The Canterville Ghost

by

Oscar Wilde

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Virginia E. Otis Character Analysis

Virginia is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Otis and sister to Washington Otis and the Otis twins. By the tale’s end, she is married to the Duke of Cheshire, who has dreamt of, and courted, her for a long time. Virginia is fifteen years old when the story begins, and described as being an Amazon—probably meaning that she is tall, fit, and fearless. This fearlessness comes into play when Sir Simon asks for Virginia’s help in finding eternal peace, as she must walk with him through a haunted scene where even the figures carved into the fireplace and embroidered into the tapestries of Canterville Chase come to life in order to beg her to stop what she’s doing. Yet Virginia is not merely brave and tomboyish: she is sensitive and caring, too. When Sir Simon steals Virginia’s paints in order to constantly recreate the bloodstain in the family sitting room, Virginia never spoils the effect by telling on him, because she feels sorry for the ghost. Indeed, she has a great deal of sympathy for the plight that her family (especially her brothers) are putting him through. Yet, she sternly rebukes Sir Simon for his faults as well. Thus Virginia establishes herself as the kind of fair, wholesome soul that the Canterville prophecy says is required to set Sir Simon free and cause the barren almond tree to again blossom.

Virginia E. Otis Quotes in The Canterville Ghost

The The Canterville Ghost quotes below are all either spoken by Virginia E. Otis or refer to Virginia E. Otis. 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 5 Quotes

“It is absurd asking me to behave myself,” he answered looking round in astonishment at the pretty little girl who had ventured to address him, "quite absurd. I must rattle my chains, and groan through keyholes, and walk about at night, if that is what you mean. It is my only reason for existing.”

"It is no reason at all for existing, and you know you have been very wicked. Mrs. Umney told us, the first day we arrived here, that you had killed your wife."

"Well, I quite admit it," said the Ghost, petulantly, "but it was a purely family matter, and concerned no one else."

"It is very wrong to kill any one," said Virginia, who at times had a sweet puritan gravity, caught from some old New England ancestor.

Related Characters: Sir Simon de Canterville (speaker), Virginia E. Otis (speaker), Mrs. Umney
Related Symbols: Canterville Chase
Page Number: 41-42
Explanation and Analysis:

"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:

When a golden girl can win

Prayer from out the lips of sin,

When the barren almond bears,

And a little child gives away its tears,

Then shall all the house be still,

And peace come to Canterville

Page Number: 47
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6  Quotes

Imbedded in the wall was a huge iron ring, and chained to it was a gaunt skeleton, that was stretched out at full length on the stone floor, and seemed to be trying to grasp with its long fleshless fingers an old-fashioned trencher and ewer, that were placed just out of its reach. The jug had evidently been once filled with water, as it was covered inside with green mould. There was nothing on the trencher but a pile of dust. Virginia knelt down beside the skeleton, and, folding her little hands together, began to pray silently, while the rest of the party looked on in wonder at the terrible tragedy whose secret was now disclosed to them.

Related Symbols: Canterville Chase
Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:

“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:
Chapter 7 Quotes

Under these circumstances, Lord Canterville, I feel sure that you will recognize how impossible it would be for me to allow them to remain in the possession of any member of my family; and, indeed, all such vain gauds and toys, however suitable or necessary to the dignity of the British aristocracy, would be completely out of place among those who have been brought up on the severe, and I believe immortal, principles of Republican simplicity.

Related Characters: Mr. Hirsham B. Otis (speaker), Virginia E. Otis, Lord Canterville
Page Number: 59-60
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Canterville Ghost LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Canterville Ghost PDF

Virginia E. Otis Character Timeline in The Canterville Ghost

The timeline below shows where the character Virginia E. Otis 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
...moves into the home, including 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... (full context)
The British Aristocracy vs. American Vulgarity Theme Icon
...and she has a certain Englishness about her. Washington was patriotically named after George Washington. Virginia is a girl of fifteen, who is “lithe and lovely as a fawn.” She takes... (full context)
Chapter 3
The British Aristocracy vs. American Vulgarity Theme Icon
Commercialism and Politics Theme Icon
Mercy and Empathy Theme Icon
Appearance, Reality, and Sincerity Theme Icon
...occurrence. They even make bets on what color the stain might be the following day. Virginia, however, fails to share in their mirth. Instead, she encounters the stain each morning sadly,... (full context)
The British Aristocracy vs. American Vulgarity Theme Icon
...in the role of “Dumb Daniel” or “Martin the Maniac.” He has planned little for Virginia, however, because she never harasses him and has a gentle nature. (full context)
Chapter 4 
The British Aristocracy vs. American Vulgarity Theme Icon
Appearance, Reality, and Sincerity Theme Icon
...party. Mrs. Otis organizes a clam bake. Washington and the twins play card games, and Virginia rides her pony. Mr. Otis is so sure that Sir Simon is gone, he writes... (full context)
The British Aristocracy vs. American Vulgarity Theme Icon
Mercy and Empathy Theme Icon
...and cancels the planned haunt. The young Duke instead goes to sleep and dreams about Virginia. (full context)
Chapter 5
The British Aristocracy vs. American Vulgarity Theme Icon
Mercy and Empathy Theme Icon
Appearance, Reality, and Sincerity Theme Icon
A few days go by, and Virginia—who has been out in the fields with the Duke of Cheshire—stumbles upon Sir Simon as... (full context)
Mercy and Empathy Theme Icon
Appearance, Reality, and Sincerity Theme Icon
...made him a ghost. Surprised and saddened by the revelation that Sir Simon was starved, Virginia offers the ghost a sandwich. (full context)
The British Aristocracy vs. American Vulgarity Theme Icon
Mercy and Empathy Theme Icon
Appearance, Reality, and Sincerity Theme Icon
Sir Simon appreciates the gesture but declines Virginia’s sandwich. He tells her that she’s much nicer than her horrid family, but Virginia will... (full context)
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Virginia suggests that Sir Simon might prefer to immigrate to America, but the ghost doesn’t think... (full context)
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Virginia agrees to help, though Sir Simon warns her that it might be scary. Together, they... (full context)
Chapter 6 
Mercy and Empathy Theme Icon
Appearance, Reality, and Sincerity Theme Icon
Mr. and Mrs. Otis are quick to notice Virginia’s absence and they instantly raise a cry of alarm when she can’t be found. A... (full context)
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Appearance, Reality, and Sincerity Theme Icon
The searchers locate the gypsies, who have no knowledge whatsoever of Virginia but join in the hunt. Back at Canterville Chase, searchers drag the pond and scour... (full context)
Mercy and Empathy Theme Icon
Appearance, Reality, and Sincerity Theme Icon
The Otis family follow Virginia to the room, where they find a skeleton chained to the wall. Just out of... (full context)
Chapter 7
Mercy and Empathy Theme Icon
Appearance, Reality, and Sincerity Theme Icon
...the funeral, Mr. Otis approaches Lord Canterville about the jewels Sir Simon has left to Virginia. They’re quite valuable, and Mr. Otis doesn’t feel right about the girl having them, as... (full context)
The British Aristocracy vs. American Vulgarity Theme Icon
Mercy and Empathy Theme Icon
Appearance, Reality, and Sincerity Theme Icon
The jewels do come to Virginia’s assistance when in the following days she is engaged and then wedded to the Duke... (full context)
The British Aristocracy vs. American Vulgarity Theme Icon
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Later, alone at Canterville Chase, the Duke asks Virginia what happened when she was alone with Sir Simon. She says that she can’t tell... (full context)