The story of Daisy Miller starts off in Vevey, Switzerland with Winterbourne and Daisy meeting through Daisy's brother Randolph. Winterbourne is immediately attracted to her stating, "she was strikingly, admirably pretty" (James 470). The story continues with Winterbourne giving Daisy a tour of the Chateau de Chillon, and Winterbourne returning to Geneva, where he had an older women waiting for him. Daisy ends up meeting an Italian man, Giovanelli, which eventually leads to her death of malaria. Although the characters seem simple enough, they symbolize much more than themselves. In Henry James's Daisy Miller, Daisy symbolizes all American women who travel abroad to Europe, while Winterbourne symbolizes the European mentality of American tourists.
Daisy is the "pretty American flirt" throughout the novella (James 474). She is nice and sweet, but also rebellious and ignorant. Daisy really does not care what society thinks of her. You see this throughout the course of the novel when she goes to Chillon with Winterbourne alone and when she frolics the streets at night with Giovanelli. Most Europeans look down upon American travelers in Europe, especially when they do not follow the customs and culture of their country. This is something that still has not changed today. The Miller family treats their carrier, Eugenio, like one of the family. Typically carriers live and sleep on the lower levels of the house, while Eugenio sleeps on the same level and interacts with the family. This is something that stands out to Winterbourne's aunt, Mrs. Costello because that is unheard of in European culture. When Winterbourne tells Mrs. Costello about Daisy, you can see the symbolism already becoming very prevalent, "They are very common; they are the sort of Americans that one does one's duty by not- not accepting" Mrs. Costello feels very strongly about the Americans in a negative way. She refuses to be introduced to Daisy and tells Winterbourne that she...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document