The Canterville Ghost Chapter 4 Summary and Questions/Answers

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In this post, you will get a short summary of The Canterville Ghost Chapter 4 “Schoolboy’s Tricks” as well as questions and their answers related to Chapter 4. The Canterville Ghost is a novel written by Oscar Wilde, who is famous for his witty and humorous tone in his writings as well as surprise endings.

The Canterville Ghost
Photo by Cederic Vandenberghe on Unsplash

The Canterville Ghost Chapter 4 “Schoolboys’ Tricks” summary: When it comes to the battle with the Otis family, the ghost is starting to lose hope. He finally relinquishes his duty to maintain the library’s bloodstain, exhausted after his efforts have failed. To avoid detection by the twins, he removes his boots, wears a black cloak, and actually oils his chains when performing his other “ghostly” duties, such as chattering from the Oriel window on the first and third Wednesdays of each month.

The twins, on the other hand, continue to torment the ghost and set traps for him to fall into. The ghost is enraged into action after a particularly bad fall on a butter slide while dressed as “Black Isaac, or the Huntsman of Hogley Woods,” and plans to make a terrifying appearance as Reckless Rupert or the Headless Earl, as he recalls having a terrifying effect on Lady Barbara Modish in this guise. Lady Barbara had broken off her engagement to the ghost after seeing him.

Despite his meticulous planning, the plan comes to a halt when the ghost opens the door to the twins’ room and pours a jug of water on him. Despite the fact that the ghost is ‘headless’ for this appearance, he has a cold as a result of the mishap. When he recovers, he keeps a low profile by creeping through passages in soft-soled slippers.

Despite his precautions, he is dealt a final blow by the twins and Washington on September 19th. The ghost, dressed as “Jonas the Graveless, or the Corpse-Snatcher of Chertsey Barn,” amuses himself by commenting on the photographs of the American minister and his wife on display in the entrance hall. As the ghost moves on to the library to check for any remaining traces of the bloodstain, the twins jump out from the shadows and startle him. Panic-stricken, he trills “Jonas the Graveless,

The ghost no longer ventures out in his despair, and the Otis family believes he has vanished. Mr Otis resumes work on his ‘History of the Democratic Party,’ while Mrs Otis organises a clambake that is a huge success. The boys develop an interest in lacrosse and other sports. Lord Canterville is informed that the ghost has vanished, and Mr Otis congratulates the American couple. The ghost, on the other hand, is very much alive in the house and is plotting to scare the young Duke of Cheshire, who is staying with Otises as a house guest.

The ghost is especially eager to demonstrate that he still has power over the current Stilton descendants, as he recalls frightening the Duke’s great-uncle, Lord Francis Stilton. Lord Stilton had bet Lord Carbury a hundred guineas that he would play dice with the ghost, and the following morning, he was found helpless and paralysed. Despite the fact that Lord Stilton lived to be a ripe old age, he was unable to say anything after the incident other than ‘double sixes.’ Although the matter was kept as private as possible, Lord Tattle recounted the entire episode in his book Recollections of the Prince Regent and his Friends.

The ghost is planning a terrifying appearance as The Vampire Monk, or the Bloodless Benedictine, remembering his great success in hastening the death of old Lady Startup. Lady Startup had gone into a shrieking fit, which led to apoplexy, which eventually led to her death three days later. Despite his preparations, the terror of the twins saps his resolve to terrify the Duke, and the ghost remains locked in his room.

Canterville Ghost Chapter 4 questions and answers


1. How do we come to know that the ghost had changed and become quite diligent about doing the right thing as a supernatural being?

Answer: The Canterville Ghost’s nerves were completely shattered after four weeks of excitement, and he started at the slightest noise. He even gave up on the bloodstain on the library floor being renewed. As a ghost, he believed it was his responsibility to appear once a week in the corridor and gibber from the large window on the first and third Wednesdays. Despite the fact that his life had been filled with evil and he was depressed, he was determined to do the right thing when it came to the supernatural, but he made certain that he would not be seen or heard while carrying out his duties. This demonstrates that the ghost had evolved, as his goal was no longer to terrify the house’s occupants, but rather to simply carry out his duty and do the right thing as a supernatural being.

