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The Woman in Black
The Woman in Black
by Susan Hill
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The Woman in Black Theme of Fear

Talk about Fright Nights. This is one haunted house that even thrill-seekers are going to want to avoid. The Woman in Black is interested in a lot of things—nature, the Sublime, revenge—but it's definitely interested in fear. What causes it? Who feels it? What does it prompt us to do? Is it just a fun emotion to evoke while we're sitting safely by the fire, or does it have a more primitive and profound purpose? And why doesn't Arthur obey his lizard brain and get himself out of Crythin Gifford before it's too late?

Questions About Fear

  1. Is Arthur afraid of the woman in black from the very beginning? When does he begin to fear her?
  2. Seriously, why doesn't Arthur leave? Or at least refuse to sleep at the house?
  3. Why does the woman in black want people to be afraid of her? What makes her so frightening, beside her spooky costume?
  4. Why do you think the villagers are so afraid of talking about the woman in black? Is there any reason to think that talking about her will make her worse?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

By making everyone afraid of her, the woman in black holds a kind of power that she did not have when she was alive.

Arthur starts off unafraid, but he becomes afraid as he begins to understand what's going on. Proper fear is a type of maturity.

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