Name all the heroes of the story. Determine their role in the story.
In the story, Lord Canterville, the family of Mr. Hyrum B. Otis, himself: Mr. Otis himself, his wife Mrs. Lucretia R. Otis, the eldest son Washington, daughter of Miss Virginia E. Otis, the younger sons-twins, nicknamed “Stars and Stripes”, because their without end of the flog.
In addition, Mrs. Amni, the housekeeper, the Canterville Ghost himself, in the past Sir Simon de Canterville lived in the castle, and also the Virgin Duke, a small duke, often appeared. What are the arguments of the former and future owners of the Canterville Castle? What does each of them assert? How to prove that the author with irony depicts this dispute?
What are the arguments of the former and future owners
Mr. Hyrum B. Otis, the US ambassador and Lord Canterville, who sold him his castle, was arguing about whether there were ghosts and whether there was a ghost in this castle. Mr. Hyrum was categorical and said: “There are no ghosts, sir, and the laws of nature, I dare to think, for all alone…”
Describe the first meeting with the results of ghost action in the castle. Find in this description the evidence of the author’s frank grin.
“Suddenly Mrs. Otis noticed a darkened red stain on the floor near the fireplace and, not knowing where it came from, asked Mrs. Amnie:
“You probably shed something here?”
“Yes, ma’am,” answered the old housekeeper in a whisper, “blood has been spilled here.”
– Horrible! exclaimed Mrs. Otis. “I do not want blood stains in my living room.” Let him wash it now!
The old woman smiled and answered in the same mysterious whisper:
“You see the blood of the Lady Eleanor of Canterville, who was murdered in this very place in 1954 by her husband, Sir Simon de Canterville… Tourists and other visitors of the castle with unchanged admiration view
“What nonsense!” exclaimed Washington Otis. – Unsurpassed Stain Remover and Exemplary Pinkerton Cleaner will destroy it in a minute. “
How did a practical American save the housekeeper from a tendency to faint?
“Dear Hyrum,” said Mrs. Otis, “what if she almost faints?”
“Keep her from her salary, as if she were smashing the dishes,” the ambassador replied, “and she will not want to do it any more.”
And it’s true, in two or three seconds Mrs. Amni returned to life. “
Prepare an expressive reading of the scene describing Mr. Otis’s first meeting with the ghost. In this case, as carefully as possible read all the descriptions. Remember also the name of the engine oil that Otis recommended to the ghost to lubricate the chains.
Let us find a description of this first meeting.
“It was exactly one o’clock in the morning… Mr. Otis… put his feet in his shoes, took out an oblong bottle from the vaness, and opened the door.” In front of him in the ghostly light of the moon stood an old man of terrible appearance, his eyes burning like burning coals, long gray hair fell on his shoulders, his dirty old dress was all in tatters, heavy rusty chains hung from his hands and feet, shackled.
“Sir,” said Mr. Otis, “I must ask you to lubricate my chains in the future.” To this end, I grabbed for you a machine oil bottle “The Rising Sun of a Democratic Party”.
Probably, from the first lines of this description, you noticed the benevolent and mocking attitude of the author to his heroes and the events that are happening to them. Both Mr. Otis and the Canterville ghost are funny, and their relationship with each other helps the reader understand the absurdity of those superstitions and prejudices that are ridiculous to the author and, of course, are funny to us in the 21st century.
Describe how the indignant ghost behaved after talking with Mr. Otis.
“The Canterville ghost was frozen with indignation, then, seizing the bottle in anger against the parquet floor, it rushed along the corridor, radiating an ominous green glow and wailing silently.” Having described this scene, you will certainly notice how mocking the author is and how he seeks to convince the reader of the absurdity of any superstition.
What did the “second exit” of the spirit look like? Find the most striking details of this description.
The ghost was outraged and craved for revenge. Until the end of the week everything was calm in the castle, only every day the stain on the floor was restored, which somehow changed color.
“The second exit of the spirit took place on the night of Monday.” He wanted to wear armor, but dropped them, and the whole family fled into the living room to this roar. However, they were not frightened. Twins immediately began to shoot a ghost from a slingshot, and Mrs. Otis offered him a medicine. “Having reached his refuge, he finally lost his composure and fell into a cruel yearning.”
