow, ―I saw A blackbird on the holly bush a few feet away and heard him open his mouth to pour out a sparkling fountain of song in the November sunlight‖ (WIB55). This is even shown when he discovers the mysterious gravestone ―the fine clear weather still held, there was sunshine and blue sky again‖ (WIB123). Susan makes the use of Symbolism to focus on the theme of Death. The very title, ‗The Woman in Black‘ makes one think of death as traditionally in western culture, black is worn to funerals. Raven are black birds also associated with death and yew trees are the most common type of tree found in graveyards. Kipps uses the metaphor ―our appearance . . . was that of a pair of gloomy ravens‖ to describe himself and Jerome at Alice Drablow‘s funeral (WIB50). The bells ringing, ―A church bell began to toll‖ also symbolises death (WIB28). Much of the action takes place in graveyards as the woman in black is first seen in graveyard at Alice Drablow‘s funeral, she is next seen as a malevolent presence in the graveyard of the ruined monastery in the grounds of Eel Marsh House. Her arrival is heralded by the harsh croaking of an ugly satanic sea vulture.