How does the Otis family treat the ghost in "The Canterville Ghost?"

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kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the beginning of the story, the Otis family denies the ghost's existence. In Chapter Two, however, the ghost makes his first appearance and Mr Otis reacts to him in a rather humorous way: he offers him some Lubricator to oil his noisy chains.

Later, in Chapter Three, the ghost attempts to scare the family by wearing an antique suit of armour. The family reacts with violence, as though the ghost is an unwanted visitor to the house. Mr Otis, for instance, pulls out his revolver:

The United States Minister...called upon him, in accordance with Californian etiquette, to hold up his hands!

In this scene, the twins also attack him with their pea-shooters. During his escape, he lets out a frightening groan which prompts Mrs Otis to offer him some tincture for his "indigestion."

In contrast, the only member of the family who treats the ghost with any kindness and sympathy is Virginia. She has a conversation with the ghost in Chapter Five in which she learns of his past and his desire to go to the Garden of Death. Unlike the other members of her family, she chooses to work with the ghost instead of trying to work against him.

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The Canterville Ghost

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