illustration of a ghost standing behid an iron fence with its arm raised against a large mansion

The Canterville Ghost

by Oscar Wilde

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What will the Canterville ghost tell the other ghost in "The Canterville Ghost"?

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On the way to Washington Otis's room, the Canterville ghost sees another ghost. Frightened, the Canterville ghost rushes back to his room and drops his knife into the minister's jack boots. At first, the Canterville ghost hides himself under his bed sheets, but then he resolves to speak to the other ghost. He wants to tell the other ghost that they should work together against the Otis twins. The Canterville ghost feels that if he befriends the other ghost, they can defeat the formidable twins. However, when he approaches the other ghost and seizes it, its head rolls off. The Canterville ghost realizes that the other ghost is made up of a bed sheet, sweeping brush, kitchen cleaver, and hollow turnip. The other ghost has been rigged together by the Otis children to frighten the Canterville ghost. 

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In Chapter Three of "The Canterville Ghost," the Canterville ghost gets an unexpected surprise when he meets with another ghost in the house. Initially, this "horrible spectre" terrifies the Canterville ghost because he has never seen a ghost before; however, later he decides to go and speak with him. Though Wilde does not reveal his exact words, it becomes clear that the Canterville ghost believes that this other ghost will be a useful ally, as explained in the text:

He returned towards the spot where he had first laid eyes on the grisly phantom, feeling that, after all, two ghosts were better than one, and that, by the aid of his new friend, he might safely grapple with the twins.

Sadly, however, the Canterville ghost realizes that this other ghost is, in fact, a dummy created by the Otis boys. This was nothing more than a trick designed to frighten and humiliate the Canterville ghost and, to this end, it was very successful.  

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