English project canterville ghost

  1. 1. En g l i s hPr o j e c t
  2. 2.This is a review of a novel “the Canterville ghost”written by Oscar Wilde. It is a horror story but with adifference which is why I thought of writing a review.I went through the book and found it interesting. Ihave tried to inform my readers about the book as wellas possible have discussed the general plot, thecharacters as well as the summary in details. I havehonestly given my opinions about the plus points andnegative ones. I hope my readers find this reviewhelpful in deciding whether to read the book or not. Ithank everyone from whom I have received help in anyway while writing this review. --Swastik Mishra
  3. 3.• The story is about a ghost which lives in a house. The ghost tries to scare everybody who live in the house. He loves doing what he had done before to all who live in the house. But everything is changes when a family from America decided to live in the house. The family already knows that there is a ghost in the house, but they do not believe in ghost. The family consist the parents and their four children. The head of the family is Mr. Hiram B. Otis. He is an American ambassador. The ghost plays many tricks to scare the family but they do not work. The ghost does the same thing that he had done to all families that lived in the house before. He thinks the family will get scared of him and will move out from the house. All the tricks played by the ghost to scare the family does not work, but the family plays the same game and the ghost is scared by them. The only daughter in the family, Virginia is a kind-hearted girl. She becomes a friend to the ghost. One day, the ghost says that he wants to sleep„ because he has not taken rest for three hundred years. He considers death to be very peaceful. He takes Virginia along with him to the Garden of Death.
  4. 4.• Finally, the family finds the skeleton in a room. It belonged to Sir Simon. The skeleton was finally buried in peace. As asked by the ghost, Virginia always visited the ghosts grave and prayed for him.
  5. 5.• The Canterville Ghost is a ghost story. Ghost stories belong to the genre called horror literature, whose purpose is to scare the reader with situations that cause horror or fear. The most common technique is suspense, the slow insinuation of a doubt or of a frightening revelation, which keeps the reader interested.• This story can be defined as an inverted ghost story, because a lot of elements are different from the traditional ones. The main difference is the fact that Mr Otis is not scared by the ghost, while usually people should be. Moreover, the Ghost itself is frightened by the Otis twins.
  6. 6.• There is also comic relief bordering on farce, including buckets of water balanced on half-open doors. But the story has a dark centre. The crime and retribution which led to the haunting is ghastly, and this is really not a comedy at all, but a tale of redemption through the power of love. The innocent girl of the family, appropriately called Virginia, prays for the ghost and endures terrifying if unnamed experiences to release the ghost.• Also, The Canterville Ghost is both a parody of the traditional ghost story and a satire of the American way of life. Wilde obviously intends to satirize American materialism, but he pokes fun at English traditional culture as well.
  7. 7.• The ghost: he is the ghost of Canterville Chase. He was Sir Simon de Canterville and died in 1584, his spirit still haunts the Chase. His aspect is very terrible• Mr. Otis: The head of the Otis family and father. He is a middle-aged American ambassador; he is determinate, inflexible, rational, practical and pragmatic, in conclusion a true American.• Virginia: The daughter is the only one in the family who is scared by the ghost. She never speaks except to the ghost, at the end of the story. She is fifteen years old and very kind-hearted.• Washington: the Otises oldest son• The twins: These children always play tricks on the ghost and make him depressed and desperate. All along the story, they imagine jokes and even dress up as ghosts.
  8. 8.• Mrs Otis: The mother isnt scared of the ghost and even asks him if he wants a remedy for his stomach. “She is a very handsome middle-aged woman with fine eyes and a superb profile. She has a magnificent constitution and a wonderful amount of animal spirits.”• Duke of Chesire: He is a duke desperately in love with the fifteen-year old Virginia Otis. However, his guardians pack him off to Eton, and he must wait to marry. When Virginia vanishes, he insists on being part of the search party. As soon as she reappears, he smothers her with kisses. His devotion is rewarded, and Virginia consents to become the Duchess of Cheshire.• Lord Canterville: He is a respectable descendent of the Canterville family, that was the owner of the Canterville Chase.• Mrs.Umney: She is the old house-keeper of Canterville Chase who is very terrified by the ghost and tries to warn the family.
