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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Topics for Discussion

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1. Why do you suppose Virginia is the person Wilde chose to put Sir Simon to rest?

2. What is the meaning of the subtitle "A Hylo-Idealistic Romance?"

3. Who are the strongest characters in the story? What contribution does this choice make to the story's meaning?

4. How does Mrs. Otis represent the "ugly American?"

5. What do you suppose Wilde means by the sentence "In many respects, [Mrs. Otis] was quite English, and was an excellent example of the fact that we have really everything in common with America nowadays?"

6. What makes "The Canterville Ghost" a parody? What makes it a satire? What is the point Wilde wants to achieve through parody and satire?

7. Suppose a British family moved into a haunted house in the United States; what kind of house in the States might be suitable as a haunted house? How do you think the British would handle a haunting?

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