Appearance vs. Reality in “Daisy Miller: A Study”

Topics: Daisy Miller, Château de Chillon, Henry James Pages: 3 (1082 words) Published: November 24, 2013

Appearance vs. Reality in “Daisy Miller: A Study”

“Never judge a book by its cover.” This is probably one of the earliest lessons we are taught on the theme appearance versus reality. It means that what appears to be may not actually be what it really is. The theme of appearance vs. reality is one of the major themes in “Daisy Miller: A Study.” One of the most significant scenes in Henry James’s “Daisy Miller: A Study” is the Colosseum scene. This scene is important for a few reasons, one of them being that it is the last time that Daisy Miller and Mr. Winterbourne will see each other. Henry James uses this scene to addresses the theme of appearance vs. reality. The theme is explored in the Colosseum scene through the different characters: Mr. Winterbourne, Daisy Miller, and Mr. Giovanelli. Through the exploration of the theme, Henry James believes that this theme is on a human level and many people try to appear one way when in reality they are really another way.

One of the characters that Henry James uses to explore the theme of appearance vs. reality is Mr. Winterbourne. In the Colosseum scene, Mr. Winterbourne decides that Miss Daisy Miller is not innocent like he used to believe. “He felt angry with himself that he had bothered so much about the right way of regarding Miss Daisy Miller” (James, Part II, 19). Despite Mr. Winterbourne appearing to decide to end his relationship, as well as his respect for Daisy, he decides to concern himself with her safety and health. “I am afraid…that you will not think Roman fever very pretty. This is the way people catch it” (James, Part II, 19). Through the use of dialogue, Henry James shows the reader that Mr. Winterbourne, despite appearing over his relationship with Daisy, still deeply cares about her. Furthermore, this is very common of people in the present as well and many do the same exact thing that he did. .

A second character that Henry James uses to address the theme of appearance...

Cited: James, Henry. Daisy Miller: A Study. 1878. Electronic Edition. Electronic Text Center
University of Virginia Library. August 29, 2012.
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