This GCSE English Literature quiz challenges you on theme in Susan Hill's The Woman in Black. Theme, in literature, is an idea conveyed by a text. All works of literature contain multiple themes. These can range from the most obvious of ideas to the most subtle. You can often see an interplay of themes in a text as each theme develops in combination with the others. Authors use the essential elements of fiction, including setting, character, plot and dialogue, in order to develop theme.
Have you noticed the way that related ideas and concepts appear repeatedly in a text you’ve read? These repeated ideas are the text’s themes. Consider how these ideas are each introduced and developed over the course of the text. A good place to start this analysis is by examining your own response to the text, especially if you have been prompted to reconsider any of your own opinions on the ideas with which the text is concerned.
If a text makes you think hard about an issue or maybe even persuades you to change your mind, then the author has successfully encouraged you to engage with one or more of its themes. You may even find that you strongly disagree with other readers, your classmates, or your teacher. This is natural: it would be strange to share identical views with everyone else! Your response will be deeply personal because you bring your own thoughts, beliefs and experiences into consideration of the text.
Spend some time comparing the thoughts and views you hold after finishing a book with those you held before you began to read. Do you notice any views which have changed, or been strengthened? See whether you can identify why/why not. Try to discover the specific place in the text which has challenged or confirmed your personal views.
The themes of this novel include the power of the past to haunt the present, domestic comfort versus terror, the intractability of nature, companionship, grief, loss, vengeance, and the fear inherent to parenting, among others. Read the questions below and test your knowledge of the themes of The Woman in Black.