Short Story Analysis
The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde
Critical Biography: Oscar Wilde
Despite the fact that he only wrote fourteen short stories and six poems along with his one novel, Wilde was said to be a great literary genius (Boyd, Debra C). He took classical themes and intertwined it with his fairy tale like ideas to create beautiful works, even creating short stories for children (Bradley, Anna Y).
He married Constance Lloyd in 1884 after having been engaged for less than a year. After the birth of their two sons, Wilde began to write for children. The greatest years of his working life were from 1895 to 1995 when, unfortunately, that streak ended with his arrest because of his "homosexual acts" (Boyd, Debra C).
After his years spent in prison, he fled to France under an alias where he lived until he died in 1900 (Boyd, Debra C). He had never seen his sons after his conviction and Constance died in 1898 (Boyd, Debra C).
Analysis of Theme
Little Virginia was nothing like the rest of her family, quiet and reserved most of the time much like the traditional British but she held the American idea that women can do the things men can. At first, she doesn't seem to very important but as the story progresses she is shown to be very upset about the ghosts unlike the rest of her family. She is shown to be very nervous and scared most of the time, a timid little girl who was an outcast in her own family. But when the time comes, with sir Simons withdrawal and depression, she is shown to also be brave and caring.
When she returns from the afterlife and helping sir Simon, she had the knowledge that Love is stronger than Life and Death because life is nothing without love in it and death is lonely and sad when no one is by your side. She had been denying her love to the Duke of Cheshire, not allowing him to woo or court her but the ghost made her realize that it was nothing but a folly to deny the boy. Virginia takes the lessons Simon gives her, showing her family how she was different from them and how she was similar in her brave journey.
Bradley, Anna Y. "Wilde, Oscar 1854-1900." Writers for Children: Critical Studies of Major Authors Since the Seventeenth Century. Ed. Jane M. Bingham. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1988. 611-616. Scribner Writers on GVRL. Web. 11 May 2016.
"The Ghost of Canterville". Short Stories for Students. Ed. Kathleen Wildon. Vol. 7. Detroit: Gale, 1948. Pages 28-30. Print