In this assignment, you will explore The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde (accessible through this Web site). Read Chapter 1 of the story. Then, use the provided template to create a PowerPoint presentation of 5–6 slides (include speaker notes) that addresses the following:
The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde
The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde
“He made me see what Life is, and what Death signifies, and why Love is stronger than both” is a famous quote from the book by Oscar Wilde. “The Canterville Ghost” is a short story by Oscar Wilde, first published in 1887. According to Giovanelli (2018), The Story is a comedy about an American family, the Otis family, who move into a haunted mansion, Canterville Chase, in England. The mansion is haunted by Sir Simon de Canterville, a legendary ghost who has terrorized the house’s occupants for centuries. However, the Otis family, who are practical and unafraid of ghosts, don’t take the ghost seriously and make fun of him (Giovanelli, 2018). The story is a satire of the American spirit of practicality and its contrast with English culture’s traditional values and beliefs (Giovanelli, 2018). It is also a critique of how the modern world is losing touch with the spiritual and supernatural. With their modern and practical attitudes, the American family brings a fresh and humorous approach to the story. The Otis family consists of a father, a mother, and their four children, and each family member has a unique and humorous personality. The father is a practical businessman, the mother is a loving and devoted wife, and the children are mischievous and adventurous. The story takes a turn when the youngest daughter, Virginia, takes an interest in the ghost and tries to understand why he is so unhappy Giovanelli (2018). She learns that the ghost is bound to haunt the house because of a curse placed on him by a sorceress and that he can only be freed by performing a good deed. Virginia decides to help the ghost and offers her help, which he gratefully accepts. With Virginia’s help, the ghost can finally perform a good deed, and as a result, he is freed from his curse and can finally rest in peace. Giovanelli (2018) also stated that the story is a perfect blend of humor, satire, and social commentary. Wilde uses the story to satirize the American attitude toward traditional English values and customs and criticize American society’s materialism and superficiality (Giovanelli (2018). He also uses the story to address deeper themes, such as the importance of kindness, compassion, and the power of love to overcome even the most challenging obstacles. This paper discusses how characterization has been portrayed, whether this story takes place in a modern time and why, and what is the narrator’s point of view.
In “The Canterville Ghost” by Oscar Wilde, characterization plays a crucial role in developing themes and conflicts. Through his depictions of the various characters, Wilde explores the cultural differences between America and England and the contrast between the supernatural and the practical. According to Doblovolna (2020), one of the key characters in the story is the ghost, Sir Simon de Canterville. Sir Simon is depicted as a tragic and lonely figure who haunts Canterville Chase for centuries. He cannot do so despite his efforts to scare the new occupants of the house, the Otis family (Doblovolna, 2020). This failure highlights the contrast between the supernatural and the practical, as the Otis family is depicted as unafraid of ghosts and completely disinterested in the supernatural. Through Sir Simon, Wilde is able to explore the idea that the modern world is losing touch with the spiritual and supernatural. Doblovolna (2020) also stated that another key character in the Story is Virginia Otis, the youngest daughter of the Otis family. Virginia is depicted as kind and compassionate and becomes friends with Sir Simon. Through her character, Wilde can explore the idea that the young are more open-minded and accepting of the supernatural than the older generations (Doblovolna, 2020). This contrast is further highlighted by the depiction of the Otis family, who are portrayed as practical and uninterested in the supernatural. Thus, the author uses characterization to develop themes and conflicts.
The story “The Canterville Ghost” by Oscar Wilde takes place in the 19th century, not in modern times. According to Rettenemaier (2022), this choice of setting was deliberate, as Wilde wanted to contrast the traditional values and customs of old England with America’s modern and practical attitudes. The story’s setting is the old and historic Canterville Chase, a mansion in the countryside of England that has been passed down from generation to generation. The arrival of the American family, the Otises, who move into the house, brings a fresh and humorous approach to the traditional English ghost story. Rettenemaier (2022) also stated that the contrast between the old and the new is central to the story. Wilde uses it to highlight the differences in attitudes and beliefs between the two cultures. The ghost, Sir Simon de Canterville, haunts the house for centuries and is desperate to escape his curse. However, with their modern and practical attitudes, the Otis family is skeptical of the ghost’s existence and does not believe in such supernatural beings (Rettenemaier, 2022). The story humorously portrays the attempts of the ghost to scare the Otis family, who remain unfazed by his efforts. Rettenemaier (2022), the setting of the 19th century, also allows Wilde to address deeper themes and social issues. For example, he uses the story to satirize the American attitude towards traditional English values and customs and criticize American society’s materialism and superficiality. The character of Virginia, the youngest daughter of the Otis family, serves as a symbol of hope and compassion, and her actions show that even the most modern and practical of people can still have a heart filled with love and kindness (Rettenemaier, 2022). Thus, the story “The Canterville Ghost” by Oscar Wilde takes place in the 19th century, not in modern times.
The narrator of “The Canterville Ghost” point of view is third-person omniscient, meaning they have complete knowledge of all the events and characters in the story. According to Davis (2021), the narrator is not a character in the story and is not privy to the thoughts and emotions of the characters. Instead, the narrator provides a third-party account of the events, allowing the reader to gain a broader understanding of the story and its themes. Davis (2021) also stated that the omniscient narrator in “The Canterville Ghost” allows Wilde to comment on the characters and their actions in a humorous and mocking tone. For example, the narrator comments on the American family who move into the Canterville Chase and their lack of belief in ghosts, describing them as “practical and unsentimental.” This satirical tone is a key aspect of Wilde’s style and contributes to the overall humor of the Story (Davis, 2021). Another important aspect of the narrator’s point of view is that it allows Wilde to create suspense and build tension throughout the Story (Davis, 2021). The narrator provides a clear and objective account of the ghost’s attempts to scare the American family, building up anticipation and leading to the story’s ultimate resolution. Thus, the narrator of “The Canterville Ghost” point of view is omniscient.
In conclusion, “The Canterville Ghost” is a delightful and entertaining story that has something for everyone. The characterization in “The Canterville Ghost” by Oscar Wilde plays a crucial role in developing the story’s themes and conflicts. The setting of “The Canterville Ghost” in the 19th century is essential to the story, as it allows Wilde to contrast the traditional and the modern and to address deeper themes and social issues. The narrator’s point of view in “The Canterville Ghost” is an essential aspect of the story. The omniscient narrator allows Wilde to comment on the characters and events in a humorous and satirical tone while also creating suspense and building tension. The narrator’s point of view is an essential element in Wilde’s storytelling, contributing to the overall humor and effectiveness of the story. Wilde’s writing style is masterful, and his memorable and lovable characters make this story a must-read for anyone who loves classical literature.
Davis, M. F. (2021). The Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885, “The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon,” and “The Canterville Ghost”: Laws of Desire, Counter-Fictions, and Counter-Fantasies. Synergies: A Journal of English Literatures and Cultures, 2, 9-23. https://doi.org/10.4454/syn.v2.392
Giovannelli, L. (2021). The Ghost as Artist Allusive Echoes in The Canterville Ghost. La Revista di Engramma 187 dicembre 2021, 65.
Němec, M. M., & Dvořák, J. Translation and Analysis of the Gothic Story The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde.
Rettenmaier, D. (2021). Wilde Meant that Letterally: An Analysis of the Correspondence of Oscar Wilde.