“It made her age hard to guess”: Narrating the dynamics of aging and gender through Victorian Gothic archetypes in Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black
2023-07-22, Miquel Baldellou, Marta
Although Susan Hill has become a prolific writer of ghost narratives in the last decades, it was at a particularly momentous stage of her life as a woman writer that she published The Woman in Black (1983), which is considered her first ghost novel. Evoking the Victorian past, The Woman in Black engages intertextually with Victorian novels within the Gothic genre. The character of the Woman in Black comprises features pertaining to different Victorian Gothic archetypes, such as the ghost, the vampire, and the double. Some of the traits pertaining to these literary archetypes echoed Victorian anxieties about aging that are recovered and reinterpreted in Hill’s novel. Furthermore, in analogy with a Gothic romance, the encounter between the narrator as a young man, Arthur Kipps, and a spectral aging woman, the Woman in Black, unleashes the hero’s process of coming of age, which he recollects in his old age as he is writing his narrative. Narratological features pertaining to the Gothic genre, like the use of a frame narrative that blends past and present, underscore the dynamics of aging, since processes of interrupted aging and premature aging disrupt the boundaries that conventionally distinguish life stages. This article approaches Hill’s The Woman in Black as a contemporary ghost novel that evokes and subverts Victorian discourses of aging and gender, at the same time that, from a contemporary perspective, it vindicates the figure of the Victorian fallen woman as an aging mother.
“I don’t care about the physical appearance in a job” : A multimodal analysis of a challenging episode in the EMI classroom
2023-05-16, Martin-Rubió, Xavier, Diert-Boté, Irati
English-medium instruction (EMI) settings can be particularly challenging for lecturers since they must teach disciplinary content through a foreign language. This paper centers on an episode that reflects the demanding nature of EMI classrooms: a student objects to a part of the task instructions provided by the lecturer. Therefore, the objective of this study is first, to investigate the strategies used by an EMI lecturer in managing a challenging episode; and second, to identify the contextual factors that potentially impacted the lecturer’s pedagogical and interactional decisions in this situation. The episode is analyzed using multimodal analysis (Norris, 2004) and ethnographic knowledge from an interview with the lecturer. Findings reveal some degree of struggle in managing the situation adeptly, and suggest that unclearly delivered instructions, a resistance to delving into the underlying reason behind the conflict, an English-only policy, and a degree of language insecurity (and perhaps even lack of proficiency) appear to have played a relevant role in how the episode unfolded and was approached by the lecturer.