The Woman in White
The Woman in White (1859-60) is the first and greatest "Sensation Novel." Walter Hartright's mysterious midnight encounter with the woman in white draws him into a vortex of crime, poison, kidnapping, and international intrigue. (From feedbooks.com)
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“The Woman in White” is Wilkie Collins' fifth published novel, written in 1859. It is considered to be among the first mystery novels and is widely regarded as one of the first and finest in the genre of “sensation novels." Sensation novels are a form of fiction that became extremely popular in the 1860’s in England and borrowed their plot lines and techniques from the domestic novel, Gothic novel, melodrama and the stage.
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Who is the narrator of this part of the narrative?
How does Mrs. Hartright's attitude toward Pesca differ from that of her daughter?
Pesca is referring to Dante's "Inferno", widely hailed as one of the great classics of Western literature. It details Dante's journey through the nine circles of Hell. (This annotation contains an image)
Walter's words indicate his ___________ to accept the position.
Walter is not excited about the offer Pesca shares with him. His reaction foreshadows future events. View the video to gain a better understanding of foreshadowing. (This annotation contains a video)
Walter sees a woman in white in the road. (This annotation contains an image)
What does Walter surmise about the woman from her attire and her manner?
Why does the woman in white think she can trust Walter?
What does Walter discover about the young woman?
What does Walter think about before he falls asleep?
Why does Walter consider the lady's appearance an anomaly?
Walter describes the incident with the woman in white. Her identity is a mystery to Miss Halcombe as well.
What is Walter's assessment of Mr. Fairlie?
We are beginning to learn more about the personalities of the characters in the narrative. This is called character development and is discussed in the video. (This annotation contains a video)
Raphael was a master painter and architect of the Italian High Renaissance. He is best known for his Madonnas and for his large figure compositions in the Vatican. (This annotation contains an image)
Walter uses a(n) ____________ to describe his feelings after leaving Mr. Fairlie's room.
After reading Walter's description of Mrs. Vesey, what word do you think best describes her?
How does Walter describe Miss Fairlie?
From Walter's description of Miss Fairlie, the reader can infer that she is
Walter feels that something is lacking in either himself or Miss Fairlie. His feelings here relate to events that happen later in the narrative...
Mrs. Fairlie's actions towards the little girl indicate that she is a _________ person.
What does Walter realize when he looks at Miss Fairlie?
Why does Walter chastise himself for falling in love with Miss Fairlie?
In Greek mythology, the Sirens (or Syrens) were dangerous yet beautiful creatures who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island.
Miss Fairlie's sadness is an example of
Miss Halcombe tells Walter that he must leave because Miss Fairlie is engaged. What advice does she give Walter?
Miss Halcombe tells Walter that Miss Fairlie is engaged to Sir Percival Glyde. Why does this information upset Walter?
Why does Miss Halcombe seek Walter's assistance?
The scriptures in Genesis and Daniel refer to dreams which come true.
Read Daniel 4: 24-25.24 This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king: 25 They shall drive you from men, your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make you eat grass like oxen. They shall wet you with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.Why do you think the writer of the letter refers to Daniel 4:18-25?
Theme refers to the main or central idea of a narrative. After watching the video on emerging theme, identify the main subject or theme being explored in this text. (This annotation contains a video)
Why does the schoolmaster punish Jacob?
Ghosts are an element in Gothic novels. Other elements are visions and dreams, women in distress, women threatened by men, high emotion, and a sense of gloom and horror.
Describe the Gothic elements in this scene.
Why does Walter wish to speak with the young woman he sees in the graveyard?
How does Anne Catherick respond when Walter relates the incidents of the night they first met? (This annotation contains an image)
What does Anne's manner reveal about her character?
What does Anne mean by these words?
Anne's behavior suggests that she is
What evidence supports Walter's suspicion that Sir Percival Glyde is the person who had Anne Catherick committed to an asylum?
Mr. Fairlie's letter to Walter and his nervous manner portray him as
What promise does Marian make to Walter about Laura's marriage to Sir Percival Glyde?
How does Mr. Gilmore plan to handle the situation with the letter?
Mr. Gilmore dispatches a servant to try to locate Anne Catherick and Mrs. Clements. What news does the servant bring?
How does Miss Fairlie express her emotions?
Both Walter and Laura feel turmoil or conflict. The video explains internal and external conflict. What conflicts do Walter and Laura face? (This annotation contains a video)
Who is the narrator of this portion of the text?
