The Woman in Black

by Susan Hill

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What is the first impression of Crythin Gifford in The Woman in Black?

Quick answer:

Arthur Kipps arrives at Crythin Gifford and finds the inn where he will stay and a bedroom in the inn which seems nice and warm. He is lulled into thinking that everything will be fine after all.

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Arthur Kipps finally arrives at Crythin Gifford in the chapter entitled "The Funeral of Mrs Drablow," and it is clear from the opening line that his first impressions of Crythin Gifford are favourable. These are mostly formed through his impressions of the inn where he is to stay during his time at Crythin Gifford, which is described as follows:

As I caught sight of the piled-up fire and the capacious armchair beside it, in the parlour of the inn, and found another fire waiting to warm me in the prettily furnished bedroom at the top of the house, my spirits rose, and I began to feel rather more like a man on holiday than one come to attend a funeral...

In spite of the conversation he had on the train which seemed to paint Crythin Gifford and Eel Marsh House with foreboding, the reality experienced by Arthur when he arrives at Crythin Gifford appears to allay his fears and lull him into a false sense of security. What he feels is that his trip is not going to be as terrible as he was expecting, and that it will be alright after all. Of course, this is a key strategy used by Hill before introducing more supernatural elements of terror in order to increase the shock that the reader experiences when further terrors arrive.

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