What plan of revenge was conceived by the ghost and how did it end?
The ghost decided to frighten the ambassador and his family. It picked up a special and very terrible suit and decided whom and how it would scare. A special plan was worked out for the most important offender, the elder son of the ambassador: the ghost wanted to thrice his own throat with a dagger three times before his eyes. Then he wanted to frighten the ambassador with his wife, laying his cold hand on Mrs. Otis’s forehead. Then, a little parakeet of Virginia, it had to sit on the chest to the twins and appear before them in the form of a skeleton. But his plan ran into a more determined plan for the twins, who created their gorgeous ghost. The poor ghost, who never saw ghosts himself, fled in fear, not feeling the feet under him. The next morning he saw that the second ghost, which so scared him, was made of an empty pumpkin, a kitchen knife, a broom and a piece of white canopy.
Read in the faces of Virginia’s first conversation with a ghost. Try to read so that there is clearly a playful attitude of the author to this conversation.
Note that the conversation started Virginia.
“I’m very sorry for you,” she said, “but tomorrow my brothers return to Eton, and then if you behave yourself, no one will offend you again.”
“It’s silly to ask me to behave well,” he answered. “I’m supposed to rattle, groan in keyholes and walk around at night… But in this same whole sense of my existence!”
“There’s no point here…”
After reading the dialogue between Virginia and the ghosts to the end, you are convinced that the author not only sneers at his participants, but treats them with unconditional sympathy. In this longest dialogue of the story there is not only the amusing story of the Canterville ghost, in which instead of the desire to frighten we meet with a joke, but a lot of amusing funny comments. This conversation ends with the decision of Virginia to save the ghost from suffering and give him, at last, the desired peace.
Describe the search for the vanished Virginia and its sudden appearance.
The disappearance of Virginia is described as it could occur in a legend or a fairy tale. But her search is described quite plausibly, as in the story of ordinary events. First it was looked for by a servant, then by the whole family, who carefully examined both the house and the estate. Then everyone went to look for her in the gypsy camp. They were joined by a little duke, in love with Virginia. They went to the station of the railway, examined the nearest village, searched the pond… but found nothing.
However, as in any fairy tale, with the impact of church hours at midnight, with a thunderbolt that shook the whole house, Virginia appeared on the top of the staircase with a small casket.
Explain why the jewelry was left in Virginia.
The story talks about those laws that govern the rights of inheritance in England. But even without understanding these laws, we can decide that the heirs of Lord Kenterville did what the heroes of any fairy tale could do, they thought that the jewelry box should belong to Virginia.
What is the ending of this story like a fairy tale? Try to prove it.
In the finale of the story, the unfortunate specter of Lord Kenterville found peace, a kind girl, thanks to which it happened, got old jewelry and, in addition, a beautiful bridegroom who at the end of the story becomes her husband. We learn that the little duke’s name is Cecile. So, as in any fairy tale, at its end noble heroes receive happiness for their kindness and other wonderful qualities. The fairy tale reader always believes that it will end well, and in advance is grateful for this gift.
What definition of the genre of this work seems more accurate to you: a humorous story or an ironic tale? Maybe you will find another solution to this question.
The author himself called his work “material-idealistic history.” Of course, this name is also a joke. But the author managed to combine a completely material picture of the life of one practical and devoid of family prejudices with legends that accompanied the former life of the mysterious ruins of old castles. Therefore, for the story, you can find several other subtitles. It can be a “jocular narrative about the life of an ancient legend” or “ironic tale about the life of an old castle in our day.”
How would you describe the attitude of the Canterville ghost to the Otis family?
The Canterville Ghost is a hero who came not so much from fairy tales as from medieval legends. In ancient legends such heroes did not differ with the ability to experience any kind feelings towards others. However, O. Wilde created a work that frankly jokes about the rather gloomy fabrications of past generations. The ancient ghost of Lord Kenterville had a sense of gratitude and even presented his savior with a valuable gift. Of course, he valued Virginia and hardly felt a good feeling for the twin mischief-makers. But his relationship to individual members of the Otis family can be characterized by an ordinary scale of such assessments: the hero loves someone, and to somebody does not care. Probably, it can be said that Virginia helped the old ghost forgive her mischievous brothers.