  9. 9.• When the story starts, the American minister, Mr Hiram B. Otis has purchased Canterville Chase, an English country house. Otis is warned by Lord Canterville that the house is haunted, but he doesn‟t believe in ghosts.• Washington applies some strong stain remover – Pinkerton‟s Champion Stain Remover and Paragon Detergent – to the blood stain, which disappears temporarily and reappears the next day. As soon as they remove the stain it reappears the following day – bright red, dull red, purple and even bright emerald green.• After the blood stain reappears the first time, the Otis family conclude that there must be a ghost. Mrs Otis is a modern day woman and declares that she is going to join the Psychical Society. Washington decides to write to Messrs Myers and Podmore, “on the subject of the Permanence of Sanguineous Stains when connected with crime.”
  10. 10.• The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde is mostly told through the eyes of the very theatrical ghost, Sir Simon, who appears in many different costumes and personas – Red Reuben, Strangled Babe, Dumb Daniel, Suicide‟s Skeleton, Martin the Maniac, Masked Mystery, Reckless Rupert, Headless Earl and so on. The first night Sir Simon decides to haunt the Americans, Mr Otis greets him with a container of Rising Sun Lubricator for him to oil his manacled chains so he doesn‟t make so much noise and disturb the family‟s sleep. The twin boys also throw a pillow at him.• The ghost quickly retreats to his hiding place and feels quite insulted. Never in his three hundred years of haunting people at Canterville Chase has he ever received that kind of reception. The tables have been turned on the ghost, and instead of him terrifying the residents, they instead “terrify” him. The twins use their pea shooters and discharge pellets at Sir Simon. One night after he attempts to frighten the family with one of his terrible laughs, Mrs. Otis lets him know that he sounds quite terrible and offers him a bottle of Doctor Dobell‟s tincture.
  11. 11.• Sir Simon suffers great indignities at the hand of the American family, who are not afraid of him. He enters the twins‟ room to scare them and a large jug of water falls on him, which just about does him in. He has a grand plot to exact

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    revenge against Washington whom he bears a special grudge for removing the blood stain with Pinkerton‟s Paragon Detergent. But once again, the joke is on Sir Simon, when he encounters, what he perceives as another. The ghost has never seen another ghost and is quite terrified and flees to his room. When he regains his composure and courage, Sir Simon seeks out the ghost to form some sort of alliance. He discovers to his chagrin, that the ghost wasn‟t a real ghost. In another instance, Washington and the twins force him into the great iron oven, which luckily wasn‟t lit at the time, forcing Sir Simon to escape through chimneys.

  12. 12.• Sir Simon‟s nerves begin to unravel because nothing is working and he is becoming quite weak. He even decides not to bother with replacing the stain on the floor in the library. He doesn‟t think very highly of the Otis family “They were evidently people on a low, material plane of existence, and quite incapable of appreciating the symbolic value of sensuous phenomena. The question of phantasmal apparitions, and the development of astral bodies, was of course quite a different matter, and not really under his control…”• The ghost resigns to the fact that he will not be able to frighten the “rude” American family. The twins lay in wait for Sir Simon on several occasions laying traps for him but he never appears. The family concludes that the ghost has left Canterville Chase. All during this time, Virginia was the only one in the family that did not play a trick on, or even approach the ghost.
  13. 13.• One day while out riding, Virginia tears her riding habit quite badly and decides to enter Canterville Chase through a back door. She is surprised to discover the Canterville Ghost sitting by a window. His disposition is that of someone suffering from depression and she feels sorry for him. An interesting dialogue takes place between them and during that time, he admits that he killed his why and why, and Virginia tells him that it is wrong to kill. She is also upset because he stole her paint to replace the blood stain and hence the mystery of the different colours of “blood” is solved.
  14. 14.• Virginia tries to convince Sir Simon to go to America because they would appreciate a ghost there, but he doesn‟t want to go to America. Sir Simon is weary because he hasn‟t slept in over three hundred years. He wants rest, but is terrified of the Garden of Death. He believes that through Virginia he will receive forgiveness and allowed to rest. He believes that through the purity of a child, hell cannot prevail.• She takes him through the portal, and doesn‟t tell her parents, so when they cannot find her they panic. But no one even thinks about Sir Simon, because they believed he had left. Virginia appears the next day after her family had searched for her everywhere and couldn‟t find her. She relates what happens and shows them the gift of jewels she received from Sir Simon. Mr Otis tries to return the jewels to Lord Canterville who refuses them and is convinced that should he take them, Sir Simon would return.
