Suspenseful Plot in Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White Essay

Suspenseful Plot in Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White Essay

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The nineteenth century mystery novel The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins excites the reader with detailed descriptions and a suspenseful plot. The testimony of multiple characters reveals the story of Laura Fairlie’s arranged marriage to Sir Percival Glyde. Percival’s friend, Count Fosco, is at his side, and Marian Halcombe, Laura’s half-sister, is at her side. Walter Hartright, a watercolor artist, finds himself residing with Laura temporarily as he is hired to teach her his art. The two soon fall in love, changing Laura’s plans to marry Percival. Through the course of the narrative, the underlying motives and secrets of each of the characters are revealed.
Some readers may find Collins’ novel excessively wordy. At times, this is true: perhaps Collins could have been briefer in explaining how Hartright’s sister (a character with no place in the plot) picked up pieces of a broken teacup, or when revealing minute legal details in the testimony of Mr. Gilmore, the family solicitor. Nevertheless, these extra details are very beneficial in character and plot development. “Details such as signatures, a copy of a death certificate, and a reproduction of a tombstone engraving cause a number of the narratives [to] double as readable images” (Irvin 225). Within these detailed images, Collins uses both suspense and vivid portrayals to develop the engaging and contrasting personalities of Laura Fairlie and Count Fosco.
A good first impression can be important, whether it is during a job interview or while meeting in-laws for the first time. Before the interviewee has even opened their mouth to speak, the interviewer has been given an impression through “obvious visible characteristics [like] gender, facial expressions, ethnici...


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...ization of Masculinity in The Woman in White." Novel: A Forum on Fiction 37.1/2 (2003): 158-180. Literary Reference Center. EBSCO. Web. 10 July 2010.
Bernstein, Stephen. "Reading Blackwater Park: Gothicism, narrative, and ideology in The Woman in White." Studies in the Novel 25.3 (1993): 291. Literary Reference Center. EBSCO. Web. 9 July 2010.
Collins, Wilkie. The Woman in White. London: Penguin Books, 1999. Print.
Irvin, Darcy. "Image-Texts in The Woman in White." Rocky Mountain Review 63.2 (2009): 225-232. Literary Reference Center. EBSCO. Web. 10 July 2010.
Shelley, Mar. Frankenstein. New York: Bantam Dell, 2003. Print.
Veletsianos, George. "Contextually relevant pedagogical agents: Visual appearance, stereotypes, and first impressions and their impact on learning." Computers & Education 55.2 (2010): 576-585. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 9 July 2010.

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