What are interview questions one could ask the Canterville Ghost?

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literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Oscar Wilde's short story "The Canterville Ghost" depicts the conflicts Horace B. Otis faces after he purchases the Canterville Chase (a haunted house).

Questions one could ask, which would give the Ghost the opportunity to reveal his character, are as follows.

1. Did you really murder your wife because you believed her to be plain and a bad housekeeper?

2. What made you come up with the different personas you use to frighten people (‘‘The Headless Earl," "The Corpse-Snatcher of Chertsey Barn,’’ and ‘‘The Blood-sucker of Bexley Moor’’)?

3. Why did you ask Virginia to pray for you and no one else?

4.  What do you think it was about the Americans which made them different from all of the others you frightened?

5. What drew you to Virginia?

6. Why did you feel that your only reasons to exist were to rattle your chains and groan through keyholes?

7. Why did you think that Virgina would follow you into the other dimension?

8. What did you teach Virginia about life, love, and death?

9. Why were you so insulted by the twins' attempts to frighten you if you intended to frighten them first?

10. Have you found eternal peace at last?

Some of these questions will require you to provide textual evidence from the story. Other questions require you to infer what the Ghost may say (based upon your individual interpretation of the Ghost's actions and dialogue).

kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To develop some interview questions for the Canterville ghost, it might be helpful to look at each chapter of the story individually. In chapter one, for example, you might want to ask the ghost how he feels about Lord Canterville leaving Canterville Chase. Also, how does he feel about the arrival of the Otis family? Specifically, what are his first impressions of the family?

For chapter two, you could ask the ghost how he feels about Washington's removal of the bloodstain in the library. In addition, how did he prepare for his first appearance before the family? Did he really believe, for instance, that rattling his chains would be enough to frighten them?

Similarly, for chapter three, ask the ghost why he waited a week to appear for the second time. Was it because he felt deflated by the family's lack of fear? Was he busy making preparations?

Continue in this manner, using the text of each chapter to guide the development of your questions.