The Canterville Ghost
Wilde published “The Canterville Ghost” in 1887 at the end of the Victorian period. This short tale is a study in contrasts, simultaneously parodying the traditional ghost story and satirizing American values. While Wilde most obviously satirizes American materialism, English traditional culture is also fair game. In this humorous tale, an American family buys the old, haunted Canterville Chase from Lord Canterville who warns them of the ghost, Sir Simon, that haunts the mansion. The Americans are undaunted, and the ghosts efforts to terrorize the family are done in vain. Aside from the humorous satire, Wilde does include a serious message through the actions of young Virginia who learns what life and death truly are, and why love is stronger than both.