Daisy Miller

Topics: Daisy Miller, Fiction, Novel Pages: 5 (1814 words) Published: August 14, 2013
Paper Written by N.H

The alluring and effective element of the novella Daisy Miller is Henry James ironic use of the unruly behavior of what should have been an innocent girly-girl. This becomes amplified when the leading protagonist in the text, Daisy Miller, demises signifying the death of any unrestrained female. Henry James’ novella “Daisy Miller” portrays an unruly protagonist that rebels and violates the norms of femininity in nineteenth century society. However, the realist heroine, Daisy Miller, fails to rebel against society, becomes silenced from malaria, and perishes. This elucidated the ways a lady must remain submissive and orderly unless she is willing to live a short life span just as the flower Daisy. The ending of Henry James’ novella portrays the leading character Daisy Miller as quite the realist heroine. Daisy Miller tries to live life as the new woman that sways the ideas and perspective of the nineteenth century role of a young lady. She accomplishes the role of the new woman by constantly defying society and doing what she feels is morally acceptable rather than others suggestions. She constantly ran around in the dark of the night, attended parties with strange men and refused to be submissive. For instance, a defining moment is shown in the text when Mrs. Walker or in other words, “society” explains to Ms. Daisy Miller her ways are improper; it is completely inappropriate to walk around with men in the hours of the night. In response to Mrs. Walker, Daisy Miller states, “If this is improper then I am all improper, and you must give me up.” (43) Showing that although Ms. Miller means no harm, she will not put an end to her way of life. In fact she feels her way of life is so justified and lively that she states “I, thank goodness, am not a young lady of this country. The young ladies of this country have a dreadfully pokey time of it…. I don’t see why I should change my habits for them.” (60) This statement exemplifies Daisy Millers moral code. Saying that she only has one life, and she must enjoy every minute of it. This statement shows how Daisy Miler is forcing a rebellion onto society, sending the message that the nineteenth century way of life is inane and outdated. Throughout the novella, Daisy Miller constantly explains that she will not give into society. However, the ending of the novella shows that she failed at proving her values and lifestyle harmless. She proved to society that she is reckless and her ways of life will lead to death emotionally and physically. The very talkative Daisy Miller does this by living life blindly and dying with roman fever. Daisy Millers’ death brought out the irony in Henry James writing style. Not only did James’ make her die from a horrible fever, also roman fever. To prove that the new woman was not going to get away with living her own life style and making corrupted choices, the Roman society put an end to the role that she played. This is exposed when Mr. Winterbourne finds the young couple Daisy Miller and Mr. Giovenelli at the coliseum in the moonlight. According to Winterbourne her being there will lead to her catching the roman fever, but the “mixture of innocence and crudity” (37) in Daisy Millers’ character does not allow her to see this. She only feels that this experience has been beautiful and she states “Well, I have seen the Coliseum by moonlight... that’s the one good thing.” (63) This gives Daisy a sense of satisfaction from her actions, but she is unaware of the consequences to come. The young character believes that the many moments just as the one I explained, will be harmless to her. This is no longer true when she becomes silenced and killed by the Roman Fever. The roman fever she receives from her actions leads to the demise of her character signifying the role of the new woman in this novel as forever silenced. Ultimately, the ending of Henry James’ novella portrays the leading unruly character Daisy Miller as quite...
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