Woman in Black

Woman in Black

Why do you think Susan Hill called her story The Woman in Black? How effective is it as a title? One of the most important parts of any book can be the title and in this case, Susan Hill has decided on her title as being The Woman in Black. Throughout this essay I will be looking at how Susan Hill has used her title effectively and I will also look at the reasons why Hill might have named her title The Woman in Black.

At first it may seem a very simple title but as I will go through in this essay, simple might be the very cause of the effect it makes. Firstly, the story itself is heavily based on a gothic genre which consists of all the things you would expect to see in a gothic novel, haunted houses, isolated areas, dark themes and of course, in this particular novel, this mysterious ‘Woman in Black’. With this gothic genre, comes a gothic title which is definitely identified by one word, “Black”.

The work ‘black’ always creates a negative mood and shows darkness and links this mood with the story, so you know what sort of things to expect from this book just from the title but more importantly, you want to know why. This is what will encourage the reader to read and enjoy the book. Secondly, I think a sense of mystery is created by the title ‘The Woman in Black’ and this creates questions about the book. This adds to the enjoyment of the book as their will always be tension and suspense in anticipation about the appearance of the Woman in Black.

An example of this is when Arthur Kipps calls the woman in at the funeral “the woman with the wasted face”, this would just seem normal but the fact that this woman is all in black relates us back to the title which creates suspicion about this woman. The main questions I think the title brings up about this book is who actually is this Woman in Black and why is she so important in the book? And these questions will stir around in your head the throughout the novel and will add to the effect that the Woman in Black brings as all will be focused on her.

Overall, I think the title ‘The Woman in Black’ forms a better interest for the novel in a variety of different ways and all these different ways, however small or large their effect, build up and create the effect as a whole. I think the effect is most noticeably shown through the entertainment of the novel which the title adds towards as well and the main reason I think Susan Hill named her novel this title was to enhance the entertainment that this novel produces.