The Canterville Ghost is a ghost story with a twist. It is a lighthearted comedy and not at all scary. Wilde’s brilliance is ubiquitous throughout this short story. The sadness and softer emotions are considerable and it is extremely fun to read. For a short story, Wilde manages to prepare a delicious treat, adding a bit of everything, from drama to comedy to a hint of romance.
The book revolves around an American family which moves into Canterville Chase, which is said to be haunted by Sir Simon, an ancestor of Lord Canterville. The ghost is extremely annoyed when the Yankees are completely unmoved by his presence. His fruitless attempts to frighten them further aggravates him. Instead of being scared by his presence, the offer him lubricants for his creaking chains, medication for his evil laugh which they mistake for coughing and cleaners for the blood stains that keep reappearing everyday. And the Otis twins keep embarrassing him with their Home Alone/ Dennis the Menace traps and tricks. He is extremely distressed and starts avoiding the family. But fortunately for the ghost, the family contains a kind teenage girl, who helps him seek redemption.
Initially, Wilde shows the ghost as a figure requiring sympathy, but as the book progresses, Sir Simon is revealed to be a dark personality. One thing that struck me was when he casually admitted to killed his wife because she “was very plain, never had my ruffs properly starched, and knew nothing about cookery.” The book is well written and well paced Wilde’s witty remarks don’t disappoint. I would recommend it to everyone.