Literary Devices in The Canterville Ghost
Wilde uses traditional Gothic imagery and conventions, often for comedic effect. The old Canterville mansion is set within the English landscape, which is described as gloomy and foreboding. When the Otis family rub out the bloodstain in the carpet, the sky flashes with lightning, causing the English maidservant to faint with terror. However, the fact that the Otis family remain unperturbed by this conventional Gothic imagery furthers the parody of the narrative. Wilde further subverts these conventions of the horror genre through the ghost of Sir Simon, who at one point is found struggling to get into a suit of armor, and later is himself scared by the twins’ own evocation of a ghost. These moments of humorous irony permeate the text and further the theme of culture clash between England and America.