This GCSE English Literature quiz asks questions about The Woman in Black by Susan Hill. The Woman in Black is narrated by its central character, Arthur Kipps. Other figures who feature in the novel are his employer, Mr Bentley, his friend, Samuel Daily, his fiancée, Stella, his wife Esmé and her children, the landlord of the Gifford Arms, and Keckwick, the driver of the pony and trap which conveys Arthur across Nine Lives Causeway. Mrs Drablow and Jennet Humfrye, who are both dead at the time of Arthur’s visit to Crythin Gifford, play important roles in the tale nonetheless. Because Arthur narrates his own tale, the audience perceives events and other characters through his eyes. Stella, for example, is a fairly shadowy figure, evoked whenever Arthur thinks of home and comfort. She appears in the novel only twice: once when she comes north to accompany Arthur home and then again at her tragic death.
Arthur is a self-reliant man in his business life, although he appreciates the presence of his family at home. This characteristic is ideally suited to a ghost story which involves the main character not really believing the dark hints and suspicions local people nervously share with him. Arthur’s only companion on the island is the dog, Spider, who provides him with some comfort when he confronts the terrors of the house.
Always pay close attention to the way in which characters interact in a work of fiction, or, in this instance, the way in which a narrating character represents others. With first person narration, our view of other characters and their motivations is limited to whatever Arthur himself knows, although he also has the benefit of hindsight since he writes down his recollection of the events surrounding his visit to Eel Marsh House long after these occur. Thus, although we can see that he himself has changed over time, we are not able to perceive such character development in others. Instead, we discover the mystery behind the ghost of the Woman in Black.
Answer the questions below to see how well you understand the characters in The Woman in Black.