  15. 15.• The story ends when Virginia is married a few years later, and the reader gets the sense that something profound took place with her encounter with Sir Simon that she has never revealed.
  16. 16.This story is quite funny and humorous. But when one stops to think, this is a story of contrasts. When one thinks about it he can observe, an American family immigrates to England and buys a veryEnglish country home. Though they are warned that the house is haunted, they initially do not believe. However, when they realize that the house is indeed haunted, they do not respond in a “British” way by being scared, they turn things around on the ghostbaffling him. One can see the ghost going through a range of emotions until he is a broken man. It‟s astory of role reversals, instead of the ghost terrorizing the residents of Canterville Chase, they terrorize him instead.
  17. 17.Q. Discuss „The Canterville Ghost‟ as a ghost story.Ans: Ghost stories belong to genre of horror or fear. The main themes are death, evil and ancient prophecies. They generally have a terrifying effect on the readers. But the Canterville Ghost is not a typical ghost story. It has all the elements of a ghost story. But all the time the ghost is terrorized by the people instead of the ghost haunting them. Canterville Ghost presents a miserable, bedraggled picture instead of a scary one. When he laughs demonically, he is offered tincture. When he rattles his chains he is offered lubricator. His victims gain in strength in the ghost fall s weak and gradually turns invalid. The ghost has a gory past behind him, his skeleton lies awaiting release, yet he has to trod on till Virginia offers a ray of hope. The Ghost story is told from Sir Simon‟s perspective.
  18. 18.Q. Discuss the use of Supernatural elements in the story by giving evidence from the text.Ans-„The Canterville Ghost‟ has all the elements of a horror story – a haunted, a ghost, Gothic elements, murder, vengeance, spooky atmosphere. There is liberal use of elements that defy the physical laws. The ghost is the main protagonist. He haunts corridors, clans chains, vanishes through wainscoting, utters demonic laugh, has paralyzed, drowned and killed many victims. The blood stain persistently reminds of a murder that has been committed. The atmosphere turns ugly as the family reaches the villa and “a curious stillness seems to hold the atmosphere”. The stage is set for the terror to follow. There is a reappearing blood stain, lightning and thunder, etc. The ghost is portrayed with blood shot eyes, he vanishes into fourth dimension of space, he becomes phosphorescent, makes a deep churchyard grin, he can frighten.
  19. 19.Q. What is the dramatic significance of the blood stain that proves persistent?Ans-When the story begins, Lord Canterville warns Mr. Otis that the presence of a ghost has made Canterville chase uninhabitable. Mr. Otis, however remains sceptic. When the Otis family enters, the blood stain is the first important piece of physical evidence to prove that a murder has been committed and the mansion is haunted. Any attempt to wipe it away leads to a threatening and strange peal of thunder and the fainting of Mrs. Umney. Yet the Otis family sticks to the belief that there is no ghost. But the reappearance of the ghost is the cause why the Otis family cannot deny the presence of ghost. The author has used this event quite cleverly in setting the stage for the appearance of the ghost.
  20. 20.Q. The most interesting part of the story is the reversal of the expected situation when the Otis family terrorize the ghost instead of the ghost terrorizing them. Bring out the truth In the above statement by quoting from the text.Ans-The author cunningly pairs the reversal of situation with reversal of perspective. The story is told from the view of the ghost and not from that of the Otis Family. When the ghost rattles his chains while moving in the corridor, he is offered lubricator. He is offered tincture and accused of indigestion when he laughs demonically. The twins throw pillows at him, shoot at him, drench him with water and the poor ghost gets an inferiority complex. He considers himself invalid. He wears an armor, only to be injured by it himself. He is ridiculed , thrown off the staircase and relegated back to the chamber.
  21. 21.• www.wikipedia.org• www.imdb.com• www.englishforums.com

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