What are the reader’s first impressions of the Woman in Black? The first description of the Woman in Black raises a lot of questions for the reader to think about. The fact that she is described as being ‘Dressed in deepest black…that had rather gone out of fashion’ suggests that the woman is out of place in the time period as well as at a funeral. This links to how the other funeral attendants cannot see her. The fact that she is a woman and described as being dressed in ‘black’ links to the title of this novel which gets the reader wondering if she is the Woman in Black. Secondly, her cloths are described as ‘a little rusty looking’. This gives the impression that her clothes are ageing which links with her isolation from the rest of the funeral party as she isn’t dressed in the most up to date formal funeral wear. She is also said to have a ‘terrible wasting disease’ and the ‘thinnest layer of flesh was tautly stretched and strained across her bones’. Also Arthur says she had a ‘blue-white sheen’ on her skin. All three quotes suggest a ghostly looking character. This links to other ghostly descriptions of the woman including ‘Eyes seemed sunken back into her head’. The quote ‘thinnest layer of flesh…across her bones’ links to the quote ‘a victim of starvation’ because if someone has been starved then you can see the shape of their bones. However, to create contrast, Arthur Kipps shows sympathy for the woman when he says ‘some lingering hint, of a not inconsiderable former beauty’ and ‘I bent my head and prayed …for the soul of that lonely old woman. ’ Her skin is described as being ‘extremely pale, even more than a contrast with the blackness of her garments could account for.’ This shows that the contrast between the colour of her skin and her dress is completely different linking her to the theme of contrast in the novel. Twice in this section of the story, Arthur notes the movement of the woman when he hears ‘some slight rustle behind (him)’ and the same again later on with a ‘slight rustle of clothing. ’ The use of small sounds to show her movement creates suspense as the reader doesn’t know if she is real or not because she is making a sound when she moves but the description of a ghostly figure contradicts that. The quote ‘on hearing some slight rustle behind me’ then links to having ‘acuteness of the senses’ and the theme of sounds in both Edgar Allan Poe novels. When the funeral congregation moves outside, Arthur describes where the woman stands. She stands ‘some yards back, beside another headstone…overgrown with moss. ’ This makes the reader question why the woman is looking at another headstone and not looking at the actual burial. The fact that the headstone is overgrown with moss suggests that it is an old headstone but it would be hard to tell how old. This links to Arthur finding it hard to tell how old the woman is. Could it be her headstone? Finally, when we first meet any of the other characters in ‘The Woman in Black’ we are given a short description of how they look and dress, however, the Woman in Black has a considerably longer and more detailed description meaning that this character and this meeting obviously had a bigger impact on Arthur than any other character as he can quite easily recall and retell every detail of the funeral of Mrs. Drablow.

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