The Canterville Ghost

by

Oscar Wilde

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The Otis Twins Character Analysis

Known informally as the Star and Stripes, the twins are the youngest children of Mr. and Mrs. Otis and brothers to Washington and Virginia Otis. While we never learn their actual names, their joint nickname has two meanings—on one hand it refers to the Otis parents’ patriotic impulses in naming their children. On the other, we’re told, the twin’s nickname refers to the fact that the twins get in trouble a lot, which their parents correct by spanking (a “stripe” can also mean a blow delivered by hand). The twins’ behavior throughout The Canterville Ghost certainly proves this to be true. They quickly terrorize Sir Simon, accosting him with pillows and toys guns, and devising traps to ensnare or even injure him. At first, the ghost wants only to pay them back for this. However, as their relentless pursuit of him continues, Sir Simon eventually becomes too afraid of the twins to even imagine revenge. He only wants to avoid them at all costs. Interestingly, the twins are never referred to singularly and always appear together. They are the first to notice that the almond tree has flowered at the end of the story.

The Otis Twins Quotes in The Canterville Ghost

The The Canterville Ghost quotes below are all either spoken by The Otis Twins or refer to The Otis Twins. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The British Aristocracy vs. American Vulgarity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Branden Books edition of The Canterville Ghost published in 2011.
Chapter 3 Quotes

I have no wish […] to do the ghost any personal injury, and I must say that, considering the length of time he has been in the house, I don’t think it is at all polite to throw pillows at him[…] [u]pon the other hand […] if he really does decline to use the Rising Sun Lubricator, we shall have to take his chains from him.

Related Symbols: Canterville Chase
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4  Quotes

He now gave up all hope of ever frightening this rude American family, and contented himself, as a rule, with creeping about the passages in list slippers, with a thick red muffler round his throat for fear of draughts, and a small arquebuse, in case he should be attacked by the twins.

Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

"I don't think I should like America."

"I suppose because we have no ruins and no curiosities,"

said Virginia, satirically.

"No ruins no curiosities!" answered the Ghost; "you have

your navy and your manners."

"Good evening; I will go and ask papa to get the twins an extra week's holiday."

"Please don't go, Miss Virginia," he cried; “I am so lonely and so unhappy, and I really don't know what to do. I want to go to sleep and I cannot."

Page Number: 45-46
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6  Quotes

“Hallo!” suddenly exclaimed one of the twins, who had been looking out of the window to try and discover in what wing of the house the room was situated. “Hallo! The old withered almond-tree has blossomed. I can see the flowers quite plainly in the moonlight.”

Related Characters: The Otis Twins (speaker), Sir Simon de Canterville, Virginia E. Otis
Related Symbols: The Almond Tree
Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Canterville Ghost LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Canterville Ghost PDF

The Otis Twins Character Timeline in The Canterville Ghost

The timeline below shows where the character The Otis Twins appears in The Canterville Ghost. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
The British Aristocracy vs. American Vulgarity Theme Icon
Appearance, Reality, and Sincerity Theme Icon
...Mrs. Otis, the couple’s oldest son Washington, their daughter Miss Virginia E. Otis, and the twins, who are called affectionately “the Star and Stripes.” As they approach the house for the... (full context)
The British Aristocracy vs. American Vulgarity Theme Icon
...besting boys in pastimes where boys are expected to excel, such as horseback riding. The twins are quite rowdy. (full context)
Chapter 2 
The British Aristocracy vs. American Vulgarity Theme Icon
Commercialism and Politics Theme Icon
Mercy and Empathy Theme Icon
...bottle on the floor and storms off down the hallway. There, he’s accosted by the twins who have dressed themselves as ghosts by wearing sheets over their heads. They throw pillows... (full context)
Chapter 3
The British Aristocracy vs. American Vulgarity Theme Icon
Commercialism and Politics Theme Icon
...to quiet his chains, they’ll be taken away from him. Mr. Otis does chastise the twins for throwing pillows at Sir Simon, but they only laugh at their father. (full context)
The British Aristocracy vs. American Vulgarity Theme Icon
Appearance, Reality, and Sincerity Theme Icon
...Sir Simon rubbing his knees in pain. Before they realize who it is, however, the twins shoot the ghost with their toy guns, and Mr. Otis levels a real gun at... (full context)
The British Aristocracy vs. American Vulgarity Theme Icon
Commercialism and Politics Theme Icon
...in the past against the current Lord Canterville’s uncle. However, as Mr. Otis and the twins are quickly approaching, Sir Simon instead grumpily resorts to walking through walls in order to... (full context)
The British Aristocracy vs. American Vulgarity Theme Icon
...from the “charnel house”—that is, secrets from the grave. He intends to sit on the twins’ chests until they’re paralyzed with fear before crawling about the room in the role of... (full context)
Chapter 4 
The British Aristocracy vs. American Vulgarity Theme Icon
Mercy and Empathy Theme Icon
Appearance, Reality, and Sincerity Theme Icon
...before beginning, so as not to awaken anyone. In spite of these precautions, however, the twins still won’t leave Sir Simon alone. They prepare a series of booby traps that leave... (full context)
The British Aristocracy vs. American Vulgarity Theme Icon
Mercy and Empathy Theme Icon
...so injures and enrages Sir Simon that he prepares one final attempt at scaring the twins. (full context)
The British Aristocracy vs. American Vulgarity Theme Icon
Commercialism and Politics Theme Icon
Appearance, Reality, and Sincerity Theme Icon
...house to assemble it all. Finally, however, he gathers the ensemble together and approaches the twins’ room. Flinging the door open with the hope of catching them by surprise, Sir Simon... (full context)
The British Aristocracy vs. American Vulgarity Theme Icon
Mercy and Empathy Theme Icon
...one night while Sir Simon is walking the halls, reminiscing about his haunting past, the twins and Washington attempt to trap Sir Simon. He resorts to fleeing through the flues of... (full context)
The British Aristocracy vs. American Vulgarity Theme Icon
Mercy and Empathy Theme Icon
...Sir Simon gives up all of his ghostly duties. This does not, however, dissuade the twins from their efforts to taunt the ghost. They continue to lay traps for him, but,... (full context)
The British Aristocracy vs. American Vulgarity Theme Icon
Mercy and Empathy Theme Icon
...this point—to action. However, at the last minute he is overcome by fear of the twins and cancels the planned haunt. The young Duke instead goes to sleep and dreams about... (full context)
Chapter 6 
Mercy and Empathy Theme Icon
Appearance, Reality, and Sincerity Theme Icon
...Virginia declares solemnly, has forgiven Sir Simon and allowed him to rest at last. The twins confirm this when they notice the almond tree blooming. (full context)