The Canterville Ghost Questions and Answers
by Oscar Wilde

The Canterville Ghost book cover
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Provide a character sketch of Virginia Otis.   

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Virigina is a good-hearted, active fifteen year old girl. Wilde says of her that she “was a little girl of fifteen, lithe and lovely as a fawn, and with a fine freedom in her large blue eyes. She was a wonderful Amazon, and had once raced old Lord Bilton on her pony twice round the park, winning by a length and a half, just in front of the Achilles statue, to the huge delight of the young Duke of Cheshire, who proposed for her on the spot, and was sent back to Eton that very night by his guardians, in floods of tears.” For all her activity, Virigina is distinguished from her brothers in that she does not participate in any of the pranks they play on the ghost. In fact, Virginia can be thought of as a version of the Victorian home-goddess character common in Victorian narratives; this person (always female) is the one who maintains domestic tranquility, has infinite patience, is always willing to help, and is honest to a fault, and has an unfailing sense of right and wrong. Notably, it is Virigina that gains the ghost’s confidence in Chapter 5, and it is her sympathy and understanding that makes it possible for the ghost to finally find rest. As the Duke says to Virginia when she leads her family to the ghost’s skeleton, now at peace: “What an angel you are!”

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In "The Canterville Ghost," Virginia is the only member of the family who shows no interest in the ghost at all. She does not bother him nor does she try to remove the blood-stain in the library, like the other members of her family. This demonstrates her unprejudiced and inclusive attitude towards others: she not only accepts the ghost as a fellow inhabitant of the house but she respects his historic position.

Secondly, Virginia is kind-hearted, as we see in Chapter Five when she meets the Canterville ghost in person. When he tells her that he was starved to death, for example, she offers him a sandwich from her case. In addition, when the ghost says that he has not slept for three hundred years and is very tired, her reaction provides further evidence of her kind and gentle nature:

Virginia grew quite grave, and her little lips trembled like rose-leaves.

Finally, Virginia is helpful and generous, even when her safety is in peril. This is shown by her willingness to help the ghost, even though she is warned against it:

Horrible animals with lizard tails, and goggle eyes, blinked at her from the carven chimney-piece, and murmured 'Beware! little Virginia, beware! we may never see you again."

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First off, some basic details about Virginia.  She is the daughter of the Otis family.  She's obviously a female.  She has blue eyes and is fifteen years old. She must be quite beautiful, because she wins the heart of the Duke of Cheshire almost immediately.  When the story begins, Virginia is a bit standoffish.  She doesn't partake in the games that her brothers are playing with the ghost, and she immediately seems to sympathize with Sir Simon.  She has a tender, caring heart, because she is the only one of the Otis family that is willing to help the ghost of Sir Simon.  Virginia also is an extremely trustworthy character, because at the end of the story, her husband asks exactly what she did to help Sir Simon.  Virginia, refuses to tell.  

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