“The Canterville Ghost”, written by the well known English author Oscar Wilde, is a humorous story about a ghost trying to get the attention of an American family living in his castle. This story consists of seven chapters for CBSE Class 11 English. Now, we will look at the chapter wise summary of the story.
Mr. Otis buys Canterville Castle despite everyone warning him about how it was a foolish idea and that it was haunted. A few weeks later, on a lovely July evening, Mr. Otis and his family, shift to their new home. When they enter the avenue of Canterville Castle, spookiness fills the air around them. Suddenly, Mrs Otis sees a red stain on the floor just by the fireplace and asks Mrs
Umney, the housekeeper to clean it. The old woman smiles and answers, ‘It is the blood of Lady Eleanore de Canterville, who was murdered on that spot by her husband, Sir Simon de Canterville, in 1575. Sir Simon disappeared seven years later. His body has never been found, but his ghost still haunts the Castle. The bloodstain is a tourist attraction now and it cannot be removed.’
Listening to this, Washington, the eldest son of the Otis family, wipes it off with the help of a stain remover. But as soon as the blood-stain disappears, a terrible flash of lightning lits up the room and the whole building shakes.
Apart from the horrible storm at night, it was a rather peaceful night. The next morning, however, the blood stain reappears. Washington cleans it the second time and third, but it reappears every single day. despite library being locked all night.
At 1 AM that night, Mr. Otis wakes up to the sounds of clank of metal. So, Mr. Otis opens the door to check what’s happening. There, right in front of him, stood the ghost – whose wrists and ankles hung heavy chains.
‘My dear Sir,’ says Mr Otis, ‘you must oil those chains. It’s impossible to sleep with such a noise going on outside the bedrooms. I have therefore brought you this bottle of lubricator, and I will be
happy to supply you with more if you require it.’ and goes back to bed,
Shocked, the Canterville ghost stands quite motionless for a moment, but then he growls angrily.
Just at this moment, the twins throw a large pillow at him! The ghost hastily escapes, and takes a deep breath upon reaching his small secret chamber.
The ghost doesn’t appear for the rest of the week. But the blood stain is found every morning in different colors. Some days it was red, some days brown or purple. For some unexplained reason, Virginia she was rather annoyed at the sight of the blood-stain, and nearly cries the morning it was
The ghost appears again on Sunday night. A suit of armor falls on the ghost. The twins started shooting peas at him with their pea-shooters, the ghost stands up with an angry growl and passes through them like a mist. Mrs. Otis notices the wound on the ghost and says, ‘I am afraid you are not well. I have therefore brought you this bottle of medicine.’ The ghost looks at her furiously and disappears.
He reaches his room, completely exhausted and annoyed with this American family. This American family was extremely annoying.
But what annoyed him most was, that he had not been able to wear the suit of armor. For some days, the ghost left his room only to renew the blood stain. In order to scare the Otis family again, the Canterville Ghost leaves his chamber but is terrified when he comes across another ghost. He quickly hurries back to his room. But then he quickly decides to seek help from the other ghost to scare the twins away. However, he later realizes that it was just a plain white sheet and there was no other ghost.
The ghost quite leaving his chamber. He stops renewing the blood stains also. He is now more careful with his chains. However, the twins continue to play their tricks on him. This annoys the ghost further who decides to give them the fright of their lives.
One night, he reaches the half-closed door of the twins and opens it with a jolt. Unfortunately, a heavy jug of water falls on him, wetting him completely. The twins burst out in shrieks of laughter and the ghost flees away. He gives up all hope and doesn’t try to frighten the family anymore. And disappears after that night.
One day, Virginia has an encounter with the ghost who looked very sad. She offers him food and asks him to behave himself. The ghost confesses that he had killed his “not so nice” wife. The ghost also thanks Virginia for being kind unlike the rest of her family.
‘Stop!’ cried Virginia, stamping her foot, ‘it is you who are rude, and as for dishonesty, you stole the
paints out of my box to renew that ridiculous blood-stain in the library. First, you took all my reds
and I couldn’t do any more sunsets, then you took the green and the yellow. Finally, I had nothing
left but blue and white, and I could only do moonlight scenes, which are not at all easy to paint.’
Having said this, Virginia turns around to leave the room. The ghost apologizes for his behavior and asks Virginia for a favor.
When Virginia promises to help the ghost and pray for him, he rises from his seat, takes her hand and kisses it thankfully. Then he leads her across the room. Then the wall closes behind them.
Virginia doesn’t return for hours after she is gone, and the entire family begins to serach for her in every corner of the house. Just when Mr. Otis decides to contact Scotland Yard in the morning, a secret door opens in the wall and out walks little Virginia with a box in her hand. Everybody runs up to her. Virginia says quietly, ‘I have been with the ghost. He is dead, and you must come and see
him. He had been very nasty, but he was really sorry for all that he had done, and he gave me this
box of beautiful jewels before he died.’
Then she led the others down a narrow secret corridor to a little low room where Virginia kneels down beside Sir Simon’s skeleton and prays. The twins then notice blossoms on an almond tree which is a sign that the god has forgiven Sir Simon.
Four days later, a funeral is organized and in a quiet corner of the churchyard, Sir Simon’s
skeleton is buried. The next morning, Mr. Otis talks to Sir Simon’s descendant, Sir Canterville, about the jewels the ghost had given to Virginia.
The jewels are by everyone when, in the spring of 1890, Virginia marries the Duke of
Cheshire. After their honeymoon, Virginia and her husband go down to Canterville Castle. Virginia places a bunch of roses on the grave.
‘You have never told me what happened to you when you were locked up with the ghost.’ asks her husband.
‘Please don’t ask me, I cannot tell you,’ she said, ‘but I owe Sir Simon a great deal. He made me see
what Life is, and what Death signifies, and why Love is stronger than both.’