The Canterville Ghost

Topics: The Canterville Ghost, Ghost story, Ghost Pages: 4 (1523 words) Published: July 3, 2013
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Setting
The story of the Canterville Ghost takes place in an old English country house, CantervilleChase, which has all the accoutrements of a traditional haunted house. Descriptions of the wainscotting, the library paneled in black oak, and the armor in the hallway characterize the Gothic setting and help Wilde clash the Old World with the New. Typical of the style of the English Decadents, the gothic atmosphere reveals the author’s fascination with the macabre. Yet he mixes the macabre with comedy, juxtaposing devices from traditional English ghost stories such as creaking floorboards, clanking chains, and ancient prophecies with symbols of modern American consumerism. Wilde’s Gothic setting helps emphasize the contrast between cultures—setting modern Americans in what could arguably be a classic symbol of British history—and underscores the "modern" thinking of the house's mismatched residents, the Otises. -------------------------------------------------

Plot

The story begins when Mr Otis's family shifted to Canterville Chase, despite warnings from Canterville that the house is haunted. The Otis family includes Mr. and Mrs. Otis, their daughter Virginia, twin boys (often referred to as "Stars and Stripes") and their eldest son Washington. At first, none of the member of the Otis family believes in ghosts, but shortly after they move in, none of them can deny the presence of Sir Simon (The Ghost). The family hears clanking chains, they witness re-appearing bloodstains "on the floor just by the fireplace", and they see strange apparitions in various forms. But, humorously, none of these scare the Otises in the least. In fact, upon hearing the clanking noises in the hallway, Mr. Otis promptly gets out of bed and pragmatically offers the ghost Tammany Rising Sun Lubricator to oil his chains. Despite Sir Simon’s attempts to appear in the most gruesome guises, the family refuses to be frightened, and Sir Simon...
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