The Canterville Ghost Questions and Answers
by Oscar Wilde

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How do I start a critical appreciation of "The Canterville Ghost"?

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Oscar Wilde's "The Canterville Ghost" is a parody that compares the comportment of the effete English aristocracy with the practical Americans.

A critical appreciation of this humorous story could examine how Wilde ridicules the ineffective English aristocracy and the undeterred Americans who ignore the fright tactics of the ghost. In this discussion, then, the student can examine the themes of the story such as the "culture clash" between the American family and the aristocratic ghost, Sir Simon, who follows the classic pattern of having rusty, clanking chains and the other classic accoutrements of specters. The Otis family ignores the traditional meaning of these things and fearlessly strives to remedy what they perceive as problems.

Another theme to discuss is "Atonement and Forgiveness." Virginia Otis listens to the history of the ghost and instead of condemning...

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