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The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black

by Susan Hill

Arthur Kipps Timeline and Summary

  • At the book's opening, Arthur Kipps is celebrating the holidays with his family at their cozy little cottage. This is off to a great start!
  • But, when his stepchildren start to tell ghost stories, he gets a little strange and storms out.
  • It turns out that Arthur has a story to tell:
  • As a young man, he was sent to the town of Crythin Gifford to sort out the affairs of a deceased woman named Alice Drablow.
  • It's a creepy town with a lot of unfriendly folks, especially this one spooky woman in black who shows up at Alice's funeral.
  • Weird thing is, no one wants to talk about it.
  • Also weird: Eel Marsh House, and how it's conveniently cut off by the tide at certain hours of the day, so he could potentially just get stuck there.
  • Spooky things happen at night, like a rocking chair that moves by itself in the nursery and the continued sound of the pony and trap.
  • Gradually, Arthur figures out that the woman in black is a ghost: Jennet Humfrye, Mrs. Drablow's sister. Her child died in a terrible accident, so obviously she now haunts the area and foreshadows—or, hey, maybe even causes—the death of children.
  • No child has died this time, so Arthur feels relieved. He returns to London and life as usual.
  • He gets married to a woman named Stella and they have a child named Joseph.
  • One day at the fair, Joseph and Stella go on a pony and trap ride and as they ride off, Arthur sees the woman in black again. When the horse sees her, it gets spooked and Stella and Joseph get into a terrible accident and both die.
  • Arthur is left alone and bereft and the woman in black has gotten her revenge.
  • And that is why Arthur Kipps is not a fan of ghost stories. The end.
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