The Woman in Black

by

Susan Hill

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Woman in Black can help.

Fog and Mist Symbol Analysis

Fog and Mist Symbol Icon

Throughout the novel, fog and mist symbolize impending disaster. At the start of the novel (in the frame story, which shows Arthur Kipps as an older man, retired to the countryside) Arthur is perturbed by the dreary, foggy weather as Christmas approaches. Though he does not admit it to himself, the misty weather no doubt reminds him of the odious, densely foggy London day on which his fateful trip to Crythin Gifford began—and the sudden sea mists that assaulted him there and contributed greatly to his sense of isolation at Eel Marsh House. Anytime fog or mist rolls in throughout the text, it is Hill’s way of warning her readers—and perhaps even Arthur himself—that trouble is on the horizon.

Fog and Mist Quotes in The Woman in Black

The The Woman in Black quotes below all refer to the symbol of Fog and Mist. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Gothic Horror Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of The Woman in Black published in 2011.
Chapter 2 Quotes

Fog was outdoors, hanging over the river, creeping in and out of alleyways and passages, swirling thickly between the bare trees of all the parks and gardens of the city and indoors, too, seething through cracks and crannies like sour breath, gaining a sly entrance at every opening of a door. It was a yellow fog, a filthy, evil-smelling fog, a fog that choked and blinded, smeared and stained. […]

Sounds were deadened, shapes blurred. […] it was menacing and sinister, disguising the familiar world and confusing the people in it, as they were confused by having their eyes covered and being turned about, in a game of Blind Man's Buff.

Related Characters: Arthur Kipps (speaker)
Related Symbols: Fog and Mist
Page Number: 20-21
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

So I thought that night, as I laid my head on the soft pillow and fell eventually into a restless, shadowy sleep, across which figures came and went, troubling me, so that once or twice I half-woke myself, as I cried out or spoke a few incoherent words, I sweated, I turned and turned about, trying to free myself from the nightmares, to escape from my own semi-conscious sense of dread and foreboding, and all the time, piercing through the surface of my dreams, came the terrified whinnying of the pony and the crying and calling of that child over and over, while I stood, helpless in the mist, my feet held fast, my body pulled back, and while behind me, though I could not see, only sense her dark presence, hovered the woman.

Related Characters: Arthur Kipps (speaker), The Woman in Black / Jennet Humfrye
Related Symbols: Fog and Mist, Pony Traps
Page Number: 82
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

As soon as I awoke, a little before seven, I felt that the air had a dampness in it and that it was rather colder and, when I looked out of the window, I could hardly see the division between land and water, water and sky, all was a uniform gray, with thick cloud lying low over the marsh and a drizzle. It was not a day calculated to raise the spirits and I felt unrefreshed and nervous after the previous night. But Spider trotted down the stairs eagerly and cheerfully enough and I soon built up the fires again and stoked the boiler, had a bath and breakfast and began to feel more like my everyday self.

Related Characters: Arthur Kipps (speaker), The Woman in Black / Jennet Humfrye
Related Symbols: Fog and Mist
Page Number: 112
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Woman in Black LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Woman in Black PDF

Fog and Mist Symbol Timeline in The Woman in Black

The timeline below shows where the symbol Fog and Mist appears in The Woman in Black. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Christmas Eve
Gothic Horror Theme Icon
...Arthur takes in the night, he is relieved to find that the chilling rain and fog that have made the house feel gloomy even in the days leading up to Christmas... (full context)
Chapter 2: A London Particular
Gothic Horror Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
The Past Theme Icon
...o’clock in the afternoon, it is already growing dark. London is enveloped in a thick fog, and has been for three days. It is a “filthy, evil-smelling fog”—neither sight nor sound... (full context)
Gothic Horror Theme Icon
The Past Theme Icon
The fog, however, does not give Arthur a sense of foreboding as he makes his way in... (full context)
Gothic Horror Theme Icon
...a meeting. Arthur gathers his things and leaves the office, heading out into the “choking” fog. (full context)
Chapter 3: The Journey North
Gothic Horror Theme Icon
...small talk about the weather, and Arthur confesses he is saddened to find he traded fog for rain. The man warns Arthur that he has not escaped the fog—in this part... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Sound of a Pony and Trap
Isolation and Trauma Theme Icon
...he turns around to look back toward Eel Marsh House, but finds that a thick sea-mist has come up and obscured both the path ahead and the way behind. Arthur walks... (full context)
Gothic Horror Theme Icon
Isolation and Trauma Theme Icon
...the pony trap. The marshes are still and silent, and there is no trace of fog or dampness in the air. (full context)
Gothic Horror Theme Icon
Isolation and Trauma Theme Icon
Keckwick laments that the only thing to do when such a fog rolls in is to wait it out. He explains his lateness: after he waited for... (full context)
Chapter 9: In the Nursery
Gothic Horror Theme Icon
In the morning, the weather has changed—the air is damp and cold, and a thick fog has settled around the house. Arthur lets Spider out, builds a fire, takes a bath,... (full context)
Chapter 10: Whistle and I’ll Come to You
Gothic Horror Theme Icon
The Past Theme Icon
...moans and whistles through the chimneys, and the marsh is barely visible for all the fog. Arthur manages to doze off again, until he is catapulted back to wakefulness by the... (full context)