Jola Fallach
Susan Hill wrote her book in 1983, shortly after she lost her four-week-old daughter, which presumably contributed to the major theme of the book that is how suffering and grief might change a human being into an evil.
The title of the novel with a description: 'A Ghost Story', evokes in the reader some earlier Gothic works such as 'The turn of the screw' by Henry James (1898) - where a woman in black appears for the first time in literature, or 'The Woman in White' by Wilkie Collin (1859) with a very similar title that accentuates the importance of the social context of both books because of the women's position in the society in Victorian and Edwardian eras.
Susan Hill employs all the elements of a gothic novel, which are repeated in many books, and yet she writes a masterpiece of fear and terror so great that putting her book down seems to be impossible.
The book starts with a very short and informative sentence, 'It was nine-thirty on Christmas Eve.' (p. 1) metaphorically nestling the reader in front of the fireplace, ready for more and aware of the Gothic convention. And then we meet our protagonist, the narrator of a story within a story, Artur Kipps, who takes us on a long and life changing journey to the East Coast of North England in the Edwardian Era.
The reader journeys into the feelings of isolation right at the beginning, '... there is an air of remoteness and isolation...' (p. 3), when Arthur Kipps describes his house, Monk's Piece, and anticipates fear when Arthur describes his feelings, 'I could not move, it ... paralysed me ... it was a long-forgotten, once too-familiar sensation.' (p. 17).

Arthur's sincere and simple statements, 'I had a story, a true story, a story of haunting and evil, fear and confusion, horror and tragedy.' (p. 19) convince readers that Arthur is a trustworthy narrator and from the first chapter, we identify with him, we think like he thinks, we can see what he can see, we share the same feelings, fears and frantic terror.
In this sentence, Susan Hill uses the literary techniques of repetition (story) and the rule of three to build our relationship with a narrator and to build a tension - these short phrases sound very alarming, and the story, thereafter, is very engaging, absorbing and highly believable.

0 Responses

Post a Comment