Yimei Xu Group 6
Daisy Miller by Henry James
In James's novels, Daisy Miller is fresh, pure, brave, honest and enthusiastic, likes freedom, and dares to challenge old European convention and tradition.. But somehow she is not well cultured or well refined. Daisy Miller is a wealthy, young, American gial from upstate New York, traveling around Europe with her mother and her younger brother in order to see Europe for herself. Daisy is a curious mixture of traits. She is spirited, independent, and well meaning, but she is also shallow, ignorant, and provincial—almost laughably. She offers the opinion that Europe is “perfectly sweet”, talks with shameless monotony about the tiresome details of her family’s habits and idiosyncrasies, thinks Winterbourne might know an English woman she met on the train because they both live in Europe, and wonder if Winterbourne has heard of a little place called New York. Daisy is also a tiresome flit. She has no social graces or conversational gifts, such as charm, wit, and a talent for repartee, and she is only interested in manipulating men and making herself the center of attention. Daisy’s characteristic description—from Winterbourne’s point of view, is as a mystifying combination of audacity and innocence. Since Winterbourne meets Daisy Miller, he has always obsessed over the question of whether Daisy is a “nice” girl. He always shows his contradictory attitudes towards Daisy and tris to decide whether she is a flirt or a native girl, but Daisy’s behavior never reveals whether she is or not a native girl. When Winterbourne meets Daisy in the resort town of Vevery, he is quickly fascinated by her and is equally puzzled. Daisy does the most improper things, and never seems to realize how improper they are, for example, she agrees to go on an unchaperoned excursion with Winterbourne after having known him less than an hour, and asks him to take her rowing at 11 o’clock at night. Winterbourne finds this...
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