What is a difference between the British and Americans' thinking in The Canterville Ghost?

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the story "The Canterville Ghost," a main trait of the British is to believe in the historical superstitions of the house right away.  The British owners know about the ghost and take it at face value.  The house is haunted and nothing can be done.  The British simply don't question the stories about the house and ghost.  

On the other hand, the Americans do not believe in the ghost.  They think that the British are simply being superstitious and archaic.  

"But there is no such thing, sir, as a ghost, and I guess the laws of Nature are not going to be suspended for the British aristocracy."

Even as the Americans begin to believe that there might be something of merit to the ghost stories, they believe that superior modern day technology can rid the house of the ghost.  That's why Washington Otis claims that his special stain remover can get rid of the stain.  It's why Mr. Otis offers the ghost some special chain oil.  The Americans view the ghost as something to be beaten and conquered, while the British view the ghost and something to tolerate and deal with.