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The Woman In White, by Wilkie Collins

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The Woman In White, by Wilkie Collins, is a successful gothic novel of the 19th century. It is a 3-volume novel; each volume (epoch) finishing with the reader eagerly waiting to read the next one, therefore there are many unanswered questions, in or... The Woman In White, by Wilkie Collins, is a successful gothic novel of the 19th century. It is a 3-volume novel; each ‘volume’ (epoch) finishing with the reader eagerly waiting to read the next one, therefore there are many unanswered questions, in order for the reader to continue reading. There is a lot of mystery involved up until the very end of the whole story, where everything is then revealed; ‘The Woman In White’ is a good example of how mystery and suspense are used by the cliff-hangers that are present. The contents for a gothic novel conventionally contain an innocent heroine (Laura Fairlie/Anne Catherick), villain (Sir Percival Glyde) and a hero (Walter Hartwright/Marian Holocomb). Generally gothic novels had a transgression where everything went against god and all that was good. It had excessive reactions and ideas, for example the villain was truly evil, and the heroine was weak and feeble and needed rescuing, they were incapable of independent action. They were sublime, awe-inspiring and beyond life, they were fantasy ideas. However ‘The Woman In White’ fits into the Excess category, where the characters are exaggerated into their roles, and a lot of mystery and suspense is created. Typically gothic novels are set in large and intimidating buildings like a castle, like in this case, Blackwater Park, or they are very isolated, like Limmeridge. Supernatural or inexplicable events may take place, which create an atmosphere of mystery ... ... middle of paper ... ... many questions that we had are finally answered. We find out that Percival’s big secret was that he was born illegitimately and he did not want anyone to know as it might ruin his reputation. We also discover that Fosco and Percival were in on the plot together to claim the money. The reason for why Anne and Laura resembled each other so much is because they had the same father. Anne and Laura’s bodies were swapped so really Anne Catherick died. There is more back-story given of Mrs Catherick, Anne, and Fosco’s past. Walter is on a mission to prove all of this and prove Laura’s existence and a nice conclusion is placed where they get married so they live happily ever after. Good conquers evil, as it should be. Gothic novels have mystery and suspense as a fundamental part of the narrative, and it is apparent that this is true in ‘The Woman In White’.
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