2. a. Does the ghost try to safeguard himself while continuing to discharge his ghostly duties? Why does he do this?
b. Is it strange that a ghost has to protect himself and act with caution?
c. Point out three measures that the ghost adopts in order to safeguard himself.

Answer: a. Yes, the ghost makes an effort to protect himself while performing his duties. To protect himself from the Twins and other members of the Otis family, he does this.

b) Yes, it’s odd that a ghost, a supernatural being, needs to defend itself.

c) To protect himself, the ghost took off his boots and walked as quietly as possible. He was dressed in a voluminous black velvet cloak. He also oiled his chains on a regular basis to keep them from making any noise.

3. He had gone downstairs to the great entrance hall, feeling sure that there, at any rate, he would be quite unmolested, …

a. Who would be left unmolested, by whom and why?
b. What happened that night on the 19th of September in the great entrance- hall?
c. Does it mark a turning point in the ghost’s life at Canterville Chase?

Answer: a. The ghost assumed that the Twins would leave him alone.

The ghost had been shattered by the events of the previous four weeks and was attempting to avoid being seen or heard during his nightly duties. He didn’t want to be duped by the Twins or run into any of the Otis family members because they weren’t afraid of him.

b. The Canterville Ghost had gone to the great entrance hall on September 19th.

Two figures leapt in front of him and shrieked “BOO” in his ears as he walked towards the library to see if there were any traces of the blood-stain left. The ghost became frantic and dashed for the stairwell. Washington Otis was waiting for him with a large garden syringe, and he vanished into the great iron stove, surrounded by his enemies on all sides.

c. Yes, it is a pivotal moment in the life of the ghost. On any subsequent nocturnal expeditions, he was nowhere to be found.

4. Seized with a panic, which, under the circumstances, was only natural, he rushed for the staircase, …

a. Why do you think the panic was deemed to be natural? Is there a resemblance between the ghost and human beings in general, while being attributed with feelings of panic?
b. What happened near the staircase?

Answer: a. It seems natural because the Canterville Ghost isn’t just any ghost; it’s a ghost with a distinct personality. Because the ghost has human-like emotions, it’s understandable that he was taken aback when the Twins appeared out of nowhere.

b. Two figures leapt in front of him and shrieked “BOO” in his ears as the ghost walked towards the library to see if there were any traces of the blood-stain left. The ghost became frantic and dashed for the stairwell.


1. What made the ghost conclude that the Otises were evidently people on a low, material plane of existence and quite incapable of appreciating the symbolic value of sensuous phenomena?

Answer: Because the Otises were unaffected by the supernatural, the ghost concluded that they were people living on a low, material plane of existence who were incapable of appreciating the symbolic value of sensuous phenomena. When the ghost rattled his chains, Mr Otis offered him a rising Sun lubricator instead of being scared, and Mrs Otis offered him a tincture for indigestion when he gave his demonic laughter. Many pranks were played on him by the Twins and Washington. All of this led the ghost to the conclusion that the Otis family was clearly low-level materialists who were incapable of appreciating the symbolic value of sensuous phenomena.

2. It was his solemn duty to appear in the corridor once a week, and to gibber from the large oriel window …

a. What is the author trying to indicate by pointing out the ghost’s sense of duty?
b. Do you see a slow but certain transformation in the ghost becoming submissive and resorting to self-protection?

