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The Canterville Ghost Essay

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The Canterville Ghost – Essay In this essay, I would like to focus on a short extract from monolog in the 5th chapter of the book “The Canterville Ghost” – novel written by Irish writer Oscar Wilde, in which a metaphorical gradation for the whole story is presented. To shortly introduce the extract – the monolog is led by Virginia Otis, young and charming American girl, and the Canterville Ghost himself. “Stop!” cried Virginia, stamping her foot, “it is you who are rude, and horrid, and vulgar, and as for dishonesty, you know you stole the paints out of my box to try and furbish up that ridiculous blood-stain in the library.First you took all my reds, including the vermilion, and I couldn’t do any more sunsets, then you took the emerald-green and the chrome-yellow, and finally I had nothing left but indigo and Chinese white, and could only do moonlight scenes, which are always depressing to look at,and not at all easy to paint. I never told on you, though I was very much annoyed, and it was most ridiculous, the whole thing; for who ever heard of emerald-green blood?” (O. Wilde, 22) The blood stain young Virginia refers to is one of the main motives appearing in the text as a symbol contrasting the conservative, traditional English – represented by the Ghost, who keeps repainting the stain – and the progressive and rational Americans – represented by the Otis family, who keep tirelessly denying any existence of supernatural and removing the stain. As for the analogy, I would like to analyze here – in above-mentioned extract we can see the build-up of Virginia’s discourse, that is in my opinion perfectly reflecting how not only the Americans perceived the “colour-affair” but also how the reader changed his opinion considering the main character – the Ghost. Firstly the robbery of all Virginia’s reds (including vermilion) is mentioned – without those is she unable to do any more sunsets. Sunsets are here metaphorically referring to the nightfall of the “great times” of Ghost’s performances. On the beginning of the book, anytime the Ghost is mentioned, something rather scary happens – thunderstorm fierce in, a maid faints, etc… As we continue reading the big mysterious cloud around the character of Ghost is slowly dissolving – the Otis family is strongly denying the existence of any magic and reader is starting to be suspicious as well. When Virginia mentions that her emerald-green paint disappeared it is the link to the moment in the story when the reader finds out that the mystery is not as obscure and magical as previously expected, link to the moment in the plot when the reader finds the Ghost ridiculous. Finally, the young girl mentions that the only colours she has left are indigo black and Chinese white, with which she could only paint moonlight scenes that are depressing. This is resembling the point in the story when the reader actually begins to feel sorry for the old, poor, clumsy, and weak Ghost, who is rather sad and depressed wretch. To sum it up, I think that Oscar Wilde decided to include such monolog in the book to emphasize the motif of graduate Ghost’s loss of strength. Wilde, Oscar Fingal. The Canterville Ghost, www.feedbooks.com. Karolína Ryšavá

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