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Ratings and Reviews (4 9 star ratings
4 reviews

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  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Most Horrible...

    In Canterville Chase there is a misunderstood, unsuccessful ghost, who used to be very successful, until an American family, Otis, moved in. The Americans are portrayed in a peculiar manner. They have a fancy for materialim and American super products, and know nothing about the English etiquette. Wilde emphasized differences in culture by creating special characters and then pitting the "unsophisticated tastes" of the patriotic Americans - patriotic as their children are named Washington and Virginia - against the Brittish esteem of traditions. Spoiler's alert! Thereby, the family haven’t got a clue how to behave when seeing a ghost, nor that it’s not very polite to insult him. The Ghost tries many different approaches, but is sinking deeper and deeper into despair. It all starts when Mr Otis is tired of the noise the Ghost is making - trying to scare them with rustling chains - and declares: ”I really must insist on your oiling those chains, and have brought you for that purpose a small bottle of the Tammany Rising Sun Lubricator”. The self-centred Americans don’t respect him at all, despite all his effords to frighten them, and the fact that he's not able to fulfill his duty makes him depressed. He can't understand their behavior, and, in fact, he ends up being the one fleeing from them. ”There was evidently no time to be lost, so, hastily adopting the Fourth Dimension of Space as a means of escape, he vanished through the wainscoting, and the house became quiet quiet.” My favorite parts were the ones with the blood-stain. It is hilarious, and referred to many times. ”For some days after this he was extremely ill, and hardly stirred out of his room at all, except to keep the blood-stain in proper repair.” ”For five days he kept to his room, and at last made up his mind to give up the point of the blood-stain on the library floor. It the Otis family did not want it, they clearly did not deserve it. They were evidently people on a low, material plane of existence, and quite incapable of appreciating the symbolic value of sensuous phenomena.” ”'...who ever heard of emerald-green blood?' 'Well, really' said the Ghost, rather meekly, 'what was I to do? It is a very difficult thing to get real blood nowadays, and as your brother began it all with his Paragon Detergent, I certainly was no reason why I should not have your paints. As for colour, that is always a matter of taste: the Cantervilles have blue blood, for instance, the very bluest in England; but I know you Americans don’t care for things of this kind.'” What is it with Oscar Wilde that so captures me? I ask myself. Well, first and foremost, his books have an exceptional wit. Second, Wilde had a scary, extraordinary ability to reveal people’s inner nature, that is a fact, evident in masterpieces like "Picture of Dorian Gray" and "The Nightingale and the Rose". Third, Wilde often turned things around, and offered new perspectives. In this piece of work, Wilde’s main protagonist isn't one of the family, often adopted by other authors of ghost stories, but the Ghost itself. Wilde concentrated on his feelings, fears and despair, and the story takes a different turn than you might have thought. It’s not entirely a satire, it's also deeply insightful and moving. The story, as I see it, is really about forgiveness and moving on, something that, interestingly, is examined through a ghost. The ending, where Virginia must weep for him for his sins, because he have no tears, and pray for him for his soul, because he have no faith, was beautiful.
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    good imression..

    Americans are brash, tacky, shallow, pompous, and they really, really like to talk about products and shop for products and use products. Odd theme for a scary tale, right? Well, it so happens that it fits quite nicely in the ghost story format. And this is not the only time this has happened. You may not realize it, but I assure you that you already know the general plot and tone of this story: Biiiiiig city Americans (New Yorkers, in fact) move into a somewhat worn-down but charming estate in the English countryside which is haunted by a guy and his wife who murdered his wife, and all kinds of darkly humorous shenanigans ensue as this ghost attempts to chase the stubborn, pretentious New Yorkers from his home (in a town called Winter River? No, wait, it's England...okay, I’m confused). Twisting and distorting his body in graphically violent ways, wearing any number of "spooky" costumes, moaning and groaning throughout the house at night, and attempting to fake his own gory death in front of one of the children (I am not making this up) are all to no avail, and only add to the ghost’s frustration at his inability to frighten the unwelcome guests.
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    good book

    For 300 years Sir Simon has successfully haunted and spooked everyone and anyone residing in his ancestral home, Canterville Chase, then the Otis family from America comes along and suddenly scaring isn’t coming so easily for Simon anymore. I was in love with this story in the 7th grade and I had read and reread it a zillion times during junior high and high school. I had recently purchased a copy of the book as it has been many, many years since I have visited Canterville Chase. Last night was storming and rainy and it left me in an Oscar Wilde kind of mood, I opened my copy and revisited the story I had loved so. It’s nice to find out the story has lost none of its luster. This tale cracks me up. Sir Simon has a huge repertoire of scare tactics and he pulls out all the stops to spook the Otis family to no avail. The utter frustration the ghost feels in the face of the American’s disregard is absolutely palpable. The harder he tries, the less he succeeds, the more I laugh. Then you have the family turning the tables on him and confronting him in various different ways, each one horrifying to Sir Simon and amusing to the reader. In the end, Sir Simon and the Otis family are indebted to one another for various reasons. Amidst the hilarity and fantasy there is just enough sentimentality and romance to make the tale all the more real and engaging. Oscar Wilde had a captivating imagination and luckily the talent to translate it to paper, I suspect I will reread this a zillion more times in my lifetime.
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    must reads..

    Now that was a good ghost story. It was refreshing. I loved the humor, but there was also pathos. I kind of liked the old crusty Canterville ghost, even though he was kind of evil. I loved how the Otis children turned the tables on him. And how Virginia felt sad for Sir Simon, and helped him to get closure. This is the second story I've read by Oscar Wilde, and I must say, I am very impressed with his writing. His work has a depth, but an airy lightness to it, and a hard to define beauty to it. Honestly, I can't find the words to really explain how I feel about it. I think that he managed to put so much into this short story, and I was very pleased with the result. I can't believe I waited so long to read Oscar Wilde. Shame on me. If you have not read The Canterville Ghost, I highly recommend doing so. It is free online through various sources.

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