Answer: a. Canterville’s Ghost is unlike any other ghost. Oscar Wilde, the author, has created a ghost with a personality, opinions, and feelings. The ghost is also a bit of a performer. The author emphasises the ghost’s sense of duty to demonstrate that the ghost, like any other human, is depressed because he is unable to fulfil his duty.

b. Yes, since the beginning of the story, the ghost’s personality has evolved. Initially, he was portrayed as a ferociously proud ghost who takes pride in his past. He was fond of reminiscing about his three-hundred-year brilliant and uninterrupted career. As the narrator admits, these recollections border on egotism, but they are essential to comprehending his delight in scaring others. However, his failure to frighten the Otis family reveals the ghost’s darker side. At first, he was enraged and determined to exact his vengeance. His character softened and he became more vulnerable as his failures increased. The ghost was weak and tired. He was startled by the tiniest sounds and resorted to self-defence to avoid the Otis.

3. He felt a little humiliated at first, but afterwards was sensible enough to see that there was a great deal to be said for the invention.

a. Who was sensible enough to see a great deal of value in what?
b. When?
c. Why did he feel humiliated at first?
d. His appreciation of the value of the invention shows that

i. he has evolved from a lowly, rigid existence of scaring people and being insensitive to others, to be sensible and civilized
ii. he is scared of the twins. 

Support your answer with reasons.

Answer: a. The Canterville Ghost was astute enough to recognise the importance of the Rising Sun Lubricator’s invention.

b. The Rising Sun Lubricator was good, the Canterville Ghost realised because it served his purpose and made his chains quieter.

c. As he stole the Rising Sun Lubricator to oil his chains, he felt a little humiliated. He needed to lubricate his chain so it didn’t make a lot of noise.

d. Throughout the novel, the ghost’s character undergoes a significant transformation. His admiration for the invention demonstrates that he had progressed from a lowly, rigid existence scaring people and being insensitive to others to a sensible, civilised existence. In the first chapter, he was depicted as an egotistical ghost whose sole purpose is to terrorise people. Later, following his encounter with the Otis family and the Twins’ pranks on him, he began to change. He oiled his chains so they didn’t make a racket as he walked through the corridors late at night. He also took off his boots and walked as slowly as he could.

4. The persistent actions of the twins and Washington wear down the resolve of the ghost. Describe the entire sequence of events that finally lead up to the believed disappearance of the ghost.

Answer: The ghost had a tough time with the Twins and the Washington Nationals. Every night, the ghost would leave bloodstains on the library floor, which Washington would clean up with Pinkerton’s Champion Stain Remover and Paragon Detergent in the morning. The ghost was irritated by this, and he began to dislike Washington as a result. On the ghost, the Twins pulled a lot of pranks. The Twins threw a large pillow at the ghost when they first saw it. After that, when they saw him for the second time, they shot him with peashooters. A white bed curtain, sweeping brush, kitchen knife, and hollow turnip were also used to create a ghost-like figure. The Canterville Ghost was scared by this ghostly figure. The ghost became weak and tired as a result of all of these events. The ghost then decided to disguise himself as the “Headless Earl” in order to terrorise the Otis family. When he entered the Twins’ room, however, a heavy jug of water landed on him, and he was laid up with a severe cold. Following this incident, the ghost returned to the corridors at night to walk as quietly as possible. However, two figures emerged from a dark corner and shouted “BOO!” as he walked. The ghost was startled, and he dashed down the stairs in terror. Washington appeared with a large garden syringe, and he vanished into the iron stove. He was not seen for a few days after that, as he refused to leave his room for fear of the Twins.

5. a. Why did the ghost recall his connection with the young Duke of Cheshire? Is that why he wanted to terrorize him?
b. Does this tell us something about the ghost’s tendency to hold grudges for long periods of time?
c. What prevented the ghost from terrorizing the young Duke?

Answer: a. The ghost remembered frightening the Duke of Cheshire’s grand-uncle while the Duke was staying at Canterville Chase for a few days. He wanted to terrorise him in order to demonstrate that he had not lost control over the Duke’s family.

b. Yes, this incident demonstrates the ghost’s proclivity for holding grudges for a long time. He had bet a hundred guineas that he would play dice with the Canterville Ghost, so he did not forget the Duke’s grand uncle.

c. As the ghost was afraid of the Twins, he didn’t terrorize the young Duke.

Get notes of the other chapters of The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde

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