The Canterville Ghost Chapter 2 Summary and Questions/Answers

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In this post, you will get a short summary of The Canterville Ghost Chapter 2 Encounters with a Legendary Ghost as well as questions and their answers related to Chapter 2. 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 2 “Encounters with a Legendary Ghostsummary: The Otis family witnesses the stain reappearing the next morning after a stormy night. Despite Washington’s repeated removal of the stain, the family is perplexed by its recurrence. Mrs Otis considers joining the Psychic Society because Mr Otis believes he is perhaps too adamant in his refusal to believe in ghosts. Still, on the practical side, Washington writes to the manufacturers to inquire if stains associated with or caused by crime are permanent.

The family sees the ghost for the first time on their third day at Canterville Chase. Mr Otis, awoken at one o’clock by the sound of clanking metal and footsteps, offers the ghost lubricating oil for his chains and returns to his room, as he always does. The ghost, taken aback and enraged by this reaction to his appearance, hurls the bottle to the floor. When the twins come out of their room and throw a pillow at him, he is in the middle of trying out more spooky effects. The ghost dashes back to his safe haven in his room.

The ghost is now reminiscing about his terrifying exploits over the past three centuries. The Dowager Duchess of Bolton was terrified when she looked in the mirror; the housemaids were hysterical when he smiled at them through the curtains; and the rector was permanently afflicted with nervous disorders after the ghost blew out his candle one night as he was leaving the library. He recalls how his appearance as a skeleton affected Madame de Tremouillac. Madame had contracted brain fever after seeing him and, upon her recovery, had rediscovered her faith in the Church and severed her friendship with Monsieur de Voltaire.

The ghost recalls frightening Lord Canterville, who had defrauded Charles James Fox of £ 50,000 by cheating him at cards. Lord Canterville, who was discovered choking on a knave of diamonds, confessed his crime shortly before his death, telling those around him that the ghost had forced him to swallow the same card. The ghost remembers scaring a butler into shooting himself after seeing a green hand tapping at the window, and how Lady Stutfield hid strange burn marks on her neck before drowning herself. He recalls both his first and last appearances as “Gaunt Gibeon, the Blood-sucker of Bexley Moor” and “Red Reuben, or the Strangled Babe.” The ghost recalls the panic and confusion he caused one evening while playing ninepins on the lawn tennis court with his own bones.

The ghost finds it inexcusable to be treated so insignificantly by the Otis family after recounting all of his grand exploits. He has made up his mind to exact vengeance.

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Canterville Ghost Chapter 2 questions and answers


1. Describe the reactions of Washington and his parents when they discover the bloodstain on the third morning. What do their reactions reveal about their personalities?

Answer: Mr Washington accepted that the bloodstain on the floor the next morning was the result of the ghost’s work and attempted to remove it. Mr Otis began to suspect that he had been too obstinate in his denial of the ghost’s existence, and Mrs Otis expressed her desire to join the Psychical Society.

The entire family went for a drive after realising there might be a ghost in the house. This demonstrates that they were practical people who were not easily frightened by supernatural events.

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3. Right in front of him he saw, in the wan moonlight, an old man of terrible aspect.

a. Who saw an old man? Who was the old man? Describe the reaction.
b. What did the twins do to the old man?

Answer: a. Mr Otis noticed the old man.

Sir Simon Canterville, the ghost, was the old man.

Mr Otis was not scared when he saw the ghost; instead, he acted pragmatically and offered the ghost Tammany Rising Sun Lubricator to oil his chains.

b. The ghost was thrown a pillow by the Twins.

4. He thought of the Dowager Duchess, whom he had frightened into a fit as she stood before the glass in her lace and diamonds;…

a. The ghost starts recounting the various frightening encounters in the past because he…
i. felt disappointed at Mr Otis’s lack of fear and offended by his offer of a practical solution like oil for his noisy chains.
ii. felt humiliated and hurt by the young Otises’ ridicule.
iii. wanted to feel better by recounting all his successful attempts in scaring people.
iv. wanted to reinforce his confidence as far as being an effective ghost was concerned.
b. Recount any three frightening encounters of the past that the ghost was proud of.

Answer: a. iii. wanted to feel better by recounting all his successful attempts in scaring people.

b. The ghost was proud of his terrifying encounters in the past. As she stood before the mirror in her lace and diamonds, he terrified the Dowager Duchess. Another terrifying encounter occurred when the ghost extinguished the rector’s candle. The third terrifying encounter occurred when old Madame de Tremouillac noticed a skeleton reading her diary in an armchair by the fire. She was confined to her bed for six weeks due to an attack of brain fever as a result of this incident.


1. The subjects discussed as I have since heard from Mr Otis…

Why do you think the author writes this way? Does it tell you something about the ending of the story?

Answer: “The subjects discussed, as I have since learned from Mr Otis..” The author writes in this manner because he wants the novel to be taken as a true account told to him by the Otis family.

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4. Can you trace an element of justice in the ghost’s terrible acts on his victims? Support your answer with the relevant act(s) of the ghost.

Answer: Some of the ghost’s heinous acts on his victims have a sense of justice to them. Madame de Tremouillac had a relationship with Monsieur de Voltaire, a non-believer in God. Her meeting with the Canterville Ghost changed her life forever, as she ended her relationship with the non-believer and began attending church. Another example is Lord Canterville, who was discovered choking in his dressing room. The ghost made him swallow a card because he had used it to cheat in a card game.

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