Henry James - Daisy Miller

Topics: Daisy Miller, Henry James, Novel Pages: 4 (1195 words) Published: August 27, 2014
THE THEMES OF POWER OF SILENCE, POWER OF TRADITION, FAMILY-BLESSING OR CURSE IN DAISY MILLER BY HENRY JAMES.

This essay will discuss the central themes of temptation and destruction, danger of ignorance and power of tradition in Daisy Miller by Henry James.

The theme of temptation and destruction is prevalent throughout this story. When Winterbourne first meets Daisy he is directly tempted, and feels an urge to define Daisy in clear moral terms. Even though he doesn’t seem as a very deep character we are told early on that hi is “addicted to observing and analyzing feminine beauty”. I look this as a sort of temptation. Winterbourne could never really characterize Daisy’s personality nor could he label her in a term which was known by society. This brings him to restlessness and he doesn’t give up on Daisy until the very end of the story. Even Daisy is tempted in the novel. But tempted not by a person, but by life, she wants to experience many things and loves to be the center of attraction. She is shallow and ignorant, talks with shameless monotony about the tiresome details of her family’s habits. Other than that she is very spirited and independent. There for I would dare to say she is tempted by life, and has an appetite for a joyful life. Daisy’s destruction is her own fault, as I see it. She is so tempted, by a life such as her fantasy has created for her, and occupied by her never ending egotism, that she simply does not think of the consequences for her actions. This leads her to stand responsible for her own destruction.

The second theme, dangers of ignorance is mostly shown by the end of the novel. I think that James (the author) tries to present a kind of moral lesson by the bock. We learn of Daisy’s behavior that she is very ignorant and does not care much for matters such as tradition, other people, or the subject of proper behavior. In result of her ignorance she ends up dying. I see this as a message, how dangerous ignorance...
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