The Woman in White Discussion Questions

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

'The Woman in White' is a mystery by Wilkie Collins about deceit in an English household. This resource provides discussion questions for students about this mid-nineteenth century novel.

The Woman in White

Wilkie Collins' 'The Woman in White' is an 1859 psychological thriller about an English art teacher, Walter Hartright, who sees a distraught woman dressed in white in London with a striking resemblance to a student he meets at his new teaching position. The novel explores identity, wealth, secrets, and corruption. The following questions guide student discussions about this novel.

Characters and Setting

  • Describe Walter Hartright at the beginning of the novel. Why is Hartright hesitant to accept the job at the Limmeridge House? Why do you think he decides to take it? What would you have done?
  • Describe the interaction between Hartright and the woman in white. What connection do Hartright and the woman have? Why do you think Hartright chooses to help her? Do you agree with his decision? Explain your answer.
  • Compare the Limmeridge House to the London setting. How does the setting impact the plot?
  • How does Marian help Hartright learn about Anne Catherick? What does Hartright discover about Catherick? What other questions are still lingering? What does Catherick's white clothing symbolize?
  • Describe the relationship between Hartright and Laura. What challenges does their relationship face? What advice would you give them?

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