How does Sir Percival Glyde explain his relationship with Anne Catherick?
Mr. Gilmore places importance on Miss Halcolmbe's reservations about Sir Percival Glyde. What does this indicate about Mr. Gilmore's opinion of Miss Halcolmbe?
Mr. Gilmore thinks that the conditions Sir Percival Glyde places on Laura's reconsideration of their marriage is admirable. What does Marian think?
What can the reader infer from Laura's reluctance to speak of her marriage?
How does Mr. Gilmore now feel about the marriage between Laura and Sir Percival Glyde?
Mr. Gilmore's explanation of Laura's inheritance illustrates
Why does Mr. Fairlie's response disgust Mr. Gilmore?
What changes does Mr. Gilmore notice in Walter?
What does Sir Percival Glyde's insistence upon the control of Laura's income reveal about his character?
Why does Mr. Gilmore draw up the deed against his better judgment?
You will notice that this portion of the story is told from the point of view of a different narrator. The video explains point of view. (This annotation contains a video)
What does Laura's decision to speak with Sir Percival Glyde about the marriage agreement reveal about her?
How does Laura's confession to Sir Percival Glyde turn out differently than she expected?
What promise does Laura make to Sir Percival Glyde?
Mr. Fairlie views his niece's marriage merely as an obligation that must be handled.
Who is the narrator of this part of the story?
Why does Laura make this comment to Marian?
Marian compares Laura's wedding to a
Marian's distrust of Sir Percival and notice of his two defects are examples of
Why does Marian hate Sir Percival?
How does Marian describe the day before the wedding?
What is the setting for this part of the narrative?
What do Laura's letters reveal to Marian?
Marian describes Blackwater Park, Sir Percival's home. What are her impressions? (This annotation contains an image)
What upsets Marian about the housemaid's reaction to the injured dog?
Why does Marian find Laura less beautiful?
Sir Percival's behavior upon his return gives insight into his character. What does Marian discover from observing him?
Marian compares Count Fosco to Henry the Eighth. (This annotation contains an image)
The word indolent in this sentence means that Count Fosco is
Describe Count Fosco's oddities.
The arrival of Sir Percival's attorney evokes a sense of foreboding in Laura and Marian.
What is the purpose of Mr. Merriman's visit?
Count Fosco disagrees with Sir Percival's opinion that the lake is a good place for a murder.
Summarize Count Fosco's view of murder and virtue.
The Count's mellifluous voice is
Sir Percival is planning a long drive. Where does Marian think he is going?
Why doesn't Count Fosco want his wife to witness Laura's signature on the document?
Sir Percival is revealing himself to be an archetype of the true villain. An archetype is a typical character, an action or a situation that seems to represent such universal patterns of human nature. The video will give you a better understanding of archetypes. What other archetypes do you see in this text? (This annotation contains a video)
Why does Marian not want Laura to upset the Count?
Marian devises a plan to get assistance in ascertaining what they should do about Sir Percival's document. What is her plan? (This annotation contains an image)
What suspicion does Marian have about the letter?
Below is an image of the tomb of Ceclia Metella. What do Sir Percival's words reveal about his true motive for marrying Laura? (This annotation contains an image)
Sir Percival's taunts about Walter reveal him to be
This novel also fits into the genre of Gothic romance. Go to the link below and note the characteristics of the Gothic novel printed in bold print. (This annotation contains a link)
What elements of Gothic romance do you note in this novel?
Who may have been following Laura and Marian?
What conclusions does William Kyrle draw about Sir Percival's motives for insisting that Laura sign the document?
What events does Marian think change Sir Percival's mind about having Laura sign the deed?
Marian's dream reveals the Gothic elements of
Why does looking at Anne Catherick's face frighten Laura?
How does Anne Catherick plan to help Laura protect herself from Sir Percival?
Anne Catherick's revelation to Laura that Sir Percival has a secret confirms Marian's suspicions of him.
Why do Sir Percival's actions at dinner make Marian uneasy?
The weather contributes to the mood of apprehension. The video describes how mood and tone are used in a narrative. (This annotation contains a video)
What happens to confirm Marian's feelings of apprehension?
Madame Fosco and her husband express their disapproval of the manner in which Sir Percival treats Laura and Marian. The video below presents a humorous view of the way in which women were treated in Victorian England. (This annotation contains a video)
Compare the way the video portrays women's treatment in the Victoria era to the manner in which Sir Percival and Count Fosco treat Laura and Marian.
What information does Anne Catherick reveal in her note to Laura?
What does Marian learn about Sir Percival from his treatment of Laura and Fanny?
Marian suspects that someone has tampered with her writing materials. She distrusts Count Fosco, his wife and Sir Percival.
Madame Fosco's actions confirm that
Marian understands that Countess Fosco acts under the direction of her husband in all matters. She is very careful not to arouse Countess Fosco's suspicions.
What bothers Marian about Count Fosco's behavior at dinner?
The Count seems determined to keep Marian from leaving the room. What motive might he have?
What is the Count's assessment of Marian?
What plan does Marian devise to eavesdrop on the conversation between Count Fosco and Sir Percival?
Count Fosco compares a husband's relationship to his wife to
What is the topic of the discussion between Count Fosco and Sir Percival?
What does Count Fosco suggest as the best means of Sir Percival obtaining the money he (Sir Percival) needs?
A central theme of this text is
Count Fosco refers to the character of Mr. Punch who is descended from the Italian clown Pulcinella that is featured in the Commedia dell' Arte medieval tradition of the 15th Century. Punch always carried a big stick or 'batone', as the Italians called it, with which to fight his opponents, despite it sometimes being used to beat him. (This annotation contains an image)
What fate befalls Marian as a result of sitting on the roof in the rain?
Who writes in Marian's journal?
Who continues the narrative in this chapter?
How does Mr. Fairlie feel about Fanny's visit? (This annotation contains an image)
What was the purpose of Madame Fosco's visit to Fanny's room?
How does Mr. Fairlie perceive himself in relation to Laura's troubles?
How does Count Fosco impress Mr. Fairlie?
Writers use figures of speech to bring added meaning to a situation. One such device is dramatic irony in which the characters are oblivious of the situation but the audience is not. Watch the video for further explanation. (This annotation contains a video)
What examples of dramatic irony do we see in Count Fosco's conversation with Mr. Fairlie?
Remember that this novel is a detective story, mystery, and a Gothic romance. Consider Count Fosco's recommendation to Mr. Fairlie concerning Laura. Does he truly have her interests at heart?
For what purpose does the housekeeper relate her narrative?
Mrs. Michelson holds the Count in high esteem. Do you think her opinion of the Count is justified?
What opinion does Mr. Dawson express of Count Fosco?
What observation does Mrs. Michelson make about the relationship between Laura and Sir Percival?
What reason might Count Fosco have for wanting Laura to enter Marian's sick room?
Sir Percival tells Mrs. Michelson to dismiss all of the servants except Margaret Porcher, the most unintelligent of the servants. Why do you think he chooses to keep her in his employment?
What reservations does Mrs. Michelson have about Sir Percival's request?
Mrs. Michelson says that the circumstances surrounding Marian's trip to Limmeridge House were suspicious. How so?
Sir Percival's words make him seem
The reader knows the real reason that Laura does not want to stop at Count Fosco's house in London. To what does Mrs. Michelson attribute Laura's reluctance?
Lady Glyde's whispered words to Mrs. Michelson are an example of
Mrs. Michelson is upset when she discovers that Miss Halcombe has not gone to Limmeridge House but is actually hidden away in a room at Blackwater Park. Sir Percival admits that he deceived Laura but tries to convince Mrs. Michelson that it was out of concern for Laura. Does his explanation ring true?
Sir Percival accepts Mrs. Michelson's resignation but cautions her not to tarnish his
Mrs. Michelson does not believe that Count Fosco was intentionally involved in the deception of Lady Glyde. Do you agree with her opinion of the Count?
What is the purpose of Hester Pinhorn's narrative?
According to Walter, how is he different upon his return from South America?
I Corinthians 15:55 KJV reads, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" How does the highlighted text differ in meaning from the scripture text?
Why is it so difficult for Walter to read the inscription on Laura's grave? (This annotation contains an image)
How a story is narrated refers to its structure. Watch the video that follows. What is the structure of this text? (This annotation contains a video)
What interesting details about Anne Catherick does Count Fosco include in his letter to Mr. Fairlie?
When Marian visits the asylum, the patient who greets her is
How does Miss Halcombe plan to get Laura out of the asylum?
Explain how Count Fosco gets Laura committed to the asylum.
Miss Halcombe takes Laura to Limmeridge House to prove her true identity. What is the result? (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Walter retreat to far east London with Laura and Marian?
What information does Walter seek from Mrs. Vesey, Mrs. Michelson, and Hester Pinhorn?
Walter fears that ___________ may be watching for him at the lawyer's office.
Does Mr. Kyrlie give Walter any hope of proving Laura's identity and apprehending Count Fosco and Sir Percival?
Why is Walter suspicious of the two men?
What is the purpose of Count Fosco's letter to Marian?
Sometimes characters change throughout the course of a narrative. These characters are dynamic. An explanation of dynamic and static character is given in the video. Is Walter a dynamic or static character? (This annotation contains a video)
Walter describes his conflict as
Outline what Walter discovers about Sir Percival's past.
How does Count Fosco deceive Mrs. Clements?
What additional details about Laura's deception does Walter learn from Mrs. Clements?
What does Mrs. Clements suspect about Mrs. Catherick?
Walter begins to suspect that what appears to be the truth may be misleading.
Mrs. Catherick's treatment of Anne shows her to be
How does Laura's misfortune affect her disposition?
Walter refuses to wear a disguise. What does this tell you about his character?
Who do you think informed Mrs. Catherick that her daughter is dead?
Why is it important to Mrs. Catherick that the clergyman bows to her?
What part of the Secret does Walter dispel?
Walter's meeting with Mrs. Catherick leads him to believe that the Secret has to do with Sir Percival's family. He suspects that his family's ancestry is not what it seems. Deceptive appearances is another theme of this text. (This annotation contains a video)
The clerk takes Walter into the vestry of the church. What does he share with him about the door? (This annotation contains an image)
Why does the news Walter finds in the registry disappoint him?
Why do the two men press charges against Walter?
What is Sir Percival's Secret that Walter uncovers?
The parish clerk accuses Walter of taking the keys to the parish. Who do you think took the keys?
Walter uses a(n) ___________ to describe the ferocity of the fire.
What do the questions and answers of the villagers reveal about the fate of Sir Percival?
Why does Walter ask Marian to keep newspapers away from Laura?
As Walter relates the details of Sir Percival's death, you are probably sitting on the edge of your seat. What you are experiencing is tension. Watch the video to see how tension moves the narrative forward. (This annotation contains a video)
What obstacles does Sir Percival's death remove from Walter?
What additional information does Mrs. Catherick shed on Sir Percival's past?
Why doesn't Sir Percival tell Mrs. Catherick's husband that she has not been unfaithful to him?
Why does Sir Percival have Anne committed to an asylum?
Though Mrs. Catherick tells Walter the truth, she still desires to
Why does Walter decide not to expose Sir Percival's fraud?
Why doesn't Count Fosco expose Walter to the doctor?
After Count Fosco's visit Marian finds new accommodations.
Walter is able to deduce from Mr. Donthorne's letter that ___________ is Anne's father.
As Laura's health improves, the feelings she and Walter shared begin to surface again.
___________ is important to Walter.
The Crystal Palace was a cast-iron and plate-glass building erected to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. The latest technology was displayed there. (This annotation contains an image)
Walter finds that Marian has given him a very accurate description of Count Fosco. (This annotation contains an image)
How does Count Fosco react when he sees Pasca?
What surprises Walter about Pesca's response when asked to recall if he and Fosco may have met in his past life in Italy?
How does Count Fosco know Pasca?
How does Walter plan to get the information he needs from Count Fosco?
Pacing refers to the rate at which events occur in a story. The events of the narrative are swiftly coming together. (This annotation contains a video)
Why is Walter confident of success when he knocks on Count Fosco's door?
What does Count Fosco understand the Pesca's letter to mean?
Walter and Count Fosco agree on the terms of Fosco's confession to his part in Laura's deception and loss of identity. Watch the video clip from a movie version of the novel. (This annotation contains a video)
How does the scene from the movie clip differ from the scene in the novel?
Count Fosco writes his confession.
Count Fosco's unwillingness to part with his mice shows
The Count includes all of his titles. What does this reveal about him?
The details given here by the Count were previously recounted by Mrs. Clements. Notice how we get the same information from different perspectives.
Count Fosco's references to Marian indicate that
Do you recall these details from Hester Pinhorn's story?
Count Fosco's account expresses
Why does the driver remember Count Fosco?
How does Walter prove Laura's true identity?
Walter succeeds in proving Laura's identity.
Who does Walter think is responsible for Count Fosco's death?
The video reviews the themes of the novel and will help you recall the major events. (This annotation contains a video)