The Canterville Ghost Questions and Answers
by Oscar Wilde

The Canterville Ghost book cover
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What is your impression of the twins in the story "The Canterville Ghost?"

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Olen Bruce eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The twins in the Otis family are unafraid and bold. They throw a pillow at the ghost when he growls at them, and they shoot at him with a pea-shooter. The twins are tricksters and devise a ghost made out of a sheet to scare the ghost. The ghost had heard them laugh earlier, so it's clear that the twins delight in trying to frighten the ghost and play tricks on him. They also place strings across the hallway to trip the ghost, and they place a jug above the doorway so that it falls on him and drenches him. In response, the twins chuckle. In response, the ghost becomes more afraid of the twins than they are of him. They are clearly mischievous, and they do not scare easily. 

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Thomas Mccord eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In "The Canterville Ghost," the twins are the youngest children of Mr and Mrs Otis. Nicknamed 'The Stars and the Stripes,' they quickly become the nemesis of Sir Simon, the Canterville ghost, because they delight in playing tricks on him. This occurs first in Chapter Two when the twins throw pillows at the ghost as he runs down the corridor to escape Mr Otis. Later, in Chapter Three, for example, the twins humiliate the ghost by using their pea-shooters on him. In another scene, in Chapter Four, the twins outwit him by constructing a slide from the entrance of the Tapestry Chamber to the top of the staircase. Unaware of its presence, the ghost slips on the slide and injures himself in the process. 

But the twins have a sentimental side, too. When Virginia goes missing in Chapter Six, for instance, the twins join the search to find her. At dinner, they are described as being "awestruck" and "subdued" by her absence because of their  fondness for her. So, while their love of mischief and playing jokes on the ghost is at the forefront of their portrayal, it is important to remember that they are affectionate and caring characters, too. They are overjoyed at their sister's sudden reappearance, for example, and, together, they all attend the ghost's funeral, a serious affair with no mention of tricks or pea-shooters